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.

Learn More

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 Washes Work

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?

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.

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?

What do you think highways will look like in 2050?

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?

How do you double clutch shift?

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.

How do you lock the rear differential?

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.

How Taxi Meters Work

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.

How Automotive Proving Grounds Work

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?

Do red-light cameras save lives?

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?