California Updates Oppressive Exhaust Law

A viral video is making the rounds from CHP – Antelope Valley’s facebook page.  The post states a new law, enacted on January 1, 2019, states that modified exhausts, with a small caveat of being “excessively loud” whatever that means, is no longer a correctable offense.  Meaning if you’re pulled over you will be fined regardless if you make a repair or not.  Along with that we’ve seen videos of people being pulled over and told they’ll be fined $1,000 for this offense and may be required to report to the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR).  I’m not sure what baffles me more, the idea that for some reason exhausts are seen as this serious or that there is a group specifically associated with people who modify their vehicles.

The question we need to ask ourselves is who have these people harmed?  One officer stated in a video that it was because of street racing, but our research shows that less than a quarter of a percent of fatalities are caused by street racing and they definitely don’t apply to a modified exhaust so there isn’t even a correlation between the two, meaning just because you have an aftermarket exhaust you can’t say the person plans to race with it.

The fact is many people install aftermarket exhausts, not just automotive enthusiasts.  Aftermarket exhaust stores have prospered by offering cheaper alternatives to original equipment exhausts.  Usually these are not at the same quality of factory exhausts so they may increase the noise, but an exhaust is simply a tube with a product that cancels noise.  It’s not rocket science which is why so many flock to this simple modification.

What this law means is now many regular drivers will now be subjected to pull overs by police who are over-worked, speeches of their criminal activity, and then they’ll need to fight to defend a small metal pipe under their vehicle.  How will they fight?  With tons of money.

California is no stranger to ignoring automotive rights.  Simply being at an impromptu car show there can induce a spectator ticket if it’s perceived as racing, which the police have all been trained to think.  Cars have been impounded and crushed under the false pretense that they are doing something illegal or the expectation that they probably have stolen equipment, which is grossly inaccurate.  This has led to racial profiling and oppressive pull-overs for anyone that may fit the agenda they’ve been trained to look out for.  Meaning young drivers, unable to afford an adequate lawyer, crushed under the stamp of bureaucracy, are easy targets to get their vehicles crushed and left without any sort of transportation to things like their job or for medical treatment.

The real goal of this legislation is not to fix any problem.  It’s to pad the wallets of bureaucracy.  It’s to cater to over priced dealers who will be the only people you can get exhausts from.  It’s made to crush the corner store repair shop that pads its meager budget with exhaust repairs so it will give up and force the consumer to pay more.  It’s made to make the consumer fear falling out of line.  It’s made to remove any fun you have so you’ll just go to work every day and disappear into your house at night like a good little citizen.  Lastly, it’s bull shit.

Is this what we can expect from states run by Democrats?  Is more of this oppressive legislation on the way?  I’ve already heard people from Democrat run states say to expect this to come to a bill near you.  Isn’t there better things you could do with your time than try to look holier than thou?  To prey on young kids who are just trying to enjoy what fun they can before they’re indoctrinated into the workplace?  I think you do and I can think of a bunch right off the top of my head.

Good luck to those out in California.  The only option you may have left is the one that many others are taking, which is moving to a state with less taxes and lower housing costs as it may already be too late.

49 Murphy’s Laws for Cars

When it comes to projects we do in the car world, we realize that the logic of Murphy perfectly fits.  If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.  Here’s an awesome list of Murphy’s laws for Car Guys.  Feel free to add some in the comments!

