What is All-Wheel Drive?
All-Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicles send power to all four of the wheels. This can be done in a number of ways but the end goal is improved traction and performance for the vehicle. While All-Wheel Drive is a more expensive option and uses more parts (more things that can break), there are some huge benefits. These include:
Better acceleration: With all four wheels putting power down (usually), gaining speed is easier.
More stable acceleration: With the power spread out between two axles there is less wheel-spin and consequently accelerating becomes more consistent.
Better grip in slippery conditions: Whether there is snow on the ground or heavy rain coming down, All-Wheel Drive will make the wheels grip more when accelerating or maintaining speed. All-Wheel Drive also makes the car much less likely to be stuck in mud or snow.
There is a slight distinction to be made between All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive. In the US, in order for a vehicle to be labeled All-Wheel Drive, both axles must be able to receive power and rotate at different speeds simultaneously. If a vehicle has a transfer case, meaning that if both axles are receiving power then they will be forced to spin at the same speed, then it is Four-Wheel Drive, not All-Wheel Drive.
Many modern SUVs and Crossovers use All-Wheel Drive systems that are labeled Four-Wheel Drive. This gives axles the ability to spin at different speeds and has many practical applications, meaning manufacturers often reserve true Four-Wheel Drive for heavy-duty and off-road vehicles. They can be labeled as Four-Wheel Drive because they technically are, allowing all four wheels to drive the vehicle forward. Labeling an All-Wheel Drive drivetrain as Four-Wheel Drive also makes it appear more rugged and seem more like a dedicated off-road vehicle.
How Does All-Wheel Drive Work?
If the vehicle has a center differential, then the arrangement of the drivetrain resembles a Rear-Wheel Drive setup. The engine runs into a transmission and then back to the differential. Usually the engine is longitudinally mounted. Instead of connecting to the rear differential, like in a Rear-Wheel Drive vehicle, the driveshaft connects to the center differential.
A center differential acts just like the differentials in either axle. When one side of the differential is spinning at a different speed than the other, it allows one side to slip and the other side to receive more power. From the center differential, one driveshaft runs straight back to the rear differential while another runs to the front differential. Subaru uses a system that is a variation on this type of All-Wheel Drive. Instead of having a driveshaft go to the front axle, the front differential is built into the transfer case along with the center differential.
If the vehicle does not have a center differential, then the arrangement probably resembles that of a Front-Wheel Drive vehicle. The engine, likely transversely mounted, sends power to a transaxle. Instead of sending all of the power to the set of wheels under the engine, some is also sent to a differential on the opposing axle via a driveshaft extending from the transaxle. This functions similarly to an arrangement with a center differential, except that the transaxle almost always gets more power than the opposing axle. This allows a vehicle to use the All-Wheel Drive only when more traction is needed. This type of system provides improved fuel economy and is generally lighter. The downside is less All-Wheel Drive performance on dry roads.
Different Types of All-Wheel Drive
There are two main types of All-Wheel Drive used in vehicles today:
Full-Time All-Wheel Drive: This type of drivetrain uses three differentials to spread the power effectively between all four wheels. The wheels are all receiving power all of the time in this arrangement. Very well-liked All-Wheel Drive systems that have this arrangement include AudiвЂ™s Quattro All-Wheel Drive and SubaruвЂ™s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Rally racing vehicles and their road-going equivalents use this type of All-Wheel Drive setup almost universally.
Automatic All-Wheel Drive: There is no center differential with this type of All-Wheel Drive. A transaxle powering one set of wheels directly puts most of the power into the front or rear axles while a driveshaft moves power to the differential on the opposing axle. With this type of system, the driver only gets the benefits of All-Wheel Drive in low-traction situations. This setup takes up less space than the alternative and allows the car to run more efficiently when acting as a Front or Rear-Wheel Drive.
Where is All-Wheel Drive Best Used?
Vehicles that see lots of weather: ItвЂ™s easy to see why people living in very snowy or rainy areas would prefer All-Wheel Drive vehicles. They are less likely to get stuck and are more likely to get themselves unstuck if they do. When paired with weather-appropriate tires, All-Wheel Drive is near unstoppable.
Performance applications: Traction is important in high-powered vehicles. Solid traction allows a vehicle to be faster off the line and faster accelerating out of the turns. Every Lamborghini and Bugatti uses All-Wheel Drive. While there is a heightened risk of understeer (front wheels losing traction in a turn), modern engineering makes it largely a non-issue.
What Are The Drawbacks to All-Wheel Drive?
Sending power to both axles makes the vehicle less fuel-efficient. It has to use more power to get all of the wheels turning and more to make the vehicle accelerate.
The handling characteristics are not universally loved. While All-Wheel Drive allows consumers to get some of the best benefits of both Front-Wheel Drive and Rear-Wheel Drive vehicles, it can also exhibit the negative characteristics of both. Some cars may understeer when the front wheels get too much power in the corners while another may get oversteer when the rear wheels get too much. ItвЂ™s really a matter of the driverвЂ™s taste and the particular vehicle.
More parts means more weight. Weight makes the vehicle perform worse and use more fuel. More parts also means more things that can break. On top of the fact that All-Wheel Drive vehicles generally cost more to start with, services and repairs may cost more down the road as well.
Is All-Wheel Drive Right for Me?
For people living in areas with lots of snowfall annually, All-Wheel Drive cars make sense for everyday use. The higher cost and worse fuel economy is worth the ability to go down the road in heavy snow or drive over a snowbank left haphazardly by a plowing truck. In such areas, All-Wheel Drive vehicles also have great resale value.
That said, many traction problems can be solved by season-appropriate tires. Most roads in most places are drivable often enough that All-Wheel Drive is rarely needed. All-Wheel Drive does not improve brake or steering performance in slippery road conditions, so the vehicles using it are not necessarily safer.
- Adjust the vehicle’s steering wheel
- 9 and 3 vs 10 and 2
- Push and pull method
Properly holding the steering wheel of your vehicle is an important safety precaution to observe every time you get behind the wheel. When you complete your driving exam, the administrator will watch your body position while you are behind the wheel of the test vehicle. One aspect that the instructor will be looking for is the proper placement of your hands on the steering wheel. Many drivers often wonder why the way that they hold or use the steering wheel of a vehicle is evaluated during the examination required to obtain a driver’s license. Drivers who use the correct technique to hold the steering wheel of their vehicle are less likely to have an accident and will be able to use their vehicle more efficiently. Statistics show that improper steering wheel techniques are the main cause of crashes when drivers run off the road. Even experienced drivers should be conscious of their posture, body position, and hand placement while driving.
You’re reading one of our “Beginner Driver’s Guide” articles. Need to practice for your upcoming exam? Take our free sample driving test – no registration required! ✨
3 Crucial Tips for Holding Your Steering Wheel
After you seat yourself comfortably in your vehicle and adjust the headrest, seat, and mirrors to suit your height, you should also adjust the vehicle’s steering wheel. Most models allow drivers to move the steering column up or down by using a lever or handle located underneath the steering wheel. Some models also allow drivers to pull the wheel towards them or push it closer to the dashboard.
The top of the wheel should be lower than your shoulders, your arms are relaxed Take a few moments to ensure that all of the vehicle’s available adjustments are customized so that you are in a comfortable position before you begin to drive. You should be able to clearly see both side mirrors and the rearview mirror, rotate from side to side to check your blind spots, and have an unobstructed view through the windshield. As of 2019, federal law now requires that all passenger cars contain rear-view backup cameras to help prevent unwanted accidents. Even with camera-assisted backup, it’s still best to turn your body and look behind you and to both sides before going in reverse.
You may have heard the term “10 and 2 driving”. This refers to the position in which you should hold your hands on the steering wheel (it is most often described in terms of how the placement of your hands relates to numbers on a clock). However, the technique for proper placement of your hands on the steering wheel has changed dramatically over the years. NHTSA now recommends the technique known as “9 and 3”. Place your left hand on the left portion of the steering wheel in a location approximate to where the nine would be if the wheel was a clock. Your right hand should be placed on the right portion of the wheel where the three would be located. These recommendations are quite flexible, but keep in mind that10 and 2 o’clock is no longer recommended because it can be dangerous in vehicles with smaller steering wheels and equipped with airbags.
As you steer your vehicle, you should never take either of your hands off of the steering wheel. The push and pull method of turning the steering wheel allows you to safely rotate the steering wheel while keeping both hands in contact. For example, if you are turning to the right, you will push the steering wheel in a clockwise motion with your left hand while simultaneously pulling the wheel in a clockwise motion with your right hand. Some drivers simply push the wheel with the hand opposite of the direction in which they are turning while allowing the other side of the wheel to slide through the loose grasp of the other hand. It is not acceptable to turn your steering wheel with only the palm of one hand or with your thumbs. The push and pull method should be used for every turn, every time you drive.
Proper placement of your hands on the steering wheel is essential to driving your vehicle safely. Remember to place your hands in the nine and three position at all times while driving. Never drive with only one hand, your fingertips, or, even worse, with your knees. While turning to the left or right, use the push and pull technique to ensure that the steering wheel does not slip out of your hands. Not only will the proper placement of your hands on your vehicle’s steering wheel help you pass your driving exam, but it will also contribute to your overall safety while on the road.
Sami Sarkis / Getty Images
If your steering wheel is locked, you won’t be able to start your car: either your ignition switch won’t turn or, if your car has a start-stop button, you’ll see a warning light about the steering lock.
Fortunately, it’s easy enough to unlock your steering wheel and get your car started with the following simple steps.
Cars With an Ignition Cylinder
The steering wheel lock is directly connected to the ignition cylinder. To unlock your steering wheel, use your left hand to wiggle the steering wheel left and right with significant force. At the same time, use your right hand to turn the ignition key from the LOCK position to the ACC (accessory) or START position.
Cars With a Start Button
The steering wheel lock is essentially an electronic deadbolt. Wiggle the steering wheel with your left hand, using significant force. At the same time, use your right hand to tap the start-stop button. Do not step on the brake. These steps should put your ignition in ACC mode and unlock your steering wheel without starting the engine.
The steering wheel lock can wear out, break, or glitch in other ways. On vehicles with an ignition cylinder, try spray lubricant or a different key. If the ignition cylinder is worn or broken, replacement might be necessary. On push-button start vehicles, check that the key fob battery is good, or try a different fob. If you still can’t unlock your steering wheel, you may have an electrical or electronic problem.
The best way to prevent a locked steering wheel is to steer the wheel where you want it, rest the vehicle on the parking brake, release the steering wheel, put the transmission in PARK, and shut off the engine. Then, don’t touch the steering wheel until you’re ready to start the engine again.
Causes of a Locked Steering Wheel
Most of the time, a locked steering wheel does not mean there’s a problem with your vehicle, but simply that you have engaged one of its safety features. The lock only activates if the vehicle is turned off and you turn the wheel a few degrees left or right, at which point the lock will engage with one of the lock slots, preventing it from moving any further.
