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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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.

By Alexander Davies

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.

By Eric J. Leech, Planet Green

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

By Chris Warren


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

By Contributors

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

By Contributors

If you drive a car, you need to know how to use jumper cables.

By Sarah Gleim

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?

By Jeff Tyson


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?

By Ed Grabianowski

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.

By Marshall Brain

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?

By Jonathan Strickland

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.

By Contributors


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.

By Contributors

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.

By Jamie Page Deaton

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?

By Eric Baxter

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.

By Matt Sailor


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?

By Christopher Neiger

Despite modern forecasting techniques, wind remains a fickle element. It's seasonal, dependent on storms and highly variable. Can we really count on wind to deliver steady, reliable energy for our cars?

By Eric Baxter

The word "autobahn" conjures images of top-speed thrills on smooth stretches of highway in the Bavarian heartland. The truth is, most German drivers simply consider it a way to get from point A to point B.

By Eric Baxter

Automotive recalls are often front-page news -- and for good reason. Recalls warn consumers that a specific product poses a potential threat. What do you do if your car is recalled?

By Scott C. Benjamin


You probably pass by several gas pumps on your daily commute, but you never pay them any attention -- until you need some gas, of course. Here's everything you'd ever want to know about them.

By Christopher Lampton

Most consider Leonardo da Vinci the ultimate Renaissance man. But did this 13th-century genius have the foresight to sketch the basic principle for today's cars?

By John Fuller

Cars are a relatively recent phenomenon. They've only been around for a little over a century, yet they've made a huge impact on U.S. culture. How did the car become so important in American life?

By John Fuller

World speed records are kept for just about everything that goes. Here are records for some of the world's fastest vehicles on land and sea.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.


Sometimes a great idea just doesn't pan out when the rubber hits the road. Check out our list of 8 automotive lemons and learn why they flopped.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

As illustrated by the hundreds of individual parts for sale at your local Pep Boys Autozone or Napa Auto Parts it takes a lot of machinery to make cars work. Learn about the key parts.