Rule #,
1.) The most broken nut is behind the wheel.
1, supplemental.) Cars are a drug.  The first hit is free, the rest will cost you.
2a.) A vehicle will run perfectly, without any trouble while on a shop floor until it goes on a dyno or is assigned to an event at which point it will completely fail.  Once the event has passed it will run fine again.
2b.) Conversely, if a vehicle has a persistent problem it will only be present outside of the diagnostic drive.
3a.) The diagnostic code presented on the tool is not the problem you’ll need to fix to make the code go away.
3b.) If there is an engine code, check the fuel cap.
3c.) For each problem you fix, two more will take its place.
4.) According to the gas tank sensor, the first 3/4’s of gas is used in the first 10 miles.  The rest of the gas will complete 200 miles or more.   There are 50 more miles beyond “E.”
6.) The frequency a part will fail will directly correlate to the difficulty to reach said part in the engine bay.
7.) The cheaper the vehicle, the more expense it will require to repair.  The cheaper the part, the more frequent it will need to be changed.
8.) Dodge.
9a.) If someone claims a horsepower number, divide it by half for the actual horsepower.
9b.) If it’s a DSM, quarter it.
9c.) If it’s a Honda subtract 10 horsepower for each sticker.
10.) The optimism you apply to a project vehicle is relative to the amount of work it will take to give up on reaching that goal.
11.) Your perceived value on your vehicle is 1000% over of the value that everyone else perceives it.
12.) If you repair a vehicle and do not test drive the vehicle the real problem will immediately be catastrophic ten seconds after it leaves the lot.
13.) If a car is perfect, the next year it will be upgraded to become imperfect and the part that makes it perfect will become obsolete.
14.) The car you want and need is $100 a month beyond your allowable monthly payment.
15.) If you feel like you’ve paid the right price for a vehicle it will not perform the job it needs to perform.
16.) If the vehicle is running right, something is wrong.
17.) The vehicle on the lot has $2,000 in additional options.  The vehicle you want is on the other side of the country and would require an additional $2,000 in shipping to get it to you.
18.) The better the warranty the more often the vehicle will break.
19.) The estimated cost and time of a repair is 1/3rd of the actual cost and repair time, but your technician will be paid the same regardless and you will be charged the difference.
20.) The bolt you forgot is the one holding the vehicle together.
21.) The more desire you have for your vehicle is parallel to the chance the vehicle will be totaled by the insurance company after a minor accident.
22.) Timing Belts have incredible timing when they break.
23.) The amount you invest in reliability correlates directly to how little the part would have broken or how catastrophic the item will be when it does.
24.) If you grease a bolt to make it easier to remove it will back out during operation.  If you use a solution to lock it in place it will be impossible to remove again when you need to replace it.
25.) The ease to find a tool is inverse to how many times you need to use the tool.  (e.g.: the 10mm… gone forever.)
26.) If engineers were forced to repair the vehicles they built the repairs would be much easier.
27.) The desired results of an upgrade is relative to the chance the upgrade is destructive to the build.
28.) The further an item is in the user manual is directly relative to how few drivers know it exists and how useful it is.
29.) If it’s a new required interval repair, it requires a new tool to repair it.
30.) You threw away the spare part you need yesterday.  The part that’s been sitting in your storage area forever will never be needed again.
31.) The more technicians you add to a project the longer it will take to do and the less likely the repair is accurate, but if you do the repair yourself it will take an exponential amount of technicians to correct the original install.
32.) Cheap aftermarket improvements are anything but.
33.) The less the community knows on a subject, the more they will want to give you input on that subject.

Chris’s Functional Auto Theory
There is 100% probability that a problem you have with your vehicle is well known to everyone except you until it happens to your vehicle, unless you know the problem to which is will never occur until you forget about it.

Mikey Two Wrench’s Correlation
If the vehicle cannot be repaired, the radio can always be made louder.

The Harris’ Postulate
1.) The squeaky wheel gets the hammer.
2.) The most detrimental production error in your vehicle will be evident within 20,000 miles, but other errors will wait until your warranty has resolved.
3.) The item that needs to be fixed will not be the one the client is requesting to be repaired.
4.) Universal parts are not.
5.) The more an inspection tries to capture the more creative a driver will be to slip something by the inspection.
6.) If the part functions perfectly, the rest of the systems are in error.

Khoury’s Aftermarket Law
1.) If it installs easy, it will fail to work.
2.) If it installs hard, it is installed wrong.

Gonsalve’s Capitulation
It’s going to need a new engine.

Do you have some great Murphy’s laws?  Share them with us below!

The Automotive Hybrid Revolution – What You Need to Know Moving to 2025.

