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.


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How to Restore Your Car's Faded Black Trim

Is your car's deep black trim now a dingy gray? You can change that with a little elbow grease and a few hours of your time.

What's the Secret Behind the Numbers on the Interstate Signs?

Why is one road named I-5 while another is I-480? We take a closer look at the digits on those red, white and blue shield-shaped signs.

How to Keep Your Car Running While You're Sheltering in Place

It's important to exercise during quarantine to keep your body in shape. The same goes for your car. We'll tell you what to do to keep it running smoothly.

Maintaining a Car's Matte Finish Is Easier Than You Think

We're here to debunk the myth that matte finish paint is super- high maintenance. It just needs proper upkeep to truly shine.

Can You Hotwire a Late-model Car?

Is hotwiring a car as easy as it looks in those heist flicks? Yes and no. We'll explain.

Do You Need to Wash Your Car's Undercarriage?

You might be a stickler about washing your car every week. But if you're not washing your car's undercarriage at least a few times a year, you may as well not wash your car at all.

Old Car City: The Junkyard Turned Photographer's Paradise

HowStuffWorks heads to Old Car City to check out owner Dean Lewis' incredible collection of classic junk cars and folk art, including thousands of pieces of Styrofoam cup art.

Do Today's Cars Still Need Tuneups?

Don't let your mechanic fool you. Most late-model cars are super-advanced and don't require this service.

Is the Autobahn Headed to California?

One California legislator hopes so and introduced legislation to have highways with no speed limits.

Do You Have to 'Break In' a New Car?

Your new shoes aren't at their most comfortable until you break them in. Does the same hold true for your new car?

Your Car's Steering Wheel Is Totally Nasty

The interior of your car is a breeding ground for bacteria. But it's your steering wheel that is the dirtiest surface around.

The Car Cupholder Craze Is Out of Control

Does anybody really need 19 cupholders in their car? Automakers seem to think so.

Can You Jump-start a Hybrid Car?

You sure can, on many models. You just have to locate the right battery.

Audi's New Cars 'Talk' to Nearly All Tolls

Could this new technology prompt the country's toll authorities to all grow up, agree on a mutually beneficial business model and let drivers use one system across the board?

How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

Some people love to do it, others hate it, but washing your car could add years to its life.

Ford Robutt Mimics Motions of Human Bottom

Robotic testing can help ensure products — like chairs and seats — will last.

Here's What 'New Car Smell' Actually Is

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

What Are Those Squiggles of Tar on the Road?

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

Drivers Who Merge at the Last Minute May Be Annoying, But They're Right

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.

Is 'new car smell' toxic?

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?

How Lemon Laws Work

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.

Diesel Fuel Storage Regulations

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.

Should You Wash Your Car Naturally with Rain?

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.

Could your car get a computer virus?

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

What is the redline of an engine?

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