Bertha Benz and the First Road Trip

We passed Memorial Day, the kickoff to summer and road trip season. AAA estimated that over 41 million Americans would hit the road over Memorial Day Weekend. Have you ever stopped to wonder who took the first road trip? Well, we have Bertha Benz to thank. She was the first person to drive a car from one place to some place else – the original road trip.

bertha benz 1970
Bertha Benz, 1870 (18 years prior to her legendary roadtrip)

The Car

You may have noticed that Bertha Benz shares a name with one of the biggest car companies in the world. She was the wife of automotive inventor Karl Benz. Karl was working on the world’s first gasoline powered car (with a little bit of financial help from Bertha’s dowry), later dubbed the Benz Patent-Motorwagen.

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Top 11 YouTube Channels for Car Lovers

Top 11 YouTube Channels for Car Lovers

YouTube has an ever-expanding universe of automotive delight. From professional restoration shops to backyard hacks like me, there is a flavor for everyone. I’m subscribed to exactly 122 YouTube channels. Do you know how much automotive content that is to digest on the regular? I’m literally drowning in videos while tears of joy stream down my cheeks and into my popcorn.

Today, I am giving you my top 11 YouTube channels. Coincidentally, “11” is about the same number of miles I’ve put on my 1964 Impala in 21 years… but that’s another story for another day.

As you dance your way down this list, you’re surely going to find some surprises. For example, Motor Trend didn’t make the list. Sure they have 1.7 billion YouTube views, 5 million subscribers, and over 2,000 absolutely amazing videos. They also have Roadkill. But they also quit making YouTube content recently, which made me quite grumpy, and thus my once-favorite YouTube channel simply didn’t qualify for my “Top 11” list. All right, let’s get to the list:

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Excessive Oil Consumption: Why It Happens, How to Prevent It, and How to Fix It

gears leaking oil

Engine oil keeps the internal parts of the engine lubricated and working smoothly. Without it, the engine would seize up, requiring a costly repair or a new engine or new car altogether.

There are many reasons why an engine might be consuming oil at a fast rate. Some are common; some are rare, but it’s a problem not to be overlooked. There are also ways to mitigate it as an engine ages.

What is excessive when it comes to oil consumption?

Excessive oil consumption is the consumption or loss of oil at a rate that is faster than “normal.” What’s normal depends on the specific engine, as each one will have its own recommended change interval and may burn oil at different rates compared to other engines. According the James Dunst at, an average rate is 1 quart every 1,500 miles, and this number can be less than 1,000 miles for performance vehicles. Manufacturers will have a common mileage number for consumption, which you can find in your owner’s manual. It’s important to know that this number can change depending on what oil is used.

What causes excessive oil consumption?

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Green Car Repair Tips for Earth Day

Sunday April 22 is Earth Day, but it’s always a good time to think about your impact on the world you live in. One of the great things about our cars and trucks is that we can take them out of the city to go enjoy the scenery all around us, whether you’re headed to a national park, the local lake, a camp site, or out on trails. Of course, if you have a favorite spot off the beaten path, you’ll want to preserve it so you can keep using, and maybe your kids and grandkids can too, someday. Offroaders know they have take good care of the trails so everyone can keep using them. That’s why so many offroading groups organize trail clean up events around the country from Michigan to the Pacific Northwest to the Southwest.

If you’re not an offroader, or you’re just looking for another way to take care of the environment, what are some other ways to keep things green with your car? Well, it turns out that maintaining your car and doing it right is the green thing to do.

Scientific American cites a study done by Toyota that found that 28 percent of the carbon emissions in a car’s lifecycle come from the manufacturing process, and the remainder is from driving. Maintaining your old car can be better for the environment than buying a new car, even one with better fuel mileage.

Here’s some repairs you can do keep things clean and some tips for how to make your repairs more environmentally friendly.

Car Maintenance to Reduce Emissions and Save Gas

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Tips to Make a Weatherstripping Replacement Easier

1A Auto mechanic installing weatherstripping around trunk

If the perils of winter have wreaked havoc on your weatherstripping, or if it’s just time to replace it, there are a few tips you can follow to make the process go easier.

Signs Weatherstripping Needs Replacing

Wind noise, water leaking in the cabin, water pooling above the door or in the door jamb, and unexplainable carpet stains are all signs that your weatherstripping needs to be replaced. Weatherstripping may also be cracked or split, or it may be peeling off without much adhesive left to keep it in place.

How to Find Mystery Water Leaks

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9 Ideas for Car-Lovers to Splurge on for Tax Day

For 2018, April 17th is the deadline for filing taxes. According to smartasset, the average income tax refund is over $2,000. Even if your tax return is half the national average, that’s still a lot of money to put towards something. So what should you spend it on?

Well, if you love cars, you’re in luck. There’s a few options out there. They can be practical and/or fun and worth splurging your hard earned cash on.

Go to a Track Day/Night

Organizations like the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) host events all over the US. Some events can run up to $300. But if you have a sports car or you want to test the limits of your daily driver, taking laps on a track for a day with generally no speed limit is one fun event to splurge your tax return on. Rules vary depending on the event, but you’ll need a car in good condition and a helmet to drive. If it’s your first time, Car and Driver  has some good tips to help beginners prepare.

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It’s Time to Test Your Shocks and Struts; Do You Know How?

How are your roads this time of year? Winter can do a number on the roads, and spring seems to be prime time for potholes. You might be noticing that the roads are a lot rougher, and your car’s ride might be losing its smoothness too. Potholes are hard on your shocks and struts, after all. This might just be the ideal time to get some new shocks or struts, but how do you know if you need them? Our mechanic Andrew can show you what to look for and how to check. Read on for more info about shocks and struts.

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