If you’ve been paying attention you may be seeing that some automotive brands have frantically jumped to hybrid and electric technology or what I’m calling the hybrid revolution.  It may even seem that suddenly the automotive world has finally embraced this technology and are making a mad dash to offer it to the public.  We’ve seen Ford spend a billion dollars, Lamborghini will offer Hybrids and McLaren will become electric only by 2025.  We should be celebrating, but why aren’t we?  Why isn’t there commercials everywhere celebrating this embrace of the future?  Simply put, because it’s not true.  This mad dash is not because they’ve embraced the technology, but because they’re being forced too… at gun point.

Currently there are three major countries where money and spending power matters.  That is the United States in first place, China in second place, and Japan in third.  Nothing much has changed on the US front, but on the China front a major initiative to lower the carbon footprint is taking place and it’s caused automakers to take notice.

In the past, due mostly to oil shortages or embargo due to war, when we’ve discussed the environment it has been associated with reducing gas mileage.  This caused our highway speed to be set to 55 mph and 1980’s cars to be neutered in power.  The way they kept up with this gas mileage was by dialing back on the flow of fuel, which also cut into the horsepower.  Then later on we figured out how to make vehicles more efficient with direct port to direct injection and we were able to keep up with fuel economy while pushing power levels back up and beyond.

Something started to change in the late 2000’s when climate crusaders started looking into the concept of carbon dioxide’s climate warming qualities.  So not only did auto makers have the average miles per gallon number to work around they suddenly had their hexagrams of carbon dioxide (CO2) to worry about as well.  We started to see new California regulations that severely restricted vehicles making way for ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicles) and PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicles).  Vehicles like Lamborghini would via for exemptions due to the low amount of vehicles they produced so they could bypass these restrictive standard.

What we saw was the emission regulations of California were actually motivating the way we drove vehicles around the US.  It makes sense if you’re an automaker.  Why cater to various areas when you can cater to one area that applies to all the others?  So even though the badge was on the vehicle with the automaker bragging about how they cared about the environment, the reality was that they were just doing what they were required to do by the California standard and sharing it with the rest of the country.

With China’s new restrictions we are seeing is this happening on a global scale.  China has already put into place this extreme reduction in not just CO2, but other areas as well.  To put it in context, a vehicle in 2003 that could produce 2.30 in C02 will need to make .7 by 2020 and .5 by 2023.  That’s an insane curve and it will apply to all vehicles they import.   So if we put into context the concept of going with the toughest regulation to build all automobiles then they’ll need to catch up quick if you still want the China sales to factor into your bottom line.

This is why we’ve seen Ford spend money on technology they don’t have because they will need to cram for this test, which means they don’t have room for cars anymore.  Now you can understand why McLaren has thrown their hands in the air and just said it’s time to go all electric, as they probably feel everyone will be forced to follow suit.  The reality is whether you’re ready for this technology or not you can’t just discard your second biggest buyer without taking a big bottom-line hit and the concept of building secondary vehicles specific to China’s regulations is out of the question.

The problem is that we’re in a market where the public sees gas as prevalent again.  We can see this because when the market is gas friendly we can gauge it by the gas guzzling truck market.  The current truck market takes up the top 5 spots in buyer ownership.  What does the hybrid electric market make-up?  Only 4% total among all vehicles.  So instead of catering to what consumers are buying automakers are being forced to cater to government regulations.

So why aren’t buyers getting on board with hybrid and electric market?  It could be deduced that we don’t really have the technology to keep up with it at an affordable cost.  The vehicles we are seeing successfully sell are in the $23,000 range and even those vehicles are seeing sluggish sales.  A Tesla model 3 in comparison is $46,000. A BMW i3, a shadow of an actual vehicle, is $44,000.  A Tesla model S is $77,000.  Meaning you could buy a much more prestigious combustion vehicle for the same cost.  With even the most basic hybrid costing $2,000 more, and looking somewhat unassuming in comparison, the consumer doesn’t see the risk of potentially failed parts and upkeep against the advertised benefits.  They just see the payment and call it a day.  In short, the buyer that wants to save the environment can’t afford the car they believe can accomplish that lofty goal.