There are two good reasons for the steering wheel lock to engage. First, it’s an anti-theft device: if someone breaks into your car, the steering wheel will be locked in one direction. Second, it’s a safety device: when you park on a hill and turn your wheels toward the curb, the locked steering wheel will keep the vehicle from steering down the hill in the event that the parking break fails.
Whether you plan to hit the road for weeks at a time or just take the kids on a road trip, you need some gear for your car.
I lived in a van for five years, which is quite a long time. In fact, I lived in that thing for longer than I’ve lived in any other place since leaving my childhood home. Strangely, I found moving out of a van to be more stressful than moving into one. I was afraid I was going to miss the freedom that comes with having everything travel-ready in my own little turtle shell. The moment I got a normal-person car, I got to work figuring out how to be able to use it as a mini camper-van.
Now, we’re not talking about doing a full, permanent conversion here. I was moving to LA, and my car’s primary duty would be getting me around the city. But I wanted to develop a system that would make it killer for road trips and backcountry camping—a vehicle that, like my van, I could just park, pull up my shades, and go to sleep. In fact, I was hoping that it would be able to take me places my van couldn’t get to. It turns out there are many products out there for that exact purpose. There’s a ton to choose from, so I went deep down the research rabbit hole and have been testing gear.
If you want to hit the road this summer, I have some rock-solid recommendations for you, and a few tips and tricks along the way, too.
The Gear You Need for Your Car
Experience Next-Level Sound
Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking provides theater-like sound that surrounds you
You do not need to run out and get a new car for this. It’s entirely possible that the car you already own will work pretty well for this purpose. The one big thing you’re going to want is back seats that fold down as flat as possible, because that’s going to be your bed. Aside from that, more space generally means more comfort, but really the most important question is: What kind of camping to you want to do? Breaking that down a little, you need to think about the places you want to be able to go, and the type of climate and roads you’re likely to encounter.
For me, I knew that I wanted to be able to do some winter camping, ideally near ski resorts, so I had to have something with all-wheel drive. I wanted to be able to get out on dirt trails, but because it’s my day-in-day out car I didn’t want something that’s difficult to park in cities, or that was super lifted or with gigantic tires that would kill my MPG. I went with a Honda CR-V. It checked all of my boxes. I wouldn’t be able to go rock-crawling on the Rubicon Trail or anything, but it has all-wheel drive so it should pretty well cover me for most of the dirt roads I want to take on. Critically, the back seat folds down extremely flat. For most people looking for a normal car that can also double as a camper I recommend something in this crossover (i.e. something between a sedan and SUV) category. In addition to the Honda CR-V, that would include vehicles like the Subaru Outback, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Tesla Model X, and others of that ilk.
Tires: Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail ($175/ea)
G/O Media may get a commission
Did you get a crossover? Cool. Now take the tires off of it and make them into swings or something, because I can pretty much guarantee you that the tires that came stock with your car suck. Well, they might be fine for dry highways, but if you’re wanting to try them on dirty or snowy roads then you’re really going to need something better. A lot of people will simply slap some all-terrain tires that are designed for pickup trucks onto their crossovers and call it good, but there may be a steep price for doing that. Crossovers aren’t designed for wheels that heavy, and putting them on may cause some serious strain and potentially do major damage. Also, pickup trucks and larger SUVs are constructed in two pieces: a body on top of a frame. Crossovers are a unibody design, more like a standard sedan, just with more capacity and a higher center of gravity. As a result, crossovers handle quite differently, and really should have a tire designed for their unique characteristics.
This is why the first thing I got for my CR-V was a set of Falken Wildpeak A/T Trail tires . They are, as far as I know, the first and only all-terrain tire built specifically for crossovers. Somehow, they do everything really well. They’re lightweight for a crossover’s drivetrain, and you get solid fuel economy on the highway, but they are USTMA-rated for Severe Snow and perform almost as well as a dedicated snow-tire. This winter I drove on some very steep, very icy roads in Yosemite and the Angeles National Forest. Pickup trucks with 4WD were pulling over to put chains on, and others were spinning tires and fishtailing badly. My car acted like it was glued down and didn’t slip once. It was truly impressive.
If you do have a larger vehicle that can take heavier tires, I’ve had good luck in the past with BF Goodrich All-Terrain K02 tires. They have excellent grip for off-road but are surprisingly quiet on the highway. These are what I ran on the Sprinter van I lived in (which took light truck tires), and they got me out of more than one pickle on bad roads.
Chains: Security Chain Super Z6 (price varies, but $90 for two)
Some winter roads require you to at least carry snow chains on your vehicle. If you are stopped and don’t have them, you’re looking at a steep ticket at the very least and will likely be turned back. Because I got the aforementioned Falken tires, I didn’t actually have to use my chains at all this winter, but I did pass through several checkpoints with rangers ensuring that I had them. I went with the Super Z6 tire cables . They are much, muuuch easier to install than traditional chains. You don’t have to move your car midway through, thanks to the bungee like system. They’re also a lot quieter while driving. If you have an AWD or 4WD car, make sure you have a chain for all four tires, and make sure you’ve practiced installing and removing them before you head out (YouTube is your friend) so you aren’t learning while you’re freezing on the side of a dangerous road. Also, make sure you get the right size for your specific tires.
Learn how to avoid trouble on the road
AARP, September 3, 2013
Skids happen when the tires lose their grip on the road. Skids can be caused by these driver errors.
- Managing Challenging Road Conditions
- Antilock Brakes — Know How They Work
- AARP Driving Resource Center
- Overbraking: Braking too hard and locking up the wheels. Skids can also occur when the road is slippery.
- Oversteering: Turning the wheels more sharply than the vehicle can turn.
- Overaccelerating: Supplying too much power to drive the wheels, causing them to spin.
- Driving too fast: Most serious skids result from driving too fast for road conditions. Drivers who adjust their driving to conditions do not overaccelerate and do not have to overbrake or oversteer from too much speed.
One of the best ways to avoid trouble (not just skids) on the road is to drive smoothly. Plan ahead, watch carefully and slow down, especially if you are unfamiliar with the road. Most skids occur when conditions are slippery.
If you find yourself in a skid, take your feet off the pedals. Stop braking and stop accelerating. Then, quickly turn the steering wheel in the direction you want to go. As your vehicle turns back in the correct direction, you will probably then need to steer in the opposite direction to stop the turning and stay on your desired path.
My home internet has a habit of dying. Sometimes I need to work on the go. Both situations point to one solution: work from the car. It’s actually pretty easy to get work done from your car, just as you would at home or in the office, if you acquire a few tools and prepare in advance. Here’s how to do it.
Get Car-Friendly Cables and Power Adapters
Presumably you’re using a laptop to get your work done, and laptops—as well as your other devices—require power. As you know, cars generally don’t provide standard outlets so you’re going to need adapters. USB power adapters are easy enough to come by, but charging your laptop may prove to be a little more difficult as the power cable’s size and requirements will vary. Here are options for Dell , Sony , Toshiba , HP , Apple , and other laptops. Just make sure the adapter works for your laptop and you should be good to go for about $25-30. Alternateively, you can go a somewhat easier route and just add standard outlets to your car .
Free Apple Subscriptions
Spend nothing, get ‘Ted Lasso’
Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple Fitness+, and Apple News are all free for new subscribers for up to six months.
Either way, it’s important to remember that your car’s battery doesn’t last forever either. If you’re plugged in too long you can drain it. That said, you don’t want to leave your car idling just for power. That’ll waste gas and isn’t great for the environment. Instead, just be sure to start your car every hour or so and let it run for a few minutes. Hopefully you won’t spend hours working out of your car, but if you have to be sure you don’t end up stranded because you let the battery die.
Enable Tethered Internet Access via Your Smartphone (or Park Near a Coffee Shop)
If you’re already paying for a smartphone data plan, put it to good use by tethering it to your computer. Making your phone act like a mobile hotspot is one of the best options. While you can pay your carrier $20 a month for this privilege, you can also just buy PDANet (
$16) and avoid the monthly fee. PDANet is available for most smartphones and works out of the box, although iPhone users will need to jailbreak . Once you’ve got it installed, you can create a mobile hotspot with your phone and get online wherever you can find reception.
How to Jailbreak Your iPhone: The Always Up-to-Date Guide [iOS 9]
Jailbreaking is a process that changes little by little with each iOS upgrade. Rather than always…
Alternatively, park near a coffee shop, a friend’s house, or somewhere else you can borrow some Wi-Fi. If you have this option and can actually go work inside, you’ll probably opt for that rather than sitting in your car. If you need privacy, the free Wi-Fi location doesn’t offer power, or you don’t feel like buying something to earn the privilege of working within the shop, a car makes more sense.
Use Your Tablet as a Second Display
Working from a laptop in your car means limited screen space, which can be a good thing ! If you’d prefer a little extra room, however, you can extend your desktop with the help of a tablet. Air Display can create a second wireless monitor for your laptop with an app for iOS or Android. It isn’t perfect—you’ll experience lag because it’s over the network—but it’s better than nothing. You also won’t be able to use it if your devices aren’t on a network, but if you’re using your smartphone as a mobile hotspot that shouldn’t be a problem.
How to Make the Most Out of Limited Screen Space (and Even Work Better)
We’re not all blessed with grids of monitors that seem to provide endless desktop real estate, and…
Don’t Work from the Driver’s Seat (and Other Comfort Tips)
When you’re working in a car, nothing will get in your way more than the steering wheel. You need to sit somewhere else. But just moving won’t be enough to keep you comfortable. You’ll also want to push the passenger’s seat as far back as it’ll go or sit in the back if that provides more space. One way to gain even more space in the back is to push the passenger’s seat as far forward as it’ll go and sit in the back-right portion of the car. You can also improve your comfort by using a lapdesk. (I like this one .) Sometimes keeping your laptop low on your lap can make it difficult to push its display into the optimal position because it comes in contact with some other part of the car. Raising it up on your lap can help. It’s also more comfortable to work on a lapdesk in many situations, so keeping one in your car can be doubly useful.
Got any other tricks for working better from your car? Share ’em in the comments!
This is one instance you don’t want to channel Angus “Mac” MacGyver.
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
So you want to know how to start a car with a dead battery without another car? Well, fine sir or madame, hold your horses. Unless your car has a manual transmission, you’re dreaming the impossible dream. While jump-starting a car is a simple skill, you’ll need a back-up plan for when you’re out in the sticks with no cables, no jump box, and not another human/car in sight.
Some MacGyvers in the audience may swear the battery-on-battery method (don’t ask) is perfectly safe, but if your automatic-transmission car’s battery is dead, and you’re without jumper cables, you’ve got two options: grab the portable jump-starter you’ve got stowed in your car, or call a tow truck or the AAA for battery service.
But let’s say you’ve got a standard-shift and you’re game to push-start your car. We’re going to show you how to do it safely, and give you some other options just in case it’s not your battery that’s the problem after all. To get you back on the road and roaring off into the sunset, The Drive’s crack How-To team is here to help you jump start your car without another car, when at all possible. Got your running shoes on?
