Why do Gas Prices Go Down in the Winter?


Gas prices always seem to be lower in the winter than in the summer.  All the things that make gas prices rise and fall can be pretty convoluted, and a lot of factors play into seasonal price differences.  There’s higher demand in the summer, with people going on vacations, and generally getting out more and doing more driving.  The biggest factor that makes gas cost more in the summer is that the gasoline is actually different. (more…)

Read More

The True Story of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Remember Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the kids’ musical about the flying car?  Did you know it was based on a real car?  The real one couldn’t fly (at least not in the literal sense), but it did have one thing in common with an airplane: the engine.

In the early days of motoring, there really was no replacement for displacement.  Engineers hadn’t yet figured out how to make reliable engines that ran over 3000 RPM.  The only way to squeeze more horsepower out of an engine was to increase the volume.

Many very large engined cars were designed for racing and to test land speed records in the early 20th century.  Arguably the original was the famed Blitzen Benz, whose 21.5 liter engine could output 200 horsepower at 1,500 RPM.  Not wanting to be outdone, Fiat constructed the Tipo S67, using a 28.5 liter, four cylinder airship engine.  The S67 could output 300 hp at 1,900 RPM.  (more…)

Read More

Nine Cars That Never Existed, Even if You Thought They Did

Have you ever seen a 1996 Jeep Wrangler?  How about a 2001 Cadillac Escalade?  If you’re about to say yes, hold on and think again.  A number of models through automotive history have skipped model years.

Even though your car may have been manufactured or sold in that year doesn’t mean that’s what year it is.  If that sounds confusing, it’s because model years are confusing.  Though a car might be, for example, a 2015, doesn’t mean it was actually built in 2015.  Car companies want to have the car already at dealerships by the start of the year.  So, in most cases, the new model year is released in the last quarter of the previous calendar year.  A 2015 might be introduced in October 2014, say.

That’s not a hard and fast rule, though.  Automakers can release a new model year as early as January 2 of the previous calendar year.  That is to say, a 2015 car can be sold as early as January 2, 2014.  Sometimes car companies will make a new generation of a car an early release.  In other cases they might extend the sales of one model year into the next calendar year if the new generation is not yet ready.  That is how most skipped model years happened.  Here’s a quick chronological list (more…)

Read More

Should I Get Snow Tires?


Winter tires, or snow tires, as some people call them, can be a big benefit in winter driving.  They give your wheels a better grip on the road, which means you’ll have better traction, handling and braking.

There are two main differences between winter tires and your standard, all-weather tires.  First, winter tires are made of a more pliable form of rubber than all-seasons.  Rubber tends to get stiff when it’s cold.  A stiff tire won’t flex to conform to the road.  That means your tire has less contact with the road when it’s cold.  Pliable snow tires do better meeting their surface against the road.

The other major difference is that snow tires have something called sipes.  If you look at a snow tire up close, you’ll notice that in addition to the treads there are tiny little inlets (much thinner than the tread grooves).  These are the sipes.  The sipes (more…)

Read More

5 Scary Signs of Failing Shocks


You’re driving down a back country road at night. Over the howls of the wind, you can hear a rattle and clunking. Is your car haunted or do you just need to fix your suspension? Here are 5 signs that your shocks or struts might be ready to pass on to the great beyond:

1. A Sinking Feeling

Worn springs can lead to decreased ride height. Check your ride height and then compare it to specifications for your model. If you’re riding too low, it’s time to replace your shocks and springs. You might also notice that your car bottoms out on rough roads, speed bumps, or when you’re coming into or out of your driveway.

2. It’s Alive!

You might notice that your ride is livelier that you’d like it to be. (more…)

Read More

Why are wagons undoubtedly the best vehicle? Watch and find out.

In this week’s 1A Auto Talk & Tune Video, Dan and I discussed the many reasons why wagons are the future, and why everyone needs one. Between the obvious good looks, terrific engine options, incredibly spacious interiors, and low insurance costs, wagons are the best kept secret in the automotive world. They hold enough people to call it a party, they can substitute for a camper, they are low enough to wash the roof of without a step ladder, and are nearly always filled with luxurious options. If you don’t already own a wagon, you are going to want to after this video.

Like the video?  Share it with a friend on Facebook and Twitter! And be sure to tag us in it! Facebook.com/1AAuto and @1aauto on twitter

Missed previous episodes?  Here is a link to all 1A Auto Talk and Tune Episodes.

Read More

Video Comparison: Cars Driving through Boston in 1963 vs. 2015

Mat Cronin is a fellow car enthusiast, and he recently discovered a video from the early 1960’s, created by an MIT professor named Kevin Lynch.  Lynch’s video documented a car drive through Boston from a driver’s perspective. Mat saw the long term value of this video as a visual time capsule and had the forethought to recreate this drive in 2015, with the latest and greatest video technology. He then matched up his new video timing with that of Lynch’s video, to show how the cityscape, cars, trucks, and buses have evolved over time. We are all hoping that this can be recreated again in another fifty years so that we can see how the much-anticipated flying cars will compare (that was sarcasm if you missed it.)  As you can see here, what Mat has created is 100% pure, gearhead gold.  When I see the 1963 Ford Galaxie wagon at 0:13, the bright red 1964 Impala at 0:37, the 1957 Buick at 1:16, and, of course, the stunningly beautiful 1961 Impala convertible at 4:17, I want them all. Cars aside, it’s fascinating to see the lack of traffic lights compared to 2015, and on the other hand, how so many buildings have not changed at all in 50 years. There is so much beauty in this video, that watching it once is not nearly enough. Pausing every few seconds is the only way to fully comprehend it. (Pro Tip: Click on the bottom right corner of the video for full screen beauty)

Reader Questions:

1) What is your favorite car seen in this video? (Be sure to give the time stamp of when you see it!)

2) What do you think this video will look like in 2065?

Original video & blog post can be found on Wistia’s Blog:



Read More