America has always had a fascination with automobiles. Americans take pride in their cars and trucks, and they love to keep them clean, maintain them, and add goodies like fancy new tires or custom rims. Some shade tree mechanics even lik doing a little auto repair work on their own.
Another thing Americans love is talking about cars. We've assembled a few fun facts about cars you can use to impress your friends or your mechanic the next time you're in for an auto repair job:
Few people know it, but inventor Henry Ford coined the term tune up while he was working on his first automobile prototype. At the time, ignition systems were very simple. He used a separate ignition coil for every spark plug, so if a car had four spark plugs, it had four separate ignition coils. An auto mechanic needed to adjust all four coils once in a while to provide the same spark for a smooth idle and acceleration. As these coils sparked, they would make a distinct humming or buzzing sound. When an auto mechanic properly adjusted all the coils in a car, they all buzzed at the same tone. The mechanic would then declare that the car was 'in tune’. Today’s modern ignition and distribution systems are a far cry from Henry Ford’s, but many drivers still associate the words tune up with car maintenance tasks like oil changes, spark plug changes, or other simple auto repair tasks. So the next time your auto mechanic lets you know your car is in tune, you’ll know what it really means.
The first speeding ticket ever issued in America was in 1904, when most cars could barely reach 30 mph. Mr. Harry Myers of Dayton, Ohio received the ticket. Mr. Myers was traveling at a blistering pace of 12 miles per hour when the police observed him speeding. The speed limit at the time was only 8 miles an hour for motor cars, lowered to4 MPH when turning, to keep passengers in their open-air seats. That ticket could have been worse, however. The very first auto infraction of any kind 1899 resulted in the driver, a Mr. Jacob German of New York, being sent to sent to jail for reckless driving just for exceeding the speed limit.
The most expensive speeding ticket in history was issued in Switzerland. A Swedish man driving a custom Mercedes-Benz SLR was clocked doing over 185 mph. This was over two-and-a-half times the speed limit! Fines in Switzerland are proportionate to income, as well as the ‘extraordinary speed’ at which he was travelling according to the judge. The driver claimed the speedometer wasn't working properly, but the judge wasn't buying it. His eventual fine totaled €650,000, or approximately $1,000,000.00 in 2010 US Dollars.
Decades ago, drivers had to replace their car tires with new tires far more frequently than we do today. Modern car tires usually can last 50,000 miles or more before you head to a tire shop. This is due to the advanced materials and technology used to produce modern car tires. Advanced rubber components, radial belt layers, and today’s construction methods give modern car tires a long lifespan. The first rubber tires for automobiles appeared in the mid-1800s. Back then, car tires consisted of solid rubber or cushioning. These tires were not very smooth riding at all.
Around 1845, inventors patented a pneumatic or air-filled tire. These new tires carried the load and absorbed shocks better by using the compressed air in the tire casing. However, they were much less durable than the solid car tires. It wasn’t until 1911 when inventor Philip Strauss redesigned pneumatic car tires with an outer rubber shell that protected the inflatable inner tube that modern air-filled car tires became popular.
A woman by the name of Mary Anderson gave us the idea for modern windshield wipers. In 1903, Ms. Anderson was visiting New York City. She noticed that her driver had his window open, even though it was the middle of a huge rainstorm. Every so often, he would reach his arm out of the car and wipe off his windshield with a squeegee so he could see. This gave Ms. Anderson an idea that led to a patent for the world’s first automatic windshield wiper. Her first wiper used a lever from within the vehicle to move the wiper blades across the front of the windshield.
Unfortunately, auto companies weren’t very keen to buy her invention. They claimed that her idea did not have any commercial value. It wasn’t until after 1920, long after Ms. Anderson's patent ran out, that automobile makers installed windshield wipers on their cars. Automatic wipers eventually became a standard feature on cars. Wiper blades now come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes for different cars. Some companies even offer heated wipers, to help keep your windshield clear in snowy or icy conditions.
Modern cars have come a long way since the invention of the first steam-powered automobile capable of human transportation in 1769. However, even the newest of cars still requires auto repair and maintenance every once in a while. West Coast Tire and Service has been taking car of cars of all makes since they first opened their doors in 1970. In that time, they've become the largest independent auto repair center and tire shop in West Los Angeles. Call or drop by to schedule an appointment today!
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