Estimated Time Needed: 30 minutes
Skill Level: Intermediate
Vehicle System: Electrical
If you own a motor vehicle and live in the United States, you’ve probably received a robocall about extending your warranty. Or many calls: Auto warranties are now far and away the most common subject of phone scams, according to call-blocking service RoboKiller.
The company estimates that crooks placed nearly 13 billion such calls in 2021, accounting for 18 percent of all scam calls. AARP’s October 2021 National Fraud Frontiers study found that 7 in 10 U.S. adults had encountered a car warranty scam in the previous 12 months.
“It’s statistically possible that every American with a smartphone will receive more than one of these calls during any given year,” RoboKiller says in its year-end phone scam report.
Auto warranty scammers try to take advantage of vehicle owners’ fears that, someday, they’ll have to pay a lot of money to replace a broken or worn-out part. If you answer one of their calls, you’ll typically hear a recorded voice claiming to represent an automaker or dealer and warning that the coverage you got when you bought the vehicle is about to expire.
Have you seen this scam?
- Call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline: 877-908-3360
- Report it on AARP’s Scam-Tracking Map
Sign up for Watchdog Alerts for more tips on avoiding scams.
You’ll be instructed to press a certain key on your phone to extend your coverage. This will likely connect you to a live “salesperson” who tries to get your payment information to draw up a contract.
The call isn’t really from your vehicle’s manufacturer or the dealership where you purchased it, and the “extended warranty” being offered isn’t a warranty at all. It’s a service contract that may cost thousands of dollars but provide only limited coverage (for example, for only part of the engine) — restrictions frequently buried in the fine print.
The person on the phone will often know details such as the make and model of your vehicle, which can make the pitch sound plausible. Such information is public and can be obtained from state motor vehicle records or purchased from data-collection companies.
Numerous as they are, scam calls aren’t the only way con artists try to get vehicle owners to pay up or provide personal information. Some mail out fake warranty expiration notices, designed to look as if they were sent by manufacturers or state motor vehicle bureaus, with a toll-free number for auto owners to call.
There are legitimate service contracts that can help if you’re worried about being able to afford major repairs on an aging car. Look at brand-name providers with long track records, such as your car’s manufacturer or the American Automobile Association, better known as the AAA.
Make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered, and how claims are reimbursed, before you buy. If you are interested in a plan, approach the provider directly. Any unsolicited warranty offer is almost certainly a scam.
Steering A Car Video Lesson
Fallback content for browsers that don’t support either video or flash goes here.
On your driving test, when steering a car, the examiner will expect you to:
- Hold the steering wheel at either the ten-to-two or quarter-to-three position.
- Steer smoothly and at the correct time.
- Avoid crossing your hands over one another when turning.
- Avoid letting the wheel spin back through your hands when straightening up.
- Avoid weaving in and out between parked cars.
- Obey lane markings.
You must keep both hands on the steering wheel all the time the car is moving unless operating another hand control or giving a signal. You should never take both hands off the wheel while the vehicle is moving.
To steer a straight course, look well ahead – you will always tend to go where you are looking. You must be able to operate the main controls without looking at them and away from the road. Looking down to locate any such controls will result in the vehicle wandering from side to side.
Pull Push Steering
To turn the car, you should use the ‘push-pull’ method. This means feeding the steering wheel through your hands so that one hand remains gripping the wheel. For example, to turn right, pull the steering wheel downwards with your right hand, and at the same time, slide your left hand down the rim so that both hands end up at the same height on the wheel. Then change the grip to your left hand and push the wheel further round, at the same time allowing your right hand to slide up the rim of the wheel. You may need to repeat these steps according to the angle through which the front wheels need to turn.
Turning the steering wheel when the car isn’t moving is called dry steering. This is something you should try and avoid as it puts undue strain on the steering mechanism and causes premature wear to the front tyres. If carrying out a low speed manoeuvre, such as turning in the road, you should get the car moving before you start to steer.
When you turn the steering wheel as far as it will go it is at full lock. This is the maximum angle the front wheels will reach. On full lock the car’s turning circle is at it’s smallest.
When removing a hand from the steering wheel to operate other controls such as the radio, always make sure you are steering straight ahead, as steering around a bend with only one hand on the wheel makes it much more difficult to accurately steer the car.
Power-Assisted Steering (PAS)
Nearly all cars have PAS fitted as standard. It makes steering a car much easier as less physical effort is needed to turn the steering wheel. It is especially useful when manoeuvring a car at low speeds, so it is a great help when parking in tight spaces, etc.
Earlier this year, I was awarded a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant to spend four months driving around the United States documenting nocturnal culture with my partner and collaborator, Kevin Weidner (who helped me write this piece), and our two dogs (check out my piece on late-night Vegas).
Because the grant mostly covered fuel and food, and because we needed to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time, one of our first tasks was to figure out a reliable sleeping situation that would be both efficient and cost-effective.
Finding a place to camp, for free, or nearly free, every day seemed a daunting task that was bound to set us off course. And since we’d be driving and working at night and sleeping mostly during daylight hours, campground and hotel checkout times wouldn’t work for us.
We researched our options. Staying with friends would work in some cases, but would require advance planning. We couldn’t afford to rent an RV, so we had to make the most of the vehicle we had. Towing a trailer would be ideal, but what if we needed to go on a rough road or up a steep mountain? And what about the gas mileage we’d be sacrificing for the extra comfort?
Then we found a solution that seemed perfect: we would turn our 2008 Honda CR-V into a camper.
The simplest way to explain the process is that we built a table. An ugly table, made of plywood and two-by-fours, that fit in the back of the car. A table under which we could store all our stuff, and on top of which we could sleep, for free, almost anywhere.
After three months, 15,000 miles, 31 states, and sleeping through about 60 summer mornings in the car-bed we built ourselves, we can tell you this: it was pretty great. Challenging, yes, and sometimes frustrating, but worth it.
We could park the car — at once bedroom, office, tripod, living room, and kitchen — set up the bed, and be asleep within 10 minutes. We woke in parking lots and trailheads and tiny rest areas, atop a mountain in New Mexico, beside a blue lake in California, and about 100 meters from a Dunkin’ Donuts in Maine.
If you’re interested in following suit by turning your own SUV into a camper, here are the basics:
1. Preparation. We first removed the back seats. For our car, we removed a total of eight bolts and the seats were free, but you may consider having a professional help you out.
After removing the seats, we cleaned the inside of the car and cut a tarp to spread under where the sleeping platform would sit. Traveling with two big dogs, we knew the ability to remove the tarp and shake it out without having to move the whole platform would be a big plus.
2. Design. We began by looking around online (search “SUV + sleeping platform” and see what you find) and cobbled together a design based on our particular needs and wants. Because we wanted to maximize our gas mileage (and because our carpentry skills are pretty basic), we were looking for a simple, lightweight design that would be easy to set up, and outfitted with compartments to help us stay organized on the road.
3. Supplies. Our final design required sheets of ¾-inch plywood, two-by-fours, hinges, screws, cabinet-lid stays, carpet, staples, D rings — all of which cost us about $150 at the hardware store. We had some tools and borrowed the rest from kind friends: a drill, table and miter saws, and a staple gun.
4. Construction. It took us about six hours to complete our project. Knowing what you’ll need and being prepared pays off. That, and having a couple good friends who happen to be woodworking geniuses there to help guide you through the process (okay, we were really lucky that way).
Here’s what we came up with: Our design featured a main storage compartment (accessible from the back of the vehicle), a top-loading hatch compartment, and a bed extension that flipped up when the front seats were pushed forward. The total storage area under the platform was 40” wide, 58” long, and 14” tall. The sleeping space, with the extension, was a little over 40” wide and 74” long.
5. Security. We attached D-rings to the underside of the platform and used a ratcheted tie-down to secure it to the cargo area of the CR-V.
6. Outfitting. We had a futon mattress that happened to fit perfectly. It was thick enough to be comfortable, yet thin enough to fold in half so we could access the hatch compartment. Other options include inflatable or foam camping pads, or a foam mattress from a military surplus store.
Along with doing dumb things with old cars , I also sometimes like to do dumb things with old computers and video games. Occasionally, I can convince someone to let me parade these things out in front of a lot of people. That’s why the Indianapolis Museum of Art will let you play Pole Position with an actual car this summer. Let me explain.
I Had The Slowest Car At The Ultimate Street Car Competition
You know the expression “taking a knife to a gunfight?” This was beyond that. Entering my 1973 VW…
The Indianapolis Museum of Art has an exhibition called Dream Cars coming this summer that looks to be fantastic, and I’ll be doing a few events in conjunction with that — a lecture, some workshops teaching how to hotwire a car and/or break out of a car trunk, and, most excitingly, an installation that will go in the museum’s large outdoor amphitheater: a massive screen playing an authentic 80s-era 8-bit home computer version of Pole Position that you control by sitting inside an actual car, and using the car’s actual controls to play the game.
I’m including the proposal page I sent here so you can see generally what I mean. I’ve sort of done the opposite before, making a video game controller from some car parts , but this is the first time I’m turning a whole car into a controller.
Top up your tires before you drive
Don’t risk heading out on the road with tires that are less than perfect. This digital tire inflator gives you an accurate read of your PSI, and lets you top up your tires from home.
How To Turn Old Car Parts Into A Video Game Controller
When I introduced Car Hacks last week, I mentioned that cars can be thought of as huge rolling…
Now, one of my big interests in doing this kind of work is using original, archaic hardware. Sure, this could all be done incredibly realistically with modern computers and accelerometers and stuff, but I’m not interested in that. I want to wildly aggrandize the crappy, the lo-fi, the blocky, blurry, pixellated glory of these bygone eras in our culture. That’s why I love the idea of blowing up that old 160×192 pixel screen to a colossal 45 feet in height — which will make each pixel about the size of a business card.
And the idea of filling your entire view out an actual car’s windshield with that pixellated driving landscape, that seems to me like it would be a lot of fun. It would be the opposite goal of a modern driving simulator, where a computer is trying to make you believe you’re driving in reality — I want you to feel like you’re immersed and driving in the limited world of an 80s (technically, late ‘70s) Atari computer.
So that’s what I want to do — now I need to figure out how. The good news is that the how really isn’t all that complicated. In fact, I did my first proof-of-concept test today to see how it’ll all work, using my Beetle as the controller for the game. Here’s how I did it.
First, you need to break down exactly what you need the car to control. These old 80s home driving games were really quite simple, and the inputs you can give the car are just steer left, steer right, brake, shift high, shift low. That’s it.
And, on these Atari versions, the game was usually played with a simple digital joystick. So all I need to do is to remap the on/off switches of that joystick onto a car’s actual driving controls.
Today’s test was for the most complex part: the steering. The brake I’ll just wire up as a contact button under the pedals, and I’ll do some simple throw switch connected to the shifter for the high/low controls — I have a small switch wired up for that now. But for steering, I want the player to use the actual wheel, and it has to feel like a normal car wheel — so how do I turn that into an on/off contact?
