Auto Basics

The Auto Basics Channel offers detailed, accurate articles about cars and educates you on auto terminology. For fun, get to know how car crushers and car washes work or which 33 cars are named after animals.


Ever huffed a Honda? Inhaled an Infiniti? Sniffed a Saab? Here's what you're bringing into your body.

Those irregular black tar drizzles that seem to scar the surfaces of roads aren't the result of haphazard work by a paving crew.

The "zipper system" of merging lanes of traffic cuts back on congestion and car crashes, but it also seems a lot like cheating to American drivers.

Most people seem to enjoy the smell of a new automobile. But is it possible that the fresh-off-the-dealer's-lot odor could also make you sick?

Nobody wants to be stuck with an automotive lemon. And truthfully, the odds are pretty slim that you'll ever need lemon law protection; but it never hurts to know the law -- just in case.

If you plan on keeping diesel fuel on your property for personal reasons (as opposed to commercial), you’d do well to brush up on both state and federal regulations before moving ahead.

The crew from Fast and Loud repaint a classic Ford truck they are restoring.

While some folks never think much about it, a clean vehicle is actually a happier vehicle. Learn more about washing your car naturally with rain.

Hackers attack our banks, PCs and even major credit card networks. So are cars the next things we need to worry about getting viruses?

The redline of an engine is the maximum rpm value it can handle. Learn about the redline of an engine in this article.

The Otto cycle includes the intake, compression, combustion and exhaust strokes. Learn about the four-stroke combustion cycle from this article.

Every driver should keep jumper cables in the trunk and be able to use them if the car stalls. Learn about how to use jumper cables in this article.

Drive in. Soap up. Scrub. Blast. Rinse. Wax. Dry, then touch up. These are the processes of a car wash. But what can't you see from behind the soapy windows?

An automobile contains dozens of different technologies -- everything from the engine to the tires is its own special universe of design and engineering. Here are some of the highlights.

Ever wonder what happens to junked cars? Car crushers flatten them into tiny cubes or slabs after the vehicle has been stripped of its recyclable parts. How do car crushers work? And is this a lucrative business?

When we think about the ways technology will change the way we drive, we often think about the systems in our cars. But there may be ways to improve the highways themselves. How will our roads change in the future?

Double-clutching used to be a common method to switch gears in manual-transmission vehicles. Learn what it means to double-clutch shift in this article.

To keep your wheels rotating at the same speed, you can manually lock your rear differential. Learn how to lock the rear differential in this article.

A taxi meter -- that little box next to the driver - is an impartial arbiter of time, distance and cost. Knowing how a taxi meter and taxi fares work can help you to be sure that you're treated fairly.

In 1924, General Motors opened the Milford Proving Grounds in Milford, Mich. -- the world's first dedicated automotive proving ground. So, what exactly are proving grounds and what do the automakers do there?

The first red-light cameras were installed more than a decade ago. But have they really helped to reduce the number of accidents at the intersections where they're used? Can a red-light camera save lives?

Each year, the Highway Loss Data Institute releases its list of the most stolen car makes and models in the United States for a given year. So which cars made 2010's top 10? Here's a hint: It's dominated by flashy, fully-loaded SUVs and pickup trucks.

Every 40 seconds, a car or truck is stolen in the United States. And nearly 25 percent of those are stolen by professionals who run illegal chop shops where mechanics dismantle cars and sell them for parts.

Buying a new car can be an intimidating experience. How do you know you're getting a good deal? How can you be sure you aren't making a crucial (and costly) mistake? These 5 tips might help.

Several states have created new laws to ban drivers from texting while operating a motor vehicle. But is there really any proof that texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving?