Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) began making a comeback in 2011 on all Audi models. The highly popular Honda Accord switched to indirect TPMS for the 2013 model year. The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is now also using an indirect TPMS. Some of the VW Golf platform vehicles have switched to an indirect TPMS. Most of these models have the optional ABS and stability control system.
Indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) are the systems that do not have air pressure sensors inside the tires. Rather, they detect a low tire by comparing relative wheel speeds via the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) wheel speed sensors. New systems are taking advantage of better wheel speed sensors and modules to make indirect systems work. Indirect TPMS began making a comeback in 2011 on all Audi models. The highly popular Honda Accord switched to indirect TPMS for the 2013 model year.
There was a time when advancements in brake technology were entirely hardware based. The change from drum to disc brakes, the introduction of semi-metallic and ceramic pads, and the addition of power brakes as standard equipment were all changes achieved by redesigned and improved brake system components. Today, electronics is driving most of the advancements in braking technology.
A new cabin air filter is something many motorists need, but often don’t know it. The cabin air filter (CAF) is not a well-known or well-publicized filter. Close to 90% of late-model cars and trucks now come factory-equipped with a cabin air filter, but the original filters in many of these vehicles have never been changed!
The A/C compressor is a pump that compresses and circulates refrigerant within the A/C system. Some have pistons inside while others have rotating vanes on an eccentric or a pair of metal scrolls or spirals around an eccentric. Many late-model vehicles have “variable displacement” compressors that change the piston stroke to increase or decrease the volume of refrigerant flowing through the system. Some of these run continuously instead of cycling on and off like conventional A/C compressors.
Choosing the “right” camshaft is not only the cornerstone of building a performance engine, but also its centerpiece. Choosing a cam can give anyone a headache – especially if they choose the wrong cam for a given application. There’s a lot of science involved in cam selection, so keep reading and we’ll help you wade through the details.
Nobody would argue with the fact that engine balancing is right up there with “blueprinting” an engine. The goal is to equalize the reciprocating and rotating forces inside the engine so it will run smoother, last longer and achieve its maximum power potential. Although balancing would seem to be most important for high revving performance engines, it can also provide benefits for relatively stock engines, as well as low revving heavy-duty diesel engines.
Mazda has been making big waves in the automotive world with its SKYACTIV technology. Introduced in 2011 in the Japanese market, Mazda’s ultra high-compression, direct injection gasoline engines are achieving fuel economy numbers that rival many hybrids – and at much less cost. These engines include the SKYACTIV-G 1.3L engine in the 2012 Mazda 2, the 2.0L in the 2012 Mazda 3 and 2013 CX-5, and the 2.0L and 2.5L engines in the 2014 Mazda 6 and CX-5.
Overhead cams have been used in many European and Asian engines for years, so when Ford opted to go the overhead cam route with their 4.6L V8 engine, some predicted pushrod engines were on their way out. But, GM stuck with the pushrod design for their LS engines as did Chrysler with their 5.7L and 6.2L Hemi engines. When you add in all the older engines and current aftermarket block/head combinations that still use pushrods and rocker arms, it’s easy to understand why rocker arms and pushrods are still a hot topic for performance engine building.
If ever there was a service opportunity ripe for the taking, Chrysler’s 3.5L SOHC V6 engine (and its 2.7L, 3.2L and 4.0L cousins) is it. This engine was introduced back in 1993 as an “upgrade” from the earlier 3.3L pushrod V6 engine. Some would question whether the move was a step forward or backward because the 3.5L V6 (and its variants) has a poor reputation for reliability. Lubrication issues, oil sludging, coolant leaks, overheating and low-mileage engine failures have plagued this engine family from the get-go.
Variable-assist, variable-rate or variable-effort power steering is used on a growing number of vehicles. Variable assist is a way of providing the best of both worlds: finger-tip parking maneuverability at low speed and reduced assist at higher speeds for greater stability and road feel. As a vehicle’s speed increases, less effort and assist are needed to steer the wheels. Variable-rate steering, by comparison, applies more assist at low speed when it is needed most and reduces assist at higher speeds when it is needed least.