Category Archives: Driving Tips

What Does a Car’s Torque Mean?

Gas PedalMost drivers know that horsepower is a good standard to judge how fast a car is but what about torque? What does a car’s torque mean? That’s a question many drivers interested in performance vehicles find themselves asking and the answer can get rather complicated. Fortunately, we at Gossett VW Porsche have a simplified answer of what a car’s torque actually means.

Put simply, power is how fast something can reach a certain point while torque is the ability to do work. That remains true in modern cars. Horsepower determines how fast a car can reach a certain speed while torque is how fast the car can actually accelerate.

The torque listed on a vehicle specification page is how much torque the engine can produce. That isn’t necessarily how much torque reaches the wheels. Either way, higher torque means faster acceleration.

Larger engines produce more torque due to the amount of air flowing into the engine. That air is combined with fuel and compressed in a combustion chamber to produce horsepower and torque. Trucks are a perfect example of how torque works. Since most trucks are designed to tow, they need more torque to accelerate while pulling heavy loads. Thanks to their larger engines, trucks are capable of gaining speed even though they may be pulling thousands of pounds.

Bicycle Safety Rules to Follow This Summer

bicycleNo matter how some drivers resent it, summer is the time of bicyclists. Even if you have a car, you may want to take your bike out for a ride periodically, or even switch over to bicycle transport entirely. If you’re going to be on your bike a lot this summer, follow these bicycle safety rules to keep yourself and others safe.

Before you go out on your bike, check it for mechanical problems. Underinflated tires, faulty brakes, and tangled chains are all things that can make you fall or even run into a car or another bicyclist. Make sure you know the traffic laws and how bicycling relates to them. Mostly, you’ll just be following regular traffic laws, so always signal before turning, stop at stop signs, and stay in the far right lane.

The key to being a safe bicyclist is being predictable, and following traffic laws is part of that. It’s also about making what you intend to do next obvious to the people around you with hand signals and looks.

Easy-to-Follow Tips on Saving Gas

fuel upAfter a long, blissful period of gas prices consistently below two dollars, they’re starting to go back up again. It’s a shame, but there are ways we can conserve fuel without going back to the bank-breaking fill-ups of yesteryear. Here are some quick tips on saving gas as prices shoot up this summer.

First of all, slow down. That’s really the easiest way to save gas. Cars get their best mileage around 60 mph, which is part of why we use less gas on the freeway, so going 80 isn’t doing you any favors. Plus, when you’re going slower, you don’t need to brake as hard or suddenly—another thing that uses up a lot of fuel.

Keep an eye on tire pressure—low pressure means more fuel use!

You should also keep in mind that rolling your windows down at speeds under 45 mph is better than using air conditioning, but as soon as you get up above that, the AC is more efficient than having the windows down because the drag from the wind reduces aerodynamics.

Don’t idle when you can help it, so avoid left turns even if it takes you a bit out of the way.

What to Do If You Hydroplane

rainWith spring comes showers, and driving in the rain can be a nerve-wracking, especially when you hydroplane. Here’s what to do in case you start to hydroplane.

  1. Remain calm – The worst thing you could do if you hydroplane is panic. Take a deep breath and tackle the situation calmly.
  2. Do not brake or accelerate suddenly – Since hydroplaning is a loss of traction to the front tires, sudden braking will lock only the rear tires, which will cause a spinout. Sudden acceleration could pull the vehicle straight ahead, which could be dangerous.
  3. Look for an open space – Find an open and clear space to direct your car toward.
  4. Lightly accelerate – Stay lightly on your accelerator and gently guide your car to the open space you identified until it gains its traction back.

To avoid hydroplaning in general, don’t use cruise control in heavy rains because of its tendency toward sudden acceleration. Also make sure that your tires are in good shape. The better your tire tread is, the better it will grip the road in rainy weather. Make sure to drive slower in the rain!

Top Five Best Road Trip Apps

road tripThinking about taking a road trip anytime soon? While it’s always nice to leave the technology behind, these great road trip apps can really enhance your experience!

# 1 – Waze

If you don’t have Waze by now, you are really missing out. Crowd-sourcing traffic info is simply brilliant. You won’t find more up-to-date traffic data anywhere. Plus, you can ask other Waze users about attractions as you come into a new area.

# 2 – TollSmart

Planning on traveling to a location where there are tollbooths everywhere? TollSmart helps you find out exactly how much upcoming tolls are.

# 3 – GasBuddy

Ever get off on an exit to get gas and the prices are super high? Sometimes you feel compelled to buy the gas anyway in order not to waste time. You won’t have to go through that again with GasBuddy.

# 4 – Roadside America

Tired of mainstream attractions? The Roadside America app will help you find offbeat, weird, and otherwise strange attractions nearby.

# 5 – Spotify

What’s a road trip without great jams? There are lots of great music streaming apps out there but Spotify is one of the best. Pick a human-curated playlist, lower the windows, and crank up the volume!

How to Eat Well on a Road Trip

roadtripStaying away from fast food when you’re on a road trip can be seriously difficult, and if you have dietary restrictions like food allergies, it’s even worse. Is it even possible to eat well on a road trip? We have some tips for you to stay healthy.

Tip #1: Bring your own meals, as many as you can. Get a cooler and bring fresh fruit with you, maybe a veggie tray, sandwiches, granola bars, nuts, and other healthy snacks. Eat these instead of stopping at McDonald’s. It’s cheaper, too, and it’s not like you can’t stop at a grocery store instead of a fast food joint.

Tip #2: Eat often and eat small portions. Being super-full on the road is never good, and eating small amounts of healthy food frequently will keep you energized and feeling refreshed.

Tip #3: Get protein. Nuts are a great source of protein, they’re easy to eat, and they keep well!

Tip #4: Drink lots of fluids, preferably water and juice. They keep your hunger down.

Tip #5: If you stay in hotels, eat breakfast. This will keep your energy up throughout the day!

Continuously Variable Transmission Explained: The Key to Efficiency

transmissionIf you’ve been car shopping recently, you’ve probably seen the abbreviation “CVT” on some new models. This stands for a “Continuously Variable Transmission,” an old technology made new. Capable of drastically increasing fuel economy, this new technology is taking over the industry. Let’s explain Continuously Variable Transmission.

According to Autotrader, a CVT works by using a pair of cone shaped pulleys and a high-strength belt in lieu of a gearbox. While in a traditional transmission it has to shift into gear, disengage, and shift to other gears, a CVT is always in the optimum gear ratio (even though it doesn’t actually have the “gears”).

The advantages to this are multifold, including cost and performance. Because transmissions are traditionally considered the most complex aspect of a car (some with over 1,000 individual parts), it’s more affordable and less complex to use a CVT. They also get great fuel economy, one reason green companies started using them.

Why haven’t we seen them before? CVT technology is actually popular in small-engine industries. The only reason it hasn’t been adopted in cars is because you need high-strength materials that can withstand highway speeds. Until recently, these were hard to come by.

Discover more about CVT models by stopping by Gossett VW Porsche.

How to Increase the Resale Value of Your Vehicle

When it comes time to sell your vehicle, the first thing you should do is put yourself in the place of the buyer. What do you see? You might see a vehicle that appears as if it has not been taken care of.

Now while you know the truth, a buyer doesn’t have that luxury. They have to go on what they see! This is why cleaning up your vehicle can increase its resale value. Here’s how:

headlight# 1 – Your headlight lenses can grow murky and hazy over time, giving your vehicle an overly broken-in appearance. Very lightly sand and then polish this haze away.

# 2 – Detail your interior. If you don’t want to do it, it pays to pay a professional. A potential buyer may find a filthy interior uninviting and generally off-putting. If you choose to do it yourself, break out the toothbrush, Q-tips, and all of your odd-shaped vacuum attachments! Getting the filth and dirt out of those nooks and crannies is what makes the difference.

# 3 – Do the easy fixes, as CNN Money suggests. Things like a burned-out taillight or a damaged muffler are going to affect resale value more than what they cost to repair.

# 4 – Make her shine! Nothing says “This vehicle has been properly taken care of” like a nice, shiny finish. Wash it thoroughly and give it a good wax job. You should even consider using a clay bar to remove surface stains. Buff out superficial scratches.

As you apply these tips on how to increase the resale value of your vehicle, always ask yourself, “What would I pay for this vehicle?” Let that thought guide your work.

Simple Ways to Improve Fuel Efficiency

gas gaugeIn today’s world, drivers are always looking for ways to obtain a better fuel economy. However, you don’t need a fancy hybrid car to accomplish this goal. Here are some simple ways to improve fuel efficiency.

Don’t Slam on the Accelerator or Brakes

When you suddenly stop or start your car, you are also decreasing your fuel efficiency. In order to avoid higher prices at the pump, be sure to accelerate and coast at a more manageable rate.

Drive the Speed Limit

Speeding is not only unethical, it’s also inefficient. When you accelerate to speeds faster than 50 mph, your gas mileage decreases exponentially. A steadier pace will win the race in the long run.

Lighten Your Load

Packing the back of your car with too much stuff can really hurt your fuel economy. For every additional 100 pounds of cargo, your fuel efficiency decreases by 1%. By removing unneeded weight from the car, you can save some much-needed money.

Tips to Help Maintain Coolant System

overheating vehicleFor a long time, Porsche and Volkswagen vehicles were unique for being air-cooled. These days, these machines are liquid-cooled. The way it works is that the heat from your engine passes into the fluid and then the fluid passes through your radiator where it is cooled and heads back to your engine to absorb more heat.

The coolant system on your vehicle is a vital system so it is always a good idea to make sure it is healthy. How can you help maintain your coolant system?

Check for leaks

Always be on the lookout for leaks. A hose is the usual suspect as hoses can occasionally fail. In the case of a leak, you might see radiator fluid on the ground where your car has been parked. You might also see it, or feel it, on one of the hoses. A leaky radiator is a serious issue. In any case, you should never drive a car leaking fluid. Have a professional examine the car as soon as possible.

Maintain Proper Fluid Levels

Coolant does contain water so it can evaporate over time. Check your coolant level from time to time and, if you need to, add more. Your coolant system is pressurized and should never normally need large amounts of fluid. If it does, there’s likely a leak.

Never Drive an Overheating Vehicle

If you notice that your temperature gauge is rising, or you see steam coming from under your hood, immediately pull over and turn off your engine. Overheating can do serious damage to a vehicle, even totaling it.