9 Great Car Movies to Watch

Great car movies love to show off great cars. They test their rugged performance, sometimes in the form of a high-speed chase or race that would never actually happen, and they might reveal the passion and pride that goes on behind the wheel. But most of all, they make cars a central part of the story.

Of course, many films have featured or debuted rare or new cars, but this list is concerned with the movies all about cars. So with the 90th Academy Awards fresh in our minds, here’s a list of top car movies and documentaries to check out.

Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

A nerve-racking chase, a gang of unique characters, and a race against the clock to snag some of the most expensive and desired cars (at the time), this action flick has all the elements of a great car movie. It tests the endurance a prized Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 code-named Eleanor, but also has some neat cameos, like a 1995 Ferrari F355 GTS, a 1994 Lamborghini Diablo SE30, and refurbished 1959 Chevrolet Impala convertible. See the entire list.

I’ve never watched the original version from 1974, but this remake is still worthy of hitting the list, especially if you want a nostalgic taste of some high-end models from the ‘90s.

Le Mans (1971)

First, it has Steve McQueen, who is in Bullitt—another great movie not on this list. Second, it has real footage from the 1970 Le Mans Grand Prix. Third, it’s a movie about the love, courage, and perils of racing, with some high-intensity racing scenes, making it a great movie if you’re into racing.

Rush (2013)

Another racing movie, Rush explores the rivalry of F1 legends James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula 1 season. It’s a historic car movie full of cutthroat racing that reveals a glimpse into their personal lives, and is recommended even if you’re not that into racing for the film’s ability to capture more than just the passion for the sport.

Senna (2011)

Senna is a documentary of three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna. Using only real footage, it covers the brief history of Formula One during Senna’s rise and the tragic, heartbreaking accident that shook and changed the world of racing forever. Since Senna’s death, F1 enacted new safety measures. This is one of the top documentaries of the sport and shows the legacy of a great driver and man.

Apex (2016)

Apex explains what makes a hypercar a hypercar. This documentary explores the frontier of racing and our desire for pushing these machines to their greatest limits. It features a Bugatti Veyron,  Porsche 918, McLaren P1, and Koenigseff One:1 and more. It won’t reveal a ton of new information about these beasts, but it’s still a great film if you want to know how these cars are developed, where they’re going, and why we do it. Also, you get to see these machines tear up the track a little, which is pretty cool.

Furious 7 (2015)

Really, any movie from the Fast and Furious franchise will do. These films are the most self-indulgent, car-infested movies to come out yet, and number 7 takes the gold for most gut-wrenching, actionable, and borderline ridiculous with stunts that will put any car chasing scene to shame. This is not for a movie for those seeking a realistic portrayal of life, but once in a while, fantasy is nice to indulge in.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Okay, there are no normal cars in this film, but that’s why it’s on the list. The entire movie is basically a car chase, but with cars that come with mods so ridiculous you’ll think you’re in another world (which, of course, you are). There’s an old oil rig with a sand-plow, an old Ford lifted like a monster truck, and two 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Villes morphed into some sort of weird hot rod. And the best part? They all get destroyed.

The Italian Job (2003)

Some may say this movie is just an advertisement for the new Mini of the time, but it’s still a classic. Mini Cooper S’s zipping through tunnels, tumbling down stairs, and out-running a helicopter are just a few scenes in this classic flick. At least half the movie has scenes of driving and getaways, which is enough to put it on any car movie list.

Love the Beast (2009)

Love the Beast is a documentary that will explain why car enthusiasts have such a deep passion for cars. It goes beyond just the love, but explores the deep relationship that can form with them through the story of Eric Bana and the rough crash of his beloved ‘74 Ford Falcon XB—a car he’s had since his teens. It shows what it means to have such enthusiasm for cars and how these beauties are more than just a hunk of metal. It’s a way of life.


Announcing the Winner of the 1A Auto Empower Sweepstakes

Congratulations to our lucky winner, Matthew!

To all who participated, thank you for all your hard work. It was great to see people build skill and confidence by learning how to do their own car repairs.

Over 1,500 people showed off their new skills, tackling repairs ranging from an ignition starter switch, to a set of spark plugs, and even a first try at changing brake rotors and pads. It’s great to see someone take on a new challenge and learn how easy it can be to fix your own car.

If you were one of the first 100 submissions, your free t-shirt is on the way.

Thank you again to everyone who shared your repairs with us! To everyone else, even though the contest is complete, you can still join all these people in building skill and confidence in doing your own repairs. As your top source for quality auto parts and auto knowledge, our parts and how-to videos can help you save money and prepare you for the next job. Good luck!

Why Won’t My Car Start?

We depend on our cars to always be there when we need them. That’s why it can be such a shock when you turn the key and your car doesn’t start. If that happens to you, don’t panic. A lot of times the problem is relatively simple to fix. To figure out what’s going on, pay careful attention to what happens when you turn the key.