The answer is that I make a really, really crude and crappy version of a Wiimote. Essentially, I’m wiring up a pair of simple tilt sensors — well, really switches, since all they can sense is Tilt or Not Tilt. I wanted to use mercury switches from old thermostats for this, until I realized thermostats haven’t used them for years and years. Oops. I guess people don’t like mercury as much as I thought.
Instead, I used simple tilt switches, which are basically tiny balls in tiny cans. Tilt one way, contact is made; tilt another, it’s broken. Easy!
So, I just need to mount the tilt switches to the steering wheel, connect the contacts for the brake and shifter, and get all those on/off inputs into the computer. I’m doing that part via this breakout box I made from an old relic of Atari’s educational ambitions: the AtariLab system.
AtariLab was a product Atari sold to schools to let kids use Atari computers for science experiments. These products came with a little interface box to connect to the Atari computer’s game port, and would let you connect thermometers and light sensors and stuff.
I found that with a little bit of rewiring of these boxes, you can turn them into a basic controller port breakout box, giving easy and direct access to all the pins on the port. So, I have a common ground and wires from all the individual controls. It’s really remarkably crude and simple, but the result feels much more involved than it has any right to.
So, today, I quickly and sloppily wired up the system into my car — specifically the steering controls, which is what I most wanted to test, laid a monitor on my windshield, and gave it a go:
. and, look at that, it works! It needs some position and sensitivity tweaking, sure, and, of course, on the actual installation in the amphitheater, I’ll be hiding the wires and control box and computer in whatever car we end up using there, but, like I said, this was just the first test.
I think it’s already pretty fun. I’m hopeful that when that screen image fills up your entire field of vision outside the windshield, and you’re cranking that wheel to avoid the blocky cars and the oddly blank billboards, this should be a pretty fun and engaging experience. We’ll find out, I guess!
The exhibition opens May 1, and my Pole Position installation will likely go up a bit later in the summer — July or August or so. I’ll keep everyone updated.
Be honest: Do you get sweaty palms just thinking about parallel parking?
You’re not alone. Many drivers feel pressure when faced with squeezing their car between two others to parallel park. But that doesn’t mean it’s difficult, says Joe Giammona, the CEO of 911 Driving Schools, where police officers and first responders teach this maneuver, along with other basics. “It’s just a matter of learning how to do it right,” he says. So consider this your crash course on how to parallel park correctly—every time.
- Find a Parking Spot
- Signal and Assume the Position
- Check Your Surroundings
- Start Reversing and Turn the Wheel
- Straighten Out and Turn the Wheel the Other Way
- Straighten and Align
- Admire Your Work
How To Parallel Park
Step 1: Find the right parking spot.
Don’t try to parallel park in the first spot you see. Giammona suggests looking for something that’s roughly one-and-a-half times the length of your vehicle.
As you approach a space, he says, remember this handy acronym: MSMOG. Check Mirrors, turn on the right Signal, check Mirrors again, look Over your right shoulder, and Go when safe. Then pull up next to the car you’re going to parallel park behind, keeping a safe distance (two to three feet away) from its side.
Step 2: Put it in reverse.
Before you start moving, get into the proper backing position for parallel parking. For Giammona, that means sitting up tall and turning your shoulders 90 degrees from the back of your seat.
Next, reverse slowly until the middle of your car lines up with the other car’s rear bumper. If another car approaches from the rear, Giammona recommends remaining in position with your signal on and your car in reverse. “That way, the driver approaching knows your intention,” he says.
Step 3: Head toward the curb.
When the coast is clear, cut the steering wheel sharply toward the curb to approach at a
45-degree angle; continue until you can see the headlights of the car behind you in the driver’s-side wing mirror.
For most cars, when the passenger’s-side wing mirror is in line with the rear bumper of the car in front of you, that’s your cue to turn your wheels back the other way. Continue backing until your vehicle is aligned with the cars at either end, and parallel to the curb or road edge.
Step 4: Straighten and align.
Always center your car between the two other vehicles, as it “allows both cars room to exit the spaces,” says Giammona. Though proper distance from the curb varies by state, typically your car should be between 12 and 18 inches from the curb, he says.
If your right rear wheel taps the curb, most of the time you can put the vehicle in drive, turn the wheels all the way to the right and move forward until the vehicle is parallel, says Giammona. Then do one last check on your distance from the curb.
Happy parallel parking.
Do you often have trouble finding parking? Check out the GEICO Mobile app’s Parking Garage Locator feature, and download GEICO Mobile for free from the App Store or Google Play.
Next: Parking can be a stressful part of driving, but it doesn’t have to be. Read more to find out how to handle stressful driving situations.
By Danielle Blundell
Stranded On The Highway? Safety Patrols Sponsored By GEICO Can Help
5 Tips For Defensive Driving
7 Bad Driving Habits That May Also Be Illegal
What Not To Wear … While Driving
Plan Ahead To Avoid Drinking And Driving
6 Safety Tips For Driving In Fog
Leave a comment (cancel reply)
This is good, simple guidance for parallel parking. Especially useful, is your instruction to signal and to start the maneuver with the vehicle rear partially overlapping the space. Negligent driver training has made many drivers ignorant of proper technique, and far too many try to nose into parallel spaces, with no regard for spacing after parking.
I once attempted to park using the old method: signal, creep alongside the space to check length, creep up alongside the car in front, rear bumpers aligned, shift into reverse, tap horn, look and start moving–and some young driver, ignoring turn light, backup lights, and horn, darted nose first halfway into the space. I had to set her straight by setting the parking brake, shifting to neutral, dismounting so she could she the uniform, department patches, and war belt. I told her if she didn’t move, she had a ticket coming, since she knew I was parking. She moved.
Your advice for partial overlap is really good for today’s shorter vehicles. It makes a bigger clue for careless or ignorant or selfish, hazardous vehicle aimers.
Your paralell parking park was very precise.
I wish to drive a car and parking
Louise Paolillo says,
Drivers need good, smart and sensible tips. I have seen to many senseless acts of stupidity.
Stop rushing around we all want to arrive safely.
Gail DeGruy-Rhodes says,
Excellent articles to simply remind drivers who oftentimes drive on “automatic.” Defensive driving on whether on street, freeway, or highway, can save you the aggravation as well as injury or your life and that of others.
Donna Glanschneg says,
Thanks for info, especially about the round a bout !
Patricia Sadler says,
Thank you! Helpful reminders always help and are appreciated. The parallel parking is easier said than done.
donna lovins says,
I loved all the info thanks so much
Delmi Yates says,
Excellent videos thanks for taking your time teaching us how to drive and park.
Barbara Labbe says,
Thank you I am so pleased that you are providing this service for your insured drivers this demonstration was most helpful.
Barbara J Trueheart says,
Thanks for the reminders to parallel parking.
DId I really just watch this video of you showing a driver to cross their arms while turning…. Bad mojo, wht if they accidently tap the other cars bumper and the air bag goes off? Both arms could be broken and smashed into the face. Shame on you Geico for showing what not to do.
Gasoline-powered cars. They are perhaps the most inefficient device that many of us use daily. We really should all be driving electric vehicles (or none at all). The internal combustion engine is inefficient in term of pollution, gas costs and maintenance costs. But, as you may have heard, there are no electric vehicles available today that resemble conventional cars or trucks. Companies like Phoenix Motorcars, Tesla, Commuter Cars and Miles Automotive Group are coming close, but you still can’t plunk down some cash and buy an electric car from them today.
Purchasing Electric Vehicles
The only type of electric cars that can be purchased are NEVs (Neighbor Electric Vehicles), which usually have a top speed of about 25 MPH. But wait — there are still a couple ways to acquire a working electric car right now. One option is to buy a used vehicle that somebody else has converted to an electric vehicle. You can search for used electric vehicles on sites like Craig’s List, eBay, or EVFinder.
But these used electric cars are certainly limited in their availability, especially if you don’t live on the West Coast. So may wish to take a plunge and do an electric conversion yourself.
Basically, electric conversion involves removing the entire internal combustion engine from a vehicle, installing an electric motor in its place, and also adding a large bank of batteries. A conversion will cost you about $6000 in parts, and about $1000-$3000 for batteries and installation. But, for all this expense, you’ll get a zero-emissions vehicle that costs only a few cents per mile to run. Your electric car will also be more reliable and require much less maintenance that a conventional one. Remember that gas-powered cars cost the owner about $1800 per year on average for fuel costs alone, and there is the addition expense of engine maintenance and oil changes. Electric cars have a better resell values, and are more reliable overall because there are fewer parts to fail. Most of the components are solid-state electronics with no moving parts. The engine of an electric car has a virtually infinite lifespan — the components will probably outlast the chassis. The only real expense is the batteries, which will need to be replaced about every 3 to 4 years. You can expect your converted vehicle to have a range of 60-80 miles, a top speed of 50-90 MPH, and good acceleration capabilities. It will take about 6-12 hours to completely recharge the car. All of these factors will vary, based on the weight of the car you convert, and the type of engine and batteries you install.
Best Types of Cars to Convert
So, what type of car is the best candidate for an electric conversion? A light car (2000-3000 lbs. curb weight) with a manual transmission. You want a light vehicle because heavy ones severely restrict the range of the electric engine. Automatic transmissions use up too much power because they require the engine to be constantly idling. As far as body style, you need something that can hold all the batteries you’ll be installing. Experts recommend a car that is light and roomy like a Rabbit, Civic, Sentra, Escort or light pickup truck. The ideal donor car has a good body and interior, sound transmission, but a dead engine.
For electric cars, the best type of driving is an area that is not too hilly and not too cold. Hills obviously put a larger burden on the engine, and thus reduce its range. Cold weather will also reduce performance, but there are many happy electric car owners who live in Canada and Alaska.
There are two types of electric conversions kits available: custom kits that are tailored to a specific vehicles models, and universal kits that can be installed in a variety of vehicles. Universal kits contain all the essential drive-system components but rely on the builder to create custom parts like battery racks or boxes. Custom kits include the entire drive system and battery racks and boxes, customized to suit a particular model. For example, a company called Canadian Electric Vehicles provides kits to convert Chevy S10 trucks, Geo Metros and Dodge Neons.
Learn more about electric conversions at the DIY Electric Car forums.
The Video Course teaches you everything about modern cars.
The steering system converts the rotation of the steering wheel into a swivelling movement of the road wheels in such a way that the steering-wheel rim turns a long way to move the road wheels a short way.
The system allows a driver to use only light forces to steer a heavy car. The rim of a 15 in. (380 mm) diameter steering wheel moving four turns from full left lock to full right lock travels nearly 16 ft (5 m), while the edge of a road wheel moves a distance of only slightly more than 12 in. (300 mm). If the driver swivelled the road wheel directly, he or she would have to push nearly 16 times as hard.
The steering effort passes to the wheels through a system of pivoted joints. These are designed to allow the wheels to move up and down with the suspension without changing the steering angle.