The truth is the consumer doesn’t see the value of the hybrid or electric vehicle against emission and therefore aren’t willing to account for cost.  I’ve yet to see a comparison of an electric bill to a gas bill when it comes to a fully electric vehicle and there’s probably a good reason for that.  In fact, the #1 reason for emissions are electric power plants and industry, making up 50%.  Transportation accounts for 28%, but this includes all forms of commercial transportation such as trucks, boats, and trains.   Many will say this reinforces that automobiles are the problem, but compared to economic source and you see that Electric/Heating is #1 at 25%, Agriculture is #2 at 24%, Industry is #3 at 21%, and Transportation comes in a bleak 4th at 11%.  In fact, China as a country, leads in emissions almost doubling the United States, so it wouldn’t be far fetched to think the consumer would ask for them to just clean up their act so they don’t have to pay the cost.  (EPA source global emission data 2016 – https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data)

That hasn’t stopped sources like Vox from saying that vehicles are still the #1 emitter and why wouldn’t they?  It’s still a great way to get free money from the government.  Tesla has netted $4.9 billion in taxpayer money while mothballing multiple new vehicle ideas.  Science has found that blaming green house gases is a great way to get funding for projects, as long as they stick to the status quo.  Stand against it and you’ll find yourself called a shill or worse excommunicated from the tit of the government cash cow.  In conclusion this means the government is being told to get on board and the consumer isn’t interested in being forced to purchase a vehicle they don’t want and can’t afford.

The reality is we aren’t ready both in technology and demand.  Ask any die hard car guy and you’ll find they are dying to see new technology.  We know full well that the more efficient a vehicle operates the more environmentally friendly it becomes.  We also realize that electric vehicles have a great deal of get up and go that merged with a combustion engine has a great deal of potential to give us amazing performance figures.  We see that success in the new NSX and BMW i8.  The problem is we know that these packages look good as posters on our walls and not so much sitting in our garage.  Even if the common pleb could afford them we would look to more affordable vehicles such as the Corvette, GT-R or 911, which also have better performance numbers.

What will be the results of the Hybrid Revolution?  Automakers are headed toward another crash.  They are being forced to make new technology to keep up with an oppressive curve which means they’ll need to cut corners in a market that isn’t interested in the products they are creating.  Meaning it will become costly disposable technology simply to meet government standards.  Instead of instilling confidence in the electric market we’ll see buyers take a step back to vehicles they are more familiar with and feel are more reliable extending an already venerable owner base that keeps their vehicles well beyond 10 years.

We’re already seeing it, with the aforementioned NSX that has seen single digit sales on multiple months in 2018 and although the BMW i8 has managed to keep it in dual digits that still won’t be enough to keep it afloat, and their ability to float is comparative to a post glacier Titanic.  Compare this to a Lamborghini, using standard available direct injection technology, costing $200,000 ($50,000 more than the NSX) the Lamborghini has broken company sales records for 7 consecutive years in a row.  We also don’t think we’ll see that change as Lamborghini has refused to mothball their V10 and V12 powerplants opting to simply add electric engines to get them over the CO2 hump.  On the other hand, if McLaren is forced to abandon their electric business model we’ll have seen a revolution that will not only end traumatically but could spell the end of electric to the tone of a failed defibrillator as its battery runs dry and flatline takes over.  What could’ve been an exciting future for electric, crushed under it’s own cost, fades to black.

 

What They Aren’t Telling You About the Oncoming Hybrid Revolution – Car Side Chat, Episode 18

Recently you may have heard that many brands are going hybrid or complete electric.  Many are excited about this thinking that these brands are getting on board with cutting edge technology, but the reality is they are being forced to do this and consumers aren’t excited about signing up.  On our 18th episode of Car Side Chat we discuss this Hybrid Revolution and why it’s actually really bad for the automotive industry and what the cost will actually be to both cars and you, the consumer.

 

10 Automotive Jokes All Car Guys Should Know

So you’re a car guy, but you’re having a problem with comedy.  Well here’s a list of great jokes you must know.

1.) I want to die peacefully in my sleep… not screaming in terror like his passengers.

2.) My wife took her driving test yesterday and she got 8 out of 10!  The other 2 were able to jump clear.

3.) The salesman came up and said, “you want to get a new car for your wife?”  Best deal I’ve ever made.

4.) A wise man once said, a man who runs behind a car gets exhausted, but a man who runs in front of the car gets tired.