Click what happens when you turn the key to jump down to your specific issue:


Nothing Happens When I Turn the Key

Say you turn the key and nothing at all happens. Dead silence—no dash lights, no interior lights. That means your car’s systems aren’t getting any power from the battery. The most likely culprit is a dead battery, but before you spring for a new one, you should check that your battery connections are good. Check by hand that the terminals are tight on the battery. If they feel loose, tighten the nut on the side of the terminal. If they feel tight, but there’s a lot of corrosion and buildup, that might reduce the effectiveness of your battery. You might want to take the terminals off the battery posts and carefully clean the posts and terminals. Often you can get the terminals clean enough just using a wire brush, but this video will show you a more thorough procedure to keep your terminals cleaner long-term:

Read More

Car Shaking After a Snowstorm? Here’s Why & How to Fix It


It’s common to feel your car shaking while driving after a snowstorm. Many people experience vibration in the steering wheel, the seat, or underneath the car. You might not even feel it until you pick up some speed. This can be alarming and sometimes a little scary, but the cause is usually benign.

Why Your Car Vibrates

The vibration comes from snow and ice stuck in the wheels. The snow acts as a weight and throws off the balance of the tires while driving, wobbling them up and down or front and back, wherever the snow is. Yes, snow is light, but it takes less than an ounce of added weight to throw off your tire’s balance.

If you feel vibration in the steering wheel, seat, or chassis, the tires likely have too much snow in them. Vibrations felt in the steering wheel usually come from snow in the front tires, and vibrations felt in the seat usually come from snow in the rear tires.

Driving on unbalanced tires can wear out the suspension and steering parts over time and make for an unpleasant drive.  It’s best to pull over in a safe spot and fix it, especially if you’re driving a long distance.

How to Fix the Vibration

Read More

Do I Need Premium Gas?

Gas station Does your car recommend you use premium gas? Or if it doesn’t, when you’re pumping your regular gas, do you ever wonder if you would get a boost by paying for high-test? Or have you ever had an old-school car guy tell you that you need to run premium sometimes to clean out your gas tank?

There’s a lot of confusion out there about premium gas, what it’s good for, and who does or doesn’t need it. So, let’s clear things up once and for all.

Why Do Some Cars Use Premium Gas?

Some cars either recommend that you use premium gas or require it. Many cars will have a sticker inside the fuel door that tells you if it recommends or requires premium gas. You can always check your owner’s manual.

So why would you need premium gas? Cars that call for premium gas tend to either have high compression engines or forced induction (supercharging or turbocharging). That means that the fuel and air is under very high pressure in the combustion chamber. That’s one way to make a high-powered engine.

High compression and forced induction introduce their own complications. High pressure (along with heat building up in the engine) can cause the gas to combust before it should. That’s called pre-ignition, detonation, or engine knocking. Knocking can cause damage to engine components, especially if it recurs over a long time. You can recognize knocking as a metal-on-metal “pinging” sound under the hood.

You may have noticed the different octane ratings on the fuel pump: usually numbers like 87 for regular, 89 for mid-grade, and 92 (or thereabouts) for premium. A higher octane rating means that the gas is less likely to pre-ignite.

Which Cars Require Premium?

Read More

My Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas & How I Fixed It

A few months ago, my 2007 Hyundai Accent had a bizarre problem. After I filled it up at the gas station, it would not start unless I depressed the gas pedal while cranking.

Other days it started right up, but any amount of fresh gas created start-up problems. It didn’t matter how much gas was in the tank, and there was no check engine light or codes.

Turns out this also happened to others that own Accents and Sonatas, and there could be a few fixes.

Troubleshooting Different Gas Fill-Up Scenarios

I work with some knowledgeable people here at 1A Auto, so after sharing this with them, a few experts gave me a some “tests” to try first to make sure there wasn’t an outside cause.

Before spending money on parts, here are the scenarios I tested for:

Read More

Why Does My Tire Pressure Light Come On When It’s Cold?

low tire pressure light symbol
Low tire pressure light.           Photo by Machalov is licensed under CC BY 3.0

It’s a bitter cold morning in January. You start your car and this icon lights up on your dashboard. It’s the low tire pressure light. What’s wrong? How did your tire go flat over night? And do you need to get air?

What the Light Means

Cars built after 2008 are required to have sensors in the tire that measure the tire’s air pressure. The light comes on if the pressure in your tire drops to 25% below the recommended pressure, according to Edmunds. How Stuff Works points out that the sensor can be off by as much as two pounds per square inch, but that’s far from enough to make your tire 25% low. If the light comes on then your tires are probably too soft. That can cause tire squealing, poor handling, and increased tire wear.

Read More