They also ensure that when cornering, the inner front wheel – which has to travel round a tighter curve than the outer one – becomes more sharply angled.
The joints must be adjusted very precisely, and even a little looseness in them makes the steering dangerously sloppy and inaccurate.
There are two steering systems in common use – the rack and pinion and the steering box.
On large cars, either system may be power assisted to reduce further the effort needed to move it, especially when the car is moving slowly.
The rack-and-pinion system
At the base of the steering column there is a small pinion ( gear wheel) inside a housing. Its teeth mesh with a straight row of teeth on a rack – a long transverse bar.
Turning the pinion makes the rack move from side to side. The ends of the rack are coupled to the road wheels by track rods.
This system is simple, with few moving parts to become worn or displaced, so its action is precise.
A universal joint in the steering column allows it to connect with the rack without angling the steering wheel awkwardly sideways.
The steering-box system
At the base of the steering column there is a worm gear inside a box. A worm is a threaded cylinder like a short bolt. Imagine turning a bolt which holding a nut on it; the nut would move along the bolt. In the same way, turning the worm moves anything fitted into its thread.
Depending on the design, the moving part may be a sector (like a slice of a gear wheel), a peg or a roller connected to a fork, or a large nut.
The nut system has hardened balls running inside the thread between the worm and the nut. As the nut moves, the balls roll out into a tube that takes them back to the start; it is called a recirculating-ball system.
The worm moves a drop arm linked by a track rod to a steering arm that moves the nearest front wheel.
A central track rod reaches to the other side of the car, where it is linked to the other front wheel by another track rod and steering arm. A pivoted idler arm holds the far end of the central track rod level. Arm layouts vary.
The steering-box system has many moving parts, so is less precise than the rack system, there being more room for wear and displacement .
On a heavy car, either the steering is heavy or it is inconveniently low geared – the steering wheel requiring many turns from lock to lock.
Heavy gearing can be troublesome when parking in confined spaces. Power-assisted steering overcomes the problem. The engine drives a pump that supplies oil under high pressure to the rack or the steering box.
Valves in the steering rack or box open whenever the driver turns the wheel, allowing oil into the cylinder. The oil works a piston that helps to push the steering in the appropriate direction.
As soon as the driver stops turning the wheel, the valve shuts and the pushing action of the piston stops.
The power only assists the steering – the steering wheel is still linked to the road wheels in the usual way.
If you can never remember where you parked your car, check out these apps to keep track.
Having trouble remembering where you parked your car? With the right smartphone app, you can mark where you parked your car and quickly locate it again.
Google Maps allows you to record the location of your car; iPhone users with CarPlay or Bluetooth in their vehicles can also use Apple Maps. Or find a variety of apps across app stores by searching “find my car.” Let’s check them out.
Google Maps (iOS and Android)
You can call on Google Maps to help find your car, whether you have an iPhone or Android phone, though some of the steps differ slightly between iOS and Android. After you’ve parked your car, open Google Maps on your phone.
On an Android phone, tap the blue pin that represents your current location and parking spot. Select the Save your parking option, then tap the option at the bottom for More Info. You can now enter notes with more details about your location.
Tap the Add Photos button to snap a photo of your surroundings. In the Time left area, select a specific number of hours and/or minutes, which can be helpful if you’re parked at a meter. You can also tap Share if you want to share your location with someone else.
On an iPhone, tap the blue pin for your current location and select Set as parking location. Press down on the blue pin until you see a section at the bottom for Dropped pin. Swipe up on that section to see more details about it.
Now it’s time to find your parked car. On an Android phone or iPhone, tap the blue pin for your parking spot. Tap Directions and then tap Go to get directions to your car.
Apple Maps (iOS)
You need to tweak a few settings before you can use Apple Maps to find your parking spot. Open Settings > Privacy > Location Services on your iPhone and make sure Location Services is turned on.
Scroll to the bottom of the Location Services screen and select System Services > Significant Locations. You may be asked for your passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID, then turn on the switch for Significant Locations.
Next, go to Settings > Maps and turn on the switch for Show Parked Location. Now the next time you drive somewhere, you can track your car’s location after you park.
Make sure your iPhone is connected via Bluetooth or CarPlay, then get out of the vehicle. When you disconnect from the car, your phone should display a notification indicating that Maps has dropped a pin to show where you parked.
If the notification doesn’t appear, open Apple Maps. Look for the blue Parked Car pin on the map and tap it. If you don’t see it, type “parked car” in the search field, and the car’s location should then appear. Tap the Edit Location button to see an image of your car’s surrounding area. You can also create a note with more details and tap the Add Photo button to snap a photo of your car and location.
When you need to find your car, open Apple Maps. Tap the Parked Car pin, select Directions, and then tap the Go button to follow walking directions to your parked car.
Parked Car Locator (Android)
With Parked Car Locator (Opens in a new window) , tap the compass icon to zoom in on your current location. Tap the Park Here button and tap OK to set your parking.
When it’s time to find your car, just open the app and follow the arrow to get to your car. Tap the hamburger icon in the upper left to switch the view between normal, satellite, terrain, and hybrid.
Find My Car – GPS Navigation (Android)
A straightforward app, Find My Car – GPS Navigation (Opens in a new window) makes it simple to record your car’s location and then find it later. Open the app and tap the Park button. You can then add a note to your location and snap a photo of it.
When you’re ready to return to your car, open the app again and tap the Find My Car button. Just follow the direction of the pointer, and the app will steer you to the right spot.
Find My Car with AR by Bello Studios (iOS)
The $1.99 Find My Car with AR (Opens in a new window) app is quite simple. At the main screen, tap the Add New Car Location license plate icon when you park your car. Tap the Mark Location button. Name the location and select the location type, then tap the Save location button.
When you need to find your car, open the app and tap the Back to Location button. You’ll see the location of your car displayed on the map. Walk in the direction of your car. You can switch among a map view, a satellite view, or a hybrid view that combines the two, or tap the AR icon to see your surroundings as you walk.
Find Your Car with AR by Augmented Works (iOS)
If you choose Find Your Car with AR (Opens in a new window) , open the app before you leave your car and tap the I parked here button. When it’s time to find your car, launch the app again. A large red arrow points in the direction of your car; just follow that arrow.
You can change the display from a conventional map to a satellite or between a regular or augmented reality map. The AR map shows you your actual surrounding area so you can see what’s nearby as you walk to the car.
Sign up for our Weekly Apple Brief for the latest news, reviews, tips, and more delivered right to your inbox.
Your subscription has been confirmed. Keep an eye on your inbox!
Best Buy doesn’t even sell CDs anymore, people!
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
Bluetooth does nothing new. Even before the technology was introduced, you could make hands-free calls to Mum and stream Mobb Deep’s The Infamous through your car stereo. Bluetooth’s crowning achievement is that it allows drivers to do these things without the messy annoyance known as wires.
We despise cluttered car cabins, and wires have become one of the major culprits for quickly mucking up center consoles. If one of your 2021 resolutions is to keep a cleaner car or to simply upgrade it, it’s time for you to add Bluetooth to your cabin.
There are good and bad ways to do this, just as there are pricier options and cheap options. Below, The Drive’s plugged-in editors untangle the wires and clearly lay out how to proceed without too much hassle. Time to get to it.
What Is Bluetooth?
Let’s begin with the basics. Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows two devices to communicate without a plug. This technology allows you to easily connect your phone to your automobile’s infotainment system.
How Is Bluetooth Used in Cars?
Smartphones pair to cars and can sync music, text messages, maps, contacts, applications, and numerous other functions.
Ways To Add Bluetooth To Your Car
There are good options, and there are bad options. Learn which is which below.
Bluetooth Radio Transmitter
A Bluetooth radio transmitter essentially pairs with your phone and the radio. After a radio station is selected on the device, you match the station in the car, and the sound comes through the main stereo system. The phone connects through an aux cord, while the receiver is powered by batteries, the car’s USB port, or the car’s cigarette lighter.
A Bluetooth receiver can only be used with new cars that feature USB ports or auxiliary jacks. Your phone pairs with the receiver, which then connects to the car’s infotainment through one of those two methods.
If you don’t care about having any of the modern touchscreen amenities like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a single-din radio is one of the best cheap upgrades for an older vehicle.
After the CD player went bad on my personal 2003 Acura RSX, I replaced it with a basic Pioneer unit. It automatically connects to my phone when I turn the car on, and it has an extra USB port, an aux port, and a microphone for hands-free calls.
Double-Din Radio With Touchscreen
The most beautiful and technologically advanced way to add Bluetooth to your old ride is with a double-din touchscreen head unit. Not only do you add Bluetooth, you also add the upgrades that come with a massive digital touchscreen. A new Double-Din will likely give you Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, too.
The least useful method is a small receiver and speaker that creates hands-free calls. It does not connect to the radio and does nothing with music. It only amplifies your calls and allows you to speak to it with a built-in microphone.
How Much Does It Cost To Add Bluetooth To a Car?
A simple transmitter or receiver can cost $10, while the premium head unit stereos can cost $200-500. A decent single-din head unit will cost about $100-200.
The Basics of Aftermarket Bluetooth Installation
Estimated Time Needed: 5 minutes to 3 hours
Skill Level: Beginner
Vehicle System: Stereo/Infotainment
Everything You’ll Need To Add Bluetooth to a Car
Installing a Bluetooth transmitter or a receiver is as simple and straightforward as it gets. No tools are necessary.
- Bluetooth transmitter or receiver
Here’s How To Setup a Bluetooth Transmitter In Your Car
The easiest how-to ever.
- Turn your car on.
- Plug the transmitter into the USB or cigarette lighter.
- Plug the transmitter into your phone’s headphone jack.
- Set the station on the transmitter.
- Set the station on the car’s radio.
- If it’s fuzzy, try another radio station.
- Rock out!
Consider Mobile Stereo Installation from YourMechanic
While The Drive’s how-to guides are detailed and easy to follow, no vehicle is created the same, and not all auto maintenance or repair tasks are easy to accomplish on your own. That’s why we’ve partnered with YourMechanic and their network of mobile automotive technicians to offer our readers $10 off a $70 or more service call when you use promo code THEDRIVE.
FAQs About Adding Bluetooth To Your Car
You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers!
Q. So How Do I Know If My Car Has Bluetooth?
A. There are a few ways to identify if your car has Bluetooth.
- Scroll through the stereo options, if possible.
- Use the Bluetooth search function on your phone to look for your car.
- You can perform a visual inspection of the dashboard, as many cars print the Bluetooth logo on the plastic.
- Check your owner’s manual.
- Call a dealership for help.
Q. Ok, Then What Year of Cars Has Bluetooth?
A. Virtually all new cars sold today can be optioned with Bluetooth. The technology was introduced around 2000, and it started to become more popular and common about 5-10 years later.
Q. Alright, Which Cheap Cars Have Bluetooth?
A. If you’re looking for a cheap new car, we recommend the 2020 Kia Rio LX hatchback. For $16,815, the base model comes standard with a 7.0-inch touchscreen display with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a backup camera. There are plenty of good options with Bluetooth today, though, including the Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, or Honda Fit. There are also a host of used cars that come with the feature now as well.
Let’s Talk, Comment Below To Talk With The Drive’s Editors!
We’re here to be expert guides in everything How-To related. Use us, compliment us, yell at us. Comment below and let’s talk! You can also shout at us on Twitter or Instagram, here are our profiles.
Tony Markovich: Twitter (@T_Marko), Instagram (@t_marko)
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews. Read more.
Justin Duino is the Reviews Director at How-To Geek (and LifeSavvy Media as a whole). He has spent the last decade writing about Android, smartphones, and other mobile technology. In addition to his written work, he has also been a regular guest commentator on CBS News and BBC World News and Radio to discuss current events in the technology industry. Read more.
Google Maps has a few quirky little features that can personalize your experience if you know where to find them. For instance, you can change the navigation icon to a car, SUV, or truck. Here’s how.
The default Google Maps navigation icon is the familiar triangle with an inverted base that you see on many navigation systems. That icon actually comes from the Asteroids game. You can change this icon to more closely match your mode of transportation.
First, open the Google Maps app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device and then select a location for navigation. Tap “Directions.”
Next, select the “Start” button to begin the turn-by-turn navigation.
Now, simply tap the icon representing your location on the map.
You’ll now see a few vehicle icons to choose from as well as the traditional triangle. Select one of the icons to proceed.
That’s it! You’ll now see the vehicle in place of the triangle icon when navigating.
Use Bluetooth hands-free calling for safer journeys
In This Article
Jump to a Section
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows the creation of secure local networks, making it perfect for short-range connections between devices like your phone and your car’s head unit or your phone and a hands-free Bluetooth car kit or headset.
What Is Bluetooth Pairing?
The process of setting up a Bluetooth network is referred to as “pairing” because the network consists of only one “pair” of devices. Although it is often possible to pair one device to multiple other devices, each connection is secure and unique.
To pair a cellphone to a car stereo, the phone and the head unit must be Bluetooth compatible.
Most car infotainment systems offer Bluetooth connectivity, which allows for seamless hands-free calling. This same functionality is also offered by both aftermarket and OEM Bluetooth car stereos, and you can add it into older systems with a hands-free car kit.
To use your cellphone for hands-free calling, you need:
- A Bluetooth-enabled cellphone.
- A Bluetooth-enabled infotainment system or car audio system.
- The PIN for your infotainment or audio system.
Additionally, it may be helpful to have a phone mount.
Verify That Your Phone Has Bluetooth, and Turn It On
Pairing a phone to a car audio system varies depending on the phone and the infotainment or audio system’s setup. Most of these steps translate in one way or another regardless of what type of phone you have and the car you drive. The first step, in any case, is to make sure that you have the right tools.
The first step to pairing a phone with a car stereo is to verify that your phone has Bluetooth.
Turn on your phone, if it’s turned off, and verify that you have Bluetooth. The Bluetooth symbol looks like a capital B overlaid with an X. If you’re familiar with runes, it’s a bind rune made up of “hagall” and “bjarkan,” owing to the Scandinavian origin of the technology. If you see this symbol anywhere in your phone’s status area or the menus, your phone probably has Bluetooth.
While going through the menus, make a note of where the “make phone discoverable” and “search for devices” options are. You’ll need those in a little while. Most phones remain discoverable for a couple of minutes, though, so you don’t have to activate that yet.
If your head unit or phone doesn’t have Bluetooth, there are other ways to get Bluetooth in your car.
Check Infotainment or Audio System Phone Settings
Some vehicles have a button that you can press to start the pairing process, and other vehicles allow you to say a voice command, such as “pair Bluetooth.” Other vehicles are complicated in that you must look through the infotainment system. In this case, the next step is to navigate to the telephone settings in the infotainment system menu.
If you can’t find a “pair Bluetooth” button, and your car doesn’t support voice commands, read the owner’s manual to find out how to get your infotainment system or car stereo to pair with your phone.
Search for Your Phone or Set the Car System to Discoverable
This step is where you’ll need to know where the “set to discoverable” and “search for devices” options are on your phone. Depending on your audio or infotainment system’s setup, either your car searches for your cellphone or vice versa. In either case, both devices must be ready to search or be found within the same window of two minutes or so.
In this case, navigate to “Bluetooth” in the phone settings menu on the infotainment system to get started. Your infotainment system or Bluetooth car stereo may be slightly different in the particulars, but the basic idea should be the same.
Set to Your Phone to Discoverable or Scan for Devices
After your car is either looking for your phone or ready to be found, switch to your phone. Since you’re dealing with a limited amount of time to complete this step, have your phone in the correct menu. The exact steps depend on how your head unit works.
If the car is looking for your phone, set your phone to “discoverable” so the vehicle can ping your phone, find it, and pair with it.
If your car’s head unit itself is set to “discoverable,” have your phone “scan for devices.” This mode allows it to look for any devices (including your car audio system, wireless keyboards, and other Bluetooth peripherals) in the area available for connection.
The pairing process may not work at first. It could be due to the time constraints and one of the devices giving up before the other is ready to pair, so try a few times before giving up.
There are other reasons that Bluetooth won’t pair, from interference to Bluetooth incompatibility. So, don’t give up if it doesn’t work perfectly the first time.
Choose the Bluetooth Device to Pair
If your phone successfully finds your car’s hands-free calling system, it shows up in the list of available devices. In this case, the Toyota Camry’s hands-free calling system is called “hands-free” on the list.
After selecting the device, enter a passkey or passphrase to pair the devices. Each car comes with a preset passkey, which you can typically find in the user manual. If you don’t have the manual, set a passkey from your infotainment system’s phone settings menu. And if that doesn’t work, your local dealer may be able to provide you with the original passkey.
Many Bluetooth devices use “1234,” “1111,” and other simple passkeys by default.
If you entered the correct passkey, your phone will pair with the hands-free calling system in your car.
If it doesn’t, repeat the steps you already took and make sure that you put the correct passkey in. Since it’s possible to change the default passkey, the default might not work in some pre-owned vehicles. In that case, pair your phone again after changing the passkey to something else.
How to Send and Receive Your Calls Hands-Free
After pairing your Bluetooth phone with your car, make sure that everything works correctly. Depending on your vehicle’s specifics, you can go about that in a couple of ways.
In this Toyota Camry, the buttons on the steering wheel activate and shut down the handsfree calling mode. You can place calls by accessing the phone through the infotainment system touch screen.
Some vehicles have a single button that activates the voice control functionality of the infotainment system. Use this button to place calls, set navigation waypoints, control the radio, and perform other functions.
Other vehicles have always-on voice controls that activate when you issue commands. Others have buttons that activate voice commands on external devices (like the Siri button in GM’s Spark.)
gahsoon / Getty Images
Erika Rasure, is the Founder of Crypto Goddess, the first learning community curated for women to learn how to invest their money—and themselves—in crypto, blockchain, and the future of finance and digital assets. She is a financial therapist and is globally-recognized as a leading personal finance and cryptocurrency subject matter expert and educator.
Leasing a vehicle is a great way to have the privileges of driving a nice car without the hassle of long-term maintenance or finding a buyer when you’re done with it. It’s also nice because you know exactly how long you’ll be bound to the vehicle you’re driving.
But what if you’re itching to get rid of your vehicle before the lease is up? Or you have to move across the world and can’t take your vehicle with you?
Well, don’t drive it back to the lot just yet. If you return the vehicle early, you may have to pay some hefty penalties, even up to the remaining balance on the lease. But don’t despair just yet—there are indeed ways to get out of your lease without paying an arm and a leg.
Read Your Agreement Carefully
Even though you hopefully already did this when you first signed the lease, it’s a good idea to reread it with this in mind. Is there anything here that penalizes you for ending the contract early?
In the vast majority of cases, there will be. But you should also look for any exceptions or situations in which you can avoid these penalties.
Try to Find Someone to Take Over Your Lease
It’s not a perfect solution, and you can’t pick just anyone off the street. Some dealers won’t let you swap leases at all. Many have several restrictions concerning the type of person who can take on your lease and when they can do so. But many companies do allow a lease transfer for a fee much smaller than the typical price of continuing the lease.
Several sites function essentially as dating sites for cars—people with leases looking to unload post their offers, and folks looking to take over a lease respond to the ones that grab their interest. Asking your friends and family members if they or anyone they know is interested is also a good idea.
If you want to find someone to take over your lease, know that they will still have to have good credit and be approved by the company. Some dealers, unfortunately, will also still hold you accountable if any damage is done to the vehicle.
Trade It for Another Vehicle
This is not a good idea if you need to end your lease because you are leaving the country or are in financial trouble. But if you simply want to drive another type of vehicle, you can certainly change over to a different one. You’ll may have to pay early exit fees, but you won’t usually be on the hook for the rest of the payments in your current lease. Also, switching to a less expensive model might save you in monthly payments—or at least it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Take the Early Buyout Option
Part of the appeal of a lease is that if you decide at any time that you want to purchase the vehicle you’re driving instead of just making monthly payments on it, you have the option of doing so through the early buyout mechanism, by which the company will calculate the approximate value of the vehicle you’re driving as well as how much you’ve already paid into the lease. If you’re feeling ambitious, and you have the cash, it might be worth your time to buy the car from the lessor and try to sell it.
Once you buy the car, you can try to sell it to a dealership (this is only worth it if you paid less than the Kelley Bluebook price for it) or to a friend or family member—or someone you meet through Craigslist. Even if you lose money, you may lose less than you would have if you’d paid out the rest of the lease and penalties.
Or. Just Wait It Out
This may be obvious, but you don’t have to make use of the vehicle every day that you have it out on a lease. If you simply are hoping to terminate your lease a few months early because you are moving to a different state, try leaving the vehicle with a friend (of course, they can’t drive it!) and just returning it when the lease is up. Especially if you only have a few months left on your lease, this may be the most affordable option.
In the vast majority of cases, it’s only worth it to break your lease if you have a serious, unavoidable reason for doing so. But if that’s not the case, then you are probably going to be better off driving the vehicle you signed up for until the contract is over. It might not be the hot rod of your dreams or the absolute best car for your situation, but the cost or hassle of trying to cut out early may not be worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does it cost to return a leased car early?
When you terminate a lease early, you’ll be responsible for paying the early termination charges. These charges are the difference between how much is left on the lease and how much the car is actually worth. For example, if you still owe $18,000, and the car’s realized value is $15,000, then you will owe $3,000.
Does breaking your car lease early affect your credit?
Yes and no. If you are unable to make your car lease payments or stop making them, then it will negatively impact your credit score. If you are able to transfer the lease to someone else, then breaking the car lease early won’t impact your credit at all.
Steering wheel shimmy, jiggle, or shake can be linked to several different problems and sometimes more than one. It does one good to note that cars are made up of thousands of interconnecting parts—some estimate there are over 30,000 parts in the average vehicle—and is a dynamic beast, which can complicate diagnosis. As a DIYer, you might be able to check some of these things yourself, but a couple of steps are best left to the professionals, with sensitive (read: “expensive”) shop equipment.
In general, steering wheel shimmy refers to visible or tactile steering wheel shake. Depending on the severity and type of shake, you might be able to see it in your hands or even see it if you loosen your grip on the steering wheel. Paying close attention to how and when steering wheel shimmy occurs will help you to narrow down the cause.
Steering wheel shimmy or vibration that occurs only at certain speeds is often related to dynamic imbalance in the tires, wheels, or axles. Vibrations that occur at low speed and worsen progressively, usually referred to as a steering “wobble” at low speeds, are likely related to physical imbalances, such as tire flat spots, bent wheels or axles, or seized joints. Steering wheel shake that only occurs when braking is most likely related to the brake system, but could also be related to faults in suspension or steering systems. Shaking that occurs just after hitting a bump is usually related to the suspension or steering system.
Several problems can cause steering wheel shimmy, sometimes in combination with one another. Tackling things one-at-a-time can help you eliminate the most common problem areas, such as:
Tire and Wheel Problems
” data-caption=”Like Dynamic Tire Imbalance, Excessive Radial Force Variation (RFV) Causes Steering Wheel Shimmy” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />
Tire Balance: This is probably the most common cause of steering wheel shake, and perhaps the most easily remedied. Dynamic tire and wheel balance relates to how the mass of the tire and wheel assembly is distributed and how it reacts when spinning. Tire and wheel manufacturing typically results in a small amount of unbalance, which manifests itself as a vibration.
A typical tire spin balancer can detect small variations in the mass of the tire and wheel assembly, giving the tire technician the precise amount of weight to offset the imbalance.
Radial Force Variation: Tires are a complex construction of steel belts, textile belts, and various rubber compounds. Inconsistencies in the construction of the tire, variations in elasticity, strength, flexibility, or dimension, or damage, such as broken belts or bent wheels, can easily manifest themselves as a vibration. Radial force variation (RFV), also called “road” force variation, causes vibrations that tend to increase with vehicle speed—dynamic tire imbalance usually manifests at specific speed ranges.
RFV can be measured on a special spin balancer, and force-matching tires and wheels may be able to reduce or eliminate the vibration—inconsistencies in the tire and wheel cancel each other out. Damaged tires and wheels should be replaced, though some wheels can be repaired safely.
Note: When diagnosing tire and wheel problems, one easy step is to simply swap front tires and rear tires. If the shake disappears or moves to the rear, this usually indicates a tire balance or RFV problem. If no change is noted, it could mean all four tires have balance or RFV problems, or that the problem lies elsewhere in the front end.
Brake, Suspension, and Steering Problems
” data-caption=”Many Suspension and Steering Parts Keep Your Car Moving Smooth and Straight, Except When It Doesn’t.” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />
Brake Shake: If steering wheel shimmy only occurs when applying the brakes, it’s quite likely related to the brake system, usually “warped” rotors. Brakes may also be involved if they are dragging, always partially applied due to a mechanical or hydraulic fault.
New brake rotors may solve the problem, or an on-car brake lathe can machine the brake rotors true to the wheel hub and wheel. Inspect your brakes, especially checking that caliper sliders and pads move freely, eliminating brake drag. This sometimes happens in the rear when drivers forget to disengage fully, or at all, the parking brake or emergency brake.
Worn or Loose Parts: Worn or loose suspension components can multiply the effect of any single inconsistency in tire balance or braking efficiency. Worn or leaking shock absorbers may allow for excessive bounce after road bumps.
Check over the suspension and steering system for loose components, such as upper or lower ball joints, tie rod ends, idler arms, or bushings. Bounce-test the shocks at each corner of the vehicle. Replace worn or loose components.
Combination Problems and Other Problems
” data-caption=”In a dynamic system, faults in one area can amplify faults in other areas” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />
Combination problems can complicate diagnosis. One common combination problem is a worn joint or shock absorber leading to cupped or scalloped tire wear. “Obviously,” the cupped tire is causing the steering wheel shimmy, but simply replacing the tire won’t solve the problem for very long. Replacing the joint or shock and the tire will solve the problem permanently.
Something else may cause steering wheel shimmy. Common problems include the Jeep “Death Wobble,” caused by loose steering and suspension components, and older Volvo 240 shimmy caused by worn front track bar bushings. Lexus cars with certain low-profile tires would suffer steering wheel shimmy in cold weather, which would mysteriously disappear once the tires warmed up—tires would develop flat spots, sitting overnight in the cold.
There are dozens of similar problems common to different YMMs (year, make, model). In this case, it’s time to tune in to an enthusiast forum for your YMM, look for a trusted technician who specializes in your vehicle, or head to a dealer service center.
Looking at how complex the steering, suspension, brake, tire, and wheel system is, it’s easy to see how faults and inconsistencies can lead to noticeable problems. Other vibrations can have similar causes, related to wheels, tires, brakes, or suspension. You might feel this kind of vibration in the seats or center console, but you won’t feel it in the steering wheel. Diagnosis and repair is similar, but because it’s not felt in the steering wheel, you can typically rule out problems in the front of the vehicle.
Dash Cams record the facts of a fender bender as well as those unbelievable moments on the road you have to see to believe. You’ll need two things to turn your iPhone into a Dash Cam: a universal car mount and a Dash Cam app.
Universal car mounts
The best placement for a car mount when you’re looking to record the road is the windshield. Make sure to look into your local laws governing the use of car mounts so that you’re following the rules. We have three excellent car mount suggestions that work perfectly on the windshield and are ideal for iPhones:
Logitech Drive One-Touch smartphone car mount
All it takes in one twist to attach the Logitech Drive One-Touch to your windshield and it’s just as easy to remove. If you often find yourself swapping out vehicles or you share a single car with multiple drivers, it can be helpful to have a car mount that’s so easy to adjust.
A single magnet adapter locks your iPhone into place and the magnetic connection is strong enough to hold through most iPhone cases. No need to constantly take the cover off when you get into the car. Your iPhone will always be in a prime recording spot without intruding on your field of vision.
iOttie Easy One Touch 3 (v2.0) universal car mount
If magnets aren’t your thing, you can always go with iOttie’s Easy One Touch car mount which uses a cradle to hold your iPhone. The cradle is minimal but strong and won’t obstruct your view of the screen. One touch locks your iPhone into place, and another touch releases it.
The telescopic arm means that you can adjust your view easily; it pivots 180-degrees and even when your iPhone is being held portrait-style it has a clear view of the road ahead. The iOttie car mount can handle rough rides, too, and your iPhone will stay in place and keep on recording.
Ram Universal X-Grip car mount
The car mount options from Ram Mounts are nearly endless and one of the best is the Universal X-Grip. The twisting lock suction cup holds onto the windshield no matter what kind of terrain you’re tackling. The spring loaded cradle fits larger iPhones and bulkier cases easily.
The ball and socket system make the car mount adjustable at every angle and you can switch your iPhone from portrait to landscape with a simple turn. There are numerous additional mounting options available on the website if you want to take your Dash Cam out on your bike for a different kind of adventure.
Dash Cam apps
There are several well-reviewed apps available that will turn your iPhone into a Dash Cam with the greatest of ease. All of our selections have a free version that you can try before making a full purchase.
The app provides non-stop recording while you’re on the road. Black screen mode means that your iPhone can record the details of your drive without anyone else knowing your phone is even turned on. Pretty sneaky. You can record in portrait or landscape mode, too.
You’ll be able to run Apple Maps while recording, so you can navigate the city streets while your iPhone takes in all the action. Transferring your video from iPhone to laptop or desktop is done easily through your Camera Roll and AirDrop feature.
The name says it all. The loop recording on DashCam also tracks your speed so you don’t have to divide your attention between your iPhone and dashboard speedometer. The app works in landscape and portrait mode and allows you to access maps while you record.
Playback is easy within the app and the moment you start recording, DashCam timestamps your video. A special in-app feature allows you to quickly share snippets of your footage on YouTube; just be sure to pull over to the side of the road before sharing your masterpiece.
A feature that sets Car Camera apart is the ability to embed data overlays in your Dash Cam footage, like time, speed, and coordinates. It even records audio. Your iPhone will record it all while giving you access to navigation maps, so that you know exactly how to get where you’re going.
All of your footage stays stored in the app until you’re ready to export it via AirDrop to compatible devices, or you can move footage from the app to your Camera Roll videos. Either way, it’ll be easy to share your footage with the necessary parties.
After you’re done recording with the SaveDrives app, you’ll be able to make notes and attach them to the video file — helpful if there are details that you are afraid might get missed or things that happened out of your iPhone’s view.
The user friendly interface features an SOS function unique to SaveDrives. While setting up the app, users can pre-program an emergency contact who will receive a notification if the driver is in an accident.
CamOnRoad is a little different because the app itself is totally free, as are the 2GB of cloud storage that automatically come with the app. If you want additional storage, you pay a subscription fee. Either way, you don’t have to worry about exporting footage to another device or losing footage because you’ve run out of storage.
Your iPhone will be a black box and navigation system all in one device. The app is user friendly and well-reviewed, just keep in mind that a free app will allow the occasional pop-up. They won’t interfere with your screen or distract you, but they will be there. Just a heads-up.
How do you dash cam?
Know of any other excellent car mounts or apps that will do the trick? We want to hear all about them in the comments!
One of the most common questions we get is:
How do I center my steering wheel?
Does the QuickTrick center my steering wheel?
I have my alignment straight, but my steering wheel is off center. How do I fix this?
Rack and Pinion Steering only
On each of the tie rods (rods coming out of the steering)
there is a nut on each one on each side, right and left
You have to loosen those nuts on each side
Turn either the right side clockwise or the left side counter clockwise (or reverse that)
If you turn the right side a half turn, you will then have to turn the left side a half turn.
You will have to play with them until you have the steering wheel centered, but that is the process.
Mr QuickTrick says….:
When you turn the tie rods
If you turn the right a half turn clockwise
Then the left counter clockwise, you will see the steering wheel move and be able to tell which side needs to go in and which one needs to go out
This process will also keep your alignment in check
We found a good video instruction set up from J Dawg on Youtube
Make sure to show him some love for the visuals
****Please be safe in every change you make to your vehicle. Your steering and alignment are no joke. If you are ever unsure, ask.. It is also important to know that we provide information based on Mr QuickTricks 50+ years of experience of working on vehicles.
You can check out our new steering wheel holder here: Steering Wheel
Alignment Simple Solutions, Mr QuickTrick and any QuickTrick products cannot diagnose any vehicle issues on line or over the phone. We will not be held responsible for any changes you make to your vehicle, but we are happy to offer knowledge based on our hands on experience.
How to Do a Wheel Alignment Yourself
Looking to do your own wheel alignment? This article reviews the basics of DIY alignment and two methods for checking the wheel alignment—one with string and another with a tape measure. Read on to find out how to do a wheel alignment at home by yourself.
Signs Your Car or Truck Needs a Wheel Alignment
Steps for a DIY Alignment with String
Pro Tip: After the DIY wheel alignment is complete, we recommend bringing the car to a shop for professional alignment.
1. Read the PSI of Each Tire
Take a reading of the psi of each tire and confirm the reading is accurate.
2. Place Cardboard Underneath the Tires
Stack two pieces of cardboard and place them behind the worn tire and the opposing tire on the opposite side.
Back the car up so the tire is centered on the cardboard.
3. Center the Steering Wheel
Turn the steering wheel back and forth and adjust it as close as possible to the center so it’s centered
4. Tighten String to Two-Step Stools Within Reaching Distance of the Tires
Wrap a piece of string between two step stools and place them within reaching distance of the tires.
5. Make Sure the String Reaches the Center of the Tire and Is one Inch from the Center Cap
Measure the height of the string and make sure it reaches the center height of the tire. Do this for both sides.
Place the string about an inch from the center cap and make sure it’s tight and not touching a part of the car.
6. Measure the Distance Between the Step Stools and Make Sure They Match
Before making an adjustment, measure the distance between two strings at the front and rear and adjust them so the measurements match.
7. Check for a 1/16″ Difference from the Back and Front of the Rim with a Tape Measure
Measure the back of the rim to the string.
Measure the front of the rim to the string.
You want the front of the tire going in about 1/16 th from the rear of the tire. On this vehicle, if the tire is out too far, you want to adjust and loosen the backside tie rod to push the front of the tire out. Different vehicles will have different ways to make adjustments.
8. Turn the Wheel and Adjust the Tie Rod Nut and Tie Rod a Quarter Turn for your DIY alignment
To adjust the right front wheel, turn the steering wheel all the way to the left. On this vehicle, mark the position of the front tie rod end.
Loosen the nut for a new turns
Turn and tighten the tie rod a quarter turn with pliers. Then tighten the nut.
9. Center the Steering Wheel, Measure the Distance from the Front and Rear of the Rim, and Adjust the Tie Rod if Needed
Turn the steering wheel to the center position to straighten out the tire.
Measure the position of the wheel and adjust the tie rod again—maybe a full turn if necessary.
How to Check the DIY Alignment with a Tape Measure
For another method to check the front alignment, use a tap measure.
How to Check the Alignment with a Tape Measure
Pick a Line on the Back of the Tire Near the Center and Have an Assistant Hold the Tape Measure There
Pick a line on the tire and have a partner on the other side pick a line on the tire near the center. Have the partner hold the tape measure and measure the distance between the two tires.
Measure the Distance Between the Back of the Tires
Mark the measurement on the tire with a marker and measure the distance between them.
Measure the Distance Between the Front of the Tires
Do the same for the front of the tire. Record the distance between the back and the front, which should be about 1/16 th
Apple CarPlay can be a useful feature for connecting your smartphone to your car’s infotainment system, but there may be times when you need to turn it off.
Apple CarPlay can be a useful feature for connecting your smartphone to your car’s infotainment system, but there may be times when you need to turn it off. We’ve created this guide to help you understand the Apple CarPlay feature and how to turn it off when you don’t want it.
What Is CarPlay?
Apple CarPlay is a built-in feature of many newer vehicles. It’s a convenient software that allows you to sync your iPhone with your car’s infotainment system, working with features such as its touch-screen display, button panel, voice command, and audio system. Connecting your car’s infotainment system with the Apple CarPlay software allows you to use certain iPhone applications through your car’s integrated interface, like its touch-screen display. CarPlay syncs automatically when you plug your phone into your car or it connects using wireless technology.
Types of CarPlay Features
CarPlay offers several useful features that make it simple to use phone applications while driving. These applications include virtual car keys, navigation software, voice commands, messaging options, and entertainment features.
Virtual Car Keys
The virtual car keys feature allows you to unlock and start your car with your phone. You can start your car remotely and share your keys with friends and family. Virtual car keys also allow you to set restrictions on who can access your car and when they can have access, which can be a helpful feature for setting the access permissions for new drivers.
For example, if you have a teen driver at home, you can set the virtual car keys to the teen’s profile and restrict them to only have access during certain times of the day. Additionally, the virtual car keys application can work for up to five hours even after your phone battery dies.
The Apple CarPlay software can sync your preferred navigation application from your phone to your car. While many cars have integrated GPS systems, your phone may have other options that you might prefer. By connecting your device to your car, you can display your preferred navigational tool on the car’s interface. The application can play voice directions through your car’s audio system, making them clear, loud, and easy to follow.
CarPlay syncs your phone’s voice command system to your car. Voice commands let you navigate phone applications and request information hands-free. You can ask for directions, request music, make calls, and send messages verbally. This allows you to keep your focus on the road, improving safety while ensuring you have the access you need to your phone features.
Hands-free messaging is another valuable feature provided by CarPlay. It lets you send and receive electronic messages like emails and texts using voice commands and the car’s audio system. You can listen to messages and dictate responses to send to your contacts. This is a convenient way to contact others and handle work-related correspondences while on the road.
CarPlay also gives you access to entertainment applications during your commute. You can play music, podcasts, audiobooks, and radio programs using your favorite phone applications. By using your phone’s applications, you have access to more options than through your car’s standard software.
How To Choose When To Use CarPlay
There are times when using CarPlay may be beneficial and times when you may prefer it off. You might choose to use CarPlay when:
- Increasing Convenience: CarPlay offers many convenient features that provide access to phone applications while on the road. If you need uninterrupted access to your messaging systems or prefer your phone’s applications to those installed in the car’s system, CarPlay may be a convenient choice for you.
- Expanding Software Options: Using CarPlay can give you access to more options than your car’s existing settings. For example, your car’s internal navigation system might not offer as many options as your favorite GPS system installed on your phone.
- Controlling Access: CarPlay has options that allow you to restrict who has access to your car and its functions. The virtual car key feature lets you decide who can access and operate your vehicle and gives you control over when they can use it, which is a useful function for someone who shares their car often.
You might choose not to use CarPlay when:
- Using Your Car’s Integrated Features: Some drivers prefer to use their car’s internal features over their phone features. Disabling CarPlay ensures your car uses its default features rather than prioritizing your phone’s settings.
- Driving a Rental Car: Although CarPlay maintains your privacy and security, turning it off before renting a car can reduce the risk of the car accessing your personal data.
- Limiting Distractions: Since CarPlay increases your available options, disabling it can reduce the number of distractions it provides.
How To Turn off CarPlay
Disclaimer: The guidelines in this story are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.
There are two methods for disabling CarPlay—through your settings application, which lets you disconnect from a single vehicle, or through your iPhone restrictions menu to prevent connecting to any vehicle.
Turning off CarPlay Through Settings
1. Open your settings app.
2. Scroll to the third section of options and select “General.”
3. In the “General” settings menu, select “CarPlay.”
4. The “CarPlay” menu shows the vehicles synced to your phone. To disconnect from a vehicle, tap on the option you’d like to forget. Selecting a vehicle takes you to the vehicle menu.
5. In the vehicle menu, tap “Forget This Car”.
6. Confirm that you want to forget the vehicle by tapping “Forget” on the pop-up menu. This option allows you to forget a single car while allowing your iPhone to connect to other cars.
Turning off CarPlay Through Restrictions
1. Open your settings app.
2. Scroll to the second section of the application and select “Screen Time.”
3. In the Screen Time menu, scroll and tap “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”
4. Select “Allowed Apps.” If your menu doesn’t allow you to click this option, toggle the button to the right of the “Content & Privacy Restrictions” title to enable the menu. The button should be green when you enable the menu.
5. In the “Allowed Apps” menu, scroll to the CarPlay option. Tap the toggle button to disable it. The button should be gray when you disable the app. Once disabled, the app won’t activate in any car. You can tap the button again to turn the feature back on.
The maintenance required light, or “Maint Reqd” as it’s displayed on the instrument panel, on the Vehicles is not to be confused with a check engine light. The maintenance light is designed to come on Vehicles service intervals to inform the owner or driver that it’s time Vehicles an oil change service on the hybrid Vehicles. Vehicles do-it-yourself oil change enthusiasts who own a Vehicles this procedure takes less than a minute and requires no tools. You should reset the light after each oil change service so you know when the next one is due.
- How to Turn Off the Maintenance Required Light on a Toyota Camry
- How to Turn Off the Maintenance Required Light on a Honda Civic
- How to Turn Off the Maintenance Required Light in Your Toyota
- How to Turn Off the Maintenance Required Light on a Toyota Prius
- How to Turn Off the Maintenance Required Light on a Honda Accord (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)
How to Turn Off the Maintenance Required Light on a Toyota Camry
Put your vehicle in “Park” and turn the ignition key to the “off” position.
Locate the button used to toggle between your trip odometer, which should be near the speedometer display. Press the button and hold it down.
Turn your vehicle’s ignition to the “acc” setting while holding the button. Do not crank the vehicle. Hold the position for five seconds and turn the ignition key off. Release the button. The maintenance light will be reset and will illuminate again the next time service is due.
How to Turn Off the Maintenance Required Light on a Honda Civic
Put the key in the ignition.
Press and hold the odometer reset knob. This is the knob that sticks out on the bottom right of the instrument cluster. While holding this button, turn the key to the “On” position, but do not start the engine.
Continue to hold the odometer reset knob until the “Maintenance Required” light disappears — about 10 seconds. If the “Maintenance Required” light does not disappear, turn the car off and try the procedure again.
How to Turn Off the Maintenance Required Light in Your Toyota
Put the key in the ignition and turn it up one notch. The dashboard lights will not turn on.
Hold down your trip meter button next to the odometer.
When you are holding the trip meter button down, turn your key to the next notch. So, the dashboard lights will be on, but the car will not be started. Do not start the car.
Continue holding the trip meter button until the light turns off. You have now reset your Maintenance Required, or Maint Reqd, light.
How to Turn Off the Maintenance Required Light on a Toyota Prius
Start the Prius with the push button ignition system.
Set the trip-odometer display on the instrument panel to the odometer setting (not the trip mileage, but the actual mileage of the Prius).
Power the Prius down by hitting the ignition button again.
Locate the odometer-trip button located near the center of the dashboard.
Depress and hold the odometer-trip button with your right hand and then power on the Prius with the ignition button with your left hand.
Continue to hold the odometer-trip button until the “Maint Reqd” light goes out on the instrument panel.
How to Turn Off the Maintenance Required Light on a Honda Accord (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)
Look at the speedometer in the dashboard and find the small, black peg or button near the plastic face of the gauges. This is normally used to reset the trip odometer, it may be sticking through the clear plastic.
With the car turned off, push and hold this button in.
While still holding the button in, insert your car key into the ignition and turn it to the “on” position. It’s OK if you actually start the engine.
With the key in the ON position, hold the button for about 10 seconds or so until the Maintenance Required light turns off.
Turn the key off and back on. The light should stay off for several thousand miles, usually until the next designated oil change per your user’s manual.