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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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.

Fast and Loud: Paint Demo

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

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.

What is the four-stroke combustion cycle?

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

How to Use Jumper Cables

If you drive a car, know how to use jumper cables should just be second nature.

How Car Crushers Work

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?

How Automobiles Work

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.


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