• Hints & Tips

    How Are New Cars Tested for Reliability?

    Designing, building and releasing a car takes a lot of time. From concept to finished product, average car’s development cycle takes anywhere from two to ten years for a manufacturer to complete.

    Innovative, high-performance machines typically take longer to develop than basic city cars. Likewise, cars with new features – from plug-in hybrid engines to carbon fibre chassis or ultra-modern computer systems –need extra development time.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 16.53.48One aspect of car development that takes a large amount of time is testing. Before a new vehicle goes onto the market, it’s tested to ensure it’s safe to drive, comfortable for the driver and passengers and reliable enough for regular use.

    In this post, we’ll look at how new cars are tested for reliability, from track testing to determine a vehicle’s handling and tyre wear to dynamometer testing to work out a car’s average fuel consumption and environmental impact.

    Why reliability testing is so important

    Mass producing a car is an extremely expensive process, so car manufacturers go to extreme lengths to make sure their cars are in great condition before they arrive on the market.

    Fixing a reliability problem in a car after it launches can often require a costly recall or repair programme, costing car manufacturers tens, or even hundreds, or millions of pounds. This makes testing one of the most essential aspects of car development.

    Most cars drive millions of miles – spread across multiple prototypes – before they launch to the public. This gives manufacturers time to find and fix issues that affect performance, fuel economy, safety and reliability.

    Reliability testing using a dynamometer

    If you’re a car guru, you’ve probably heard of (or maybe even used) a dynamometer before. A dynamometer is a device that uses moving rollers attached to the wheels of a car to simulate driving on a road or track.

    Once the car is fixed on the dynamometer, the force from its wheels is delivered into the moving rollers. This lets the car accelerate without moving so that its power and performance can be measured.

    Dynamometer testing (also known as dyno testing, for short) doesn’t match the road environment exactly, but it provides an extremely close simulation that’s perfect for working out certain factors about a car’s performance, such as:

    • Its average fuel consumption and efficiency
    • Its horsepower and torque at different RPMs
    • Its carbon output and environmental impact

    Each of these factors is related to reliability. Cars that generate a lot of power on the dynamometer but become extremely hot doing so might perform well, but there’s a good chance that performance could come at the cost of engine reliability.

    Since a car is fixed in place on a dynamometer, it’s easy to push it to its limit in a way that wouldn’t be possible – or often wouldn’t be safe – on a test track, letting the car manufacturer spot problems that wouldn’t be apparent at low speeds.

    Road testing using a special test track

    While dynamometer testing gives a great deal of insight into how a car’s engine and transmission perform under pressure, it doesn’t give manufacturers a lot of data on the car’s on-road performance.

    Things like speed bumps, gravel, rain and sand don’t exist on a dynamometer. These factors have a huge effect on a car’s real life reliability, making it important that car manufacturers test their new vehicles extensively on a test track before release.

    Before a car makes it onto the market, it will have covered millions of miles on a test track through prototypes. Test tracks let manufacturers discover problems before a car goes into mass production, saving them from having to carry out a recall.

    Most car manufacturers test their cars in a variety of conditions, from cold winters to extreme heat in a tropical or desert environment. This lets them make sure a car can withstand all environmental threats, from humidity to extremely coldness.

    Lots of flaws in a car’s design that are impossible to discover via dyno testing show up quickly when the car spends several weeks on the track. This type of testing lets manufacturers make important changes to a car’s design before its released.

    Third party testing after a car’s release

    Not all cars are perfect once they’re released by the manufacturer. While some cars are famous for their reliability, others are infamous for performing well for a couple of years before quickly deteriorating and breaking down.

    If you’re buying a used car, looking at third-party reliability test results, as well as the opinions of owners, will give you more insight into how the car performs over the long term than just the manufacturer’s reliability information.

    Third-party car testing involves a variety of factors, which are used to group cars into different categories. Some of the criteria used to test and judge a certain car’s reliability includes:

    • How frequently it breaks down, and how severe its breakdowns are
    • How much it costs to repair on average and the frequency of repairs
    • How long it spends on the road (and off the road being repaired)
    • The average age and mileage of similar models still used on the road

    Most of the time, reliable third-party data takes two or three years to emerge. This is because lots of cars perform well when they’re relatively new but deteriorate due to defects and design flaws as time goes on.

    How to buy a car that won’t let you down

    Is there any motoring experience worse than being stuck on the side of the road due to an unreliable car? Some cars are extremely fun to drive – until they put you on the side of the highway waiting for a tow truck, that is.

    If you’re buying a used car, make sure you check its average reliability online before you buy. Use these tips to ensure you buy a reliable car that’s easy to own instead of an unreliable, potentially expensive lemon:

    • If you’re buying a car that’s 10+ years old, check to see how many vehicles are still on the road today. Some cars, such as the Honda Jazz and BMW 5-Series, are famous for their reliability.
    • Search owner forums and car review websites for common problems that owners face. Some cars that are otherwise very reliable have issues with certain model years that make them less reliable than others.
    • If you find a car that you like, ask an experienced mechanic to review its service history. They’ll be able to spot any maintenance issues that could affect its reliability in the future.

    Finally, if you’re worried about breakdowns or repairs in the future, make sure you buy an extended car warranty for your vehicle. An extended warranty gives you the peace of mind and financial protection you need for stress-free car ownership.

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  • Hints & Tips/ Top 10s

    The Top 10 Responses To Getting Pulled Over By The Cops

    Top 10 Responses to getting pulled over by the cops

    Have you ever been pulled over? It’s ok to admit it, most of us have. Most of the time, the officer will start by asking “Do you know why I pulled you over?” At this point, you are given a choice. You could:

    1.) Flirt:

    Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 12.11.45

    2.) Say you weren’t doing anything wrong: This one is risky, because they probably pulled you over for something.

    3.) Play dumb: I’d say the majority of us who have been pulled over use this tactic. “Sorry officer, I was unaware,” hoping it will get us out of a ticket. SPOILER ALERT: It usually doesn’t work.

    Top 10 Responses to getting pulled over by the cops


    4.)  LIAR LIAR!  If we’ve learned anything from Jim Carrey, it’s that honesty is the best policy. Do this…

    5.)  “*!#%@&!” Curse. Cursing at anyone is a great way to let them know they have made you angry. Cursing at an officer is a great way to convince him to give you a ride down to the station in the back of his car.

    Top 10 Responses to getting pulled over by the cops

    6.)  Sarcasm“Man, you must have been driving fast to catch me!” This is a polite way of letting the officer know that he, too, was speeding, so if anything, you both should get tickets.

    Top 10 Responses to getting pulled over by the cops

    7.) “What do you mean, I can’t drive on the left? I do this all the time in England!” People from England are cultured and worldly. Really sell this one with an over-the-top accent.

    Top 10 Responses to getting pulled over by the cops

    8.) “How am I supposed to answer all these questions when I’m barely awake?” Turn it around on him with the ol’ answer-a-question-with-a-question bit.

    Top 10 Responses to getting pulled over by the cops

    9.) “You’ll have to speak up, I’m not turning this music down.” Music soothes the savage beast. Especially if he likes to rock out as much as you do.

    Top 10 Responses to getting pulled over by the cops

    10. (With mouth full) “You care to try this Beer? Careful, it’s sweet!” Sharing is caring, and if you offer the officer some of your drink he may decide to let you go.

    Dumb and Dumber Cop Scene
    Let us know how you get on with these!

    BONUS TIP: Do what this 10 year old did when he got pulled over…

    via: The Express Lane

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