5.) I didn’t realize how bad of a driver I was until my GPS said, “turn right, stop, and let me out.”

6.) I had a friend who was addicted to brake fluid, but he said he could stop at any time!

7.) My mechanic came up to me with a discouraged look.  He said, “Sorry, we couldn’t fix your brakes, so we made your horn louder.”

8.) My mechanic said, “I blew a seal.”  I replied, “keep my personal life outta this!”

9.) I’ve never seen a tree that didn’t hit a car in self-defense.

10.) Don’t drink and drive… you’ll spill your drink!

5 Reason Bob Lutz Self-Driving Car Predictions Don’t Hold Weight?

Bob Lutz said that in the not-so-distant future that cars would be obsolete and that we would be carried around in self-driving pods, powered by Google, Uber and Lyft, similar to the way the horse drawn carriage was eradicated from existence.  Since then I’ve been inundated with messages about the impending doom of the automotive industry in the next three to eight years.  My answer is, let’s not worry quite yet and here are some reasons why.

1.) It Already Doesn’t Work
The idea of mass transportation is nothing new.  If you think Google was the first company to dream of a world where everyone got on some common mode of transportation to easily get from point A to point B, you’d be sadly mistaken.

Planes, trains, and buses were all thought up, some as much as 100 years, prior to Uber.  That’s why we have the taxi in the first place.  Although the horse drawn carriage has gone the way of the dodo, the personal mode of transportation has reigned far longer than even recorded time and its many applications are too varied for a single automated system to overcome, which is why taxis haven’t taken over.  We’ve seen the train die, the air travel industry has had troubles, and it’s so bad now that it spawned Uber, which is literally any consumer with a car and some time is outsourced to do some driving for people in need.  With all that we haven’t seen Uber monopolize the roads.  No Uber driver could ever take you off-roading, or let you borrow his RV, and it’s the same reason that nobody ever showed up to take their date to a valet restaurant in a yellow cab.

The reason is because transportation only thinks about transportation.  It only thinks about the people in the box as the commodity.  When people want to be people they think differently.  No soccer mom is considering the load capacity of that automated vehicle when she drops off 8 kids with all the groceries in the back.  And when it doesn’t do what she wants it to do, when she wants it done, well I pity that unfeeling vehicle.

2.) Identity
If there is one thing that defines us, it’s the vehicle we drive.  From the environmentally conscious Prius driver to the Executive in his Mercedes or the muscle guy in his off-road truck, we could be considered stereotypical in our vehicle purchase.  What vehicle will tow our boat to the dock for instance?  Where would your RV or camping equipment fall into the pod concept?  Simply put, it wouldn’t.

Now look outside at the cars in your parking lot right now and ask, how many of those people would love to own a ‘pod’.  Now think, how many of those would love to be hauled to work in a taxi every day.  If you find yourself shaking your head in disagreement then you’re on the right track as to why these scheme couldn’t work.  We’re consumers and we are going to consume big fast food burgers, instead of protein pills (another prediction that didn’t work out).

Lastly, nobody wants to be seen as a commodity.  Every time in history someone says, we’re taking away all your fun and now you’re a robot, the world revolts against the notion.  If you’re just fuel for the industry around you, what are you?  A nameless, faceless, robot in a crowd of pods?  Who would accept that fate?

3.) The Cost of Accidents
Currently when an accident happens we blame the driver.  What happens when the runaway self-driving truck decides your kids little league practice is part of its loading dock or people decide that suicide by automated vehicle might be a thing?  It’s easy to say, “insurance pays”, but that’s not how this works.  If that was true the McDonald’s Hot Coffee lady would’ve just collected the insurance and we would’ve never heard about it again.

On a small scale the automated company could deal with a couple of litigations, but if the entirety of the road (253 million vehicles in the US alone) was chocked full of automated vehicles driving on roads easily accessed by children playing ball accidents will inevitably mount and the mounting litigation could easily bankrupt the parent company.  All it takes is one emotional mom to say, “these automated vehicles are terrorizing the streets” for a MAAV (Moms Against Automated Vehicles) to take hold.

That’s not taking into account vandalism of vehicles.  I’m sure each vehicle will have an emergency button and if you make a big red button everyone naturally wants to push it to see what happens.  Go to any car rental or taxi service and ask how much it is to upkeep, clean, and otherwise keep the fleet going and the cost is staggering.

Need I remind you of Murphy’s law number 27.  Make something idiot proof and they will build a better idiot.  I know it all sounds good on paper right now, but if something seems to good to be true… well, you know the rest.

4.) Infrastructure
When thinking about the automated vehicle we have to understand that it won’t all be rolled out it one day.  When it’s quickly proven that vehicles aren’t nice about sharing the road, automated vehicles will probably receive their own lane at first and be told to be dedicated to it and it won’t be going 100 mph, as the speed limit is the speed limit, so when that lane is drudging alone at a meager 50 mph you can be assured that people will be thinking twice about their purchase.  I know they say now that those vehicles are safe, but if you’ve driven rush hour traffic you know how belligerent things can get.

Currently 65% of US roads are in need of repair*.  How does an automated vehicle deal with a washed out road or sink hole?  How about a blown out tire?  How about snowy or inclement weather?  Does someone change the wheels on the automated car from summer, to all season, to snow?  What if the owner doesn’t do that (like it doesn’t happen on cars today)?  If anyone has driven their Mercedes with the proximity sensor covered in snow you’ll know what I’m talking about.  I’m okay with cruise control, but my foot is there in case I need to hit the brake.  What happens when the steering wheel is completely gone?  The cost to upkeep millions of miles of roadway will be insane and if you say it’s the responsibility of the owner he’ll be sure to pass that cost on to the city or town of the road they’re on and to the manufacturer when their technology doesn’t cut the mustard.  Trust me, nobody is paying if they aren’t responsible and that’s exactly what the automated vehicle does, is take the responsibility out of the hands of the driver.  So when you tell the insurance company they can’t surcharge an automated driver that has been in seven accidents, trust me, they’ll pass it on to someone.

5.) Legislation
The wheels of bureaucracy grind at the speed of a millstone and you can be sure that automotive lobbies, gas lobbies, and whatever other kind of powerful lobby will have their mitts so deep into the ears of politicians that they could be considered a part of the earwig family!  Not to mention they’ll be a unified front to keep people buying cars.  Even the surmise that Uber will do it’s own thing misses the point that Uber is sourced by normal drivers and if they don’t have a car, what good will they do?  No politician who loves his job would ever even elude to the idea of outlawing the personal vehicle or regular transportation.

What will happen?  The self-driving car will require a roll-out and after a successive failure of being “injected” into traffic, legislation will be created to give them their own lane.  So if you’re a self-driving car you’ll have your own travel lane based dedicated to your type of vehicle.  Nobody uses that travel lane, so you might as well use that.  There’s even a chance they’ll be subjugated to highway travel only and their speed will be reduced to deter accidents.

Will they totally take over the road?  There may come a point when self-driving cars will populate the highway, but that will be when the technology is cheaper and anyone can afford it and there’s little or no chance that wheelless automation could survive in the city, which is where they would be best put to use.  It will never take hold rural areas (72% of the US is considered rural) at all, where the demand for them will be small or non-existent.

What will happen is a demand for automation in our vehicles, such as adding it to our current vehicle for long trips, an RV for cross country non-stop runs, or truckers who don’t have to worry about driving sleepy when they have that super long delivery.  In these areas automated vehicles would shine like the sun.  We may not even use it, but we are going to want the option to replace cruise control.  If we use it like that we won’t care if we’re subjected to some automated lane where we have to drive 50 mph.  The reality is it will still be an option, not a rule.

In conclusion, I’m all for calling an Uber driver when I need to.  Most of the times that will be in the city where I need quick and cheap transportation a couple of blocks.  I’m also not against calling an automated cab, which I’m sure Google will quickly implement, that drives me to airport, but to say that automated vehicles are going to move your current cars to the way of the dinosaur in eight years is well, just short sighted.  There are just way to many hurdles to overcome before it’s even a possibility.

So to all you collectors, don’t sweat it quite yet.  You have some time before manual transmission and electric cars take-over and then you can worry about self-driving cars.

 

 

 

*according to the American Societyof Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure