General Challenger

  • How Do Navigation Systems Work?

    Getting lost while driving, or stopping at a gas station to ask for directions, has become a thing of the past. With GPS in your car’s navigation system, in the portable navigation device on your dashboard, or in your smartphone, it is easy to pull up a map and see where you are, or get directions to where you are going. GPS makes you safer, routes you around traffic delays and helps you find nearby services. GPS (Global Positioning System), a technology we now take for granted, started...
  • Mufflers

    Since the beginning of hot rodding, enthusiasts have tinkered with their car’s exhaust system, particularly the mufflers, to get the “right sound.” A muffler’s job sounds easy enough- reduce exhaust volume to tolerable levels while allowing the sweet sounds of your ride to waft through the air. But this becomes a monumental task as horsepower increases. Engines build horsepower by pushing spent exhaust out of the tailpipe as fast as possible. As pistons furiously churn, exhaust velocity...
  • Dim to Bright- Headlight Technology

    From its humble origins, the headlight has evolved from what was considered an accessory of the 1900s to a necessity safety feature (half of all deadly accidents occur at night). Since its first generation, headlights have traveled a long way from a simple flame to a high-tech laser. Carbide Headlights The first vehicle headlamps were officially introduced during the 1880s and were based on acetylene and oil, similar to the old gas lamps. Originally developed for mining purposes, Carbide...
  • Evolution of Racing Stripes

    Racing stripes are usually a “must have” for owners of muscle cars. These stripes, originally called “go faster stripes,” first appeared on Cunningham race cars in 1951. Two parallel blue stripes ran from front to rear in the center of the white car body. Their main purpose was to help spectators identify the cars during races. They evolved from the traditional FIA registered U.S. Racing color of a white body and blue chassis, which dated from when racing cars had the chassis exposed. The...
  1. Dual Clutch Transmissions

    Most drivers know that cars come with two basic transmission types- manuals, in which the driver changes gears by depressing a clutch pedal and using a stick shift, and automatics, which shifts using clutches, a torque converter and sets of planetary gears. But there's also something in between that offers the best of both worlds- the dual-clutch transmission- also called the semi-automatic transmission, the "clutchless" manual transmission and the automated manual transmission. In the world...
  2. What is a CVT Transmission?

    Some say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But the innovative continuously variable transmission (CVT), which Leonardo da Vinci conceptualized more than 500 years ago is now replacing planetary automatic transmissions in some automobiles. Since the first Toroidal CVT patent was filed in 1886, the technology has been refined and improved. Today, several car manufacturers, including General Motors, Audi, Honda, Hyundai and Nissan, are designing their drivetrains around CVTs. Cars with...
  3. Pro Stock Record Holders

    Pro Stock quarter mile drag racing times have dramatically decreased over the decades, since the class was established in 1970. This has been the result of tremendous advances in technology. To determine who is the fastest competitor, forty-nine years ago, NHRA instituted the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The champion is determined by a point system where points are given according to finishing placement and qualifying effort. The season is divided into two segments. After the first 18...
  4. Fuel Delivery Systems

    A carburetor was the common method of fuel delivery for most US-made gasoline engines until the late 1980s, when fuel injection became the preferred method. This change was dictated by the requirements of catalytic converters and not due to an inherent inefficiency of carburation. Basically, a carburetor consists of an open pipe through which the air passes into the inlet manifold of the engine. The pipe is in the form of a venture- it narrows in section and then widens again, causing the...
  5. Crash Test Dummies

    A crash test dummy is a full-scale anthropomorphic test device (ATD) that simulates the dimensions, weight proportions and articulation of the human body during a traffic collision. Dummies are used by researchers,automobile and aircraft manufacturers to predict the injuries a person might sustain in a crash. Modern dummies are usually instrumented to record data, such as velocity of impact, crushing force, bending, folding, or torque of the body, and deceleration rates during a collision....
  6. Featured

    Tire Speed Ratings

    Tire speed ratings first originated in Europe in the 1960s, as a way to make sure increasingly faster vehicles were equipped with appropriate safe tires. These early speed ratings set the foundation for the current speed rating system used by the DOT and tire manufacturers. Every tire approved for highway use by the Department of Transportation comes with a particular speed rating. The speed rating is a letter corresponding to the maximum safe speed at which a tire can be driven, as...
  7. How the EPA Tests Vehicles for Mileage

    Fuel economy for vehicles (city, highway and combined) is measured under controlled conditions in a laboratory using a series of tests specified by federal law.The results are displayed for the consumer on the "new car window sticker." Estimating MPG with Laboratory Tests In the laboratory, the vehicle's drive wheels are placed on a machine called a dynamometer. The "dyno" simulates the driving environment much like an exercise bike simulates cycling. Engineers adjust the amount of energy...
  8. What is Hydroplaning?

    The term hydroplaning is commonly used to refer to the skidding or sliding of a car’s tires across a wet surface. Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can scatter. Water pressure in the front of the wheel pushes water under the tire, and the tire is then separated from the road surface by a thin film of water and loses traction. The result is loss of steering, braking and power control. Rubber tires have tread (grooves) that are designed to channel water from...
  9. Entertainment Systems- from AM Radio to Bluetooth

    Over the past 97 years, “entertainment systems” in cars have evolved from primitive 6-volt dry-cell AM radios to high-tech Bluetooth units. It is interesting to take a look back to see how technology has changed over the years. Here is a brief, illustrated chronology of these devices: 1922: First radio in a Car The first radio (“Marconiphone”) appeared in a Daimler car at the Olympia Motorshow in England. 1927: First Radio in Mass-Produced Car The “Transitone” radio appeared in a...
  10. How Do Navigation Systems Work?

    Getting lost while driving, or stopping at a gas station to ask for directions, has become a thing of the past. With GPS in your car’s navigation system, in the portable navigation device on your dashboard, or in your smartphone, it is easy to pull up a map and see where you are, or get directions to where you are going. GPS makes you safer, routes you around traffic delays and helps you find nearby services. GPS (Global Positioning System), a technology we now take for granted, started...
  11. Drag Racing Classes

    The NHRA has a huge variety of categories and eliminators. Class eligibility is based on requirements that include type of vehicle, engine size, vehicle weight, allowable modifications and aerodynamics. Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street and Pro Mod feature a single class of vehicle in heads-up competition. Comp, Super Stock, and Stock are made up of a variety of classes equalized by a handicap starting system....
  12. History and Applications of Carbon Fiber

    Carbon Fiber is a polymer and is sometimes known as graphite fiber. It is a very strong material that is also very lightweight. Although carbon fiber is five times stronger and twice as stiff as steel, it is lighter than steel; making it the ideal manufacturing material for many parts. These are just a few reasons why carbon fiber is favored by engineers and designers for manufacturing. Carbon fiber dates back to 1879, when Thomas Edison baked cotton threads or bamboo silvers at high...
  13. Limited Slip Differentials

    A limited-slip differential (LSD), or “anti-spin” differential is a type of differential that allows the rear wheels on a vehicle to turn at different speeds when executing a turn. They are widely used in high performance and four-wheel-drive vehicles because they provide superior traction abilities. Various types of differentials can be classified as "anti-spin." These include limited slip, locking and spool differentials. Each performs differently on and off the road. Generally, only...
  14. All About Paint

    In the early days of the automobile industry, painting was a slow process. It was applied manually and dried for weeks at room temperature by solvent evaporation. 1930 Packard Factory As mass production of cars made the process untenable, paint began to be dried in ovens. Nowadays, two-component (catalyzed) paint is usually applied by robotic arms and cures in just a few hours either at room temperature or in heated booths. (Note- That is why car paint can be waxed as soon as the new owner...
  15. The Right Size Wheel for Your Tire

    It is important to ensure your vehicle is installed with a properly sized tire. Each tire size is designed to fit a specific rim width. The correct rim width allows the tire sidewall to flex where the designers meant for the flex to occur. There is a wide range of tires that will fit a specific rim width. After you know what size range of tire will fit your wheels, you can pick a size based on aspect ratio and height of the different tire sizes. A rim that is too narrow in relation to the...
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