Weekly auto rail, with tips on youngsters and speeding, a look at the best-braking vehicles and more.
Tip of the Week
Just one day after the premier of "Fast & Furious," a movie that spotlights the world of street racing, a mother and her 2-year-old child died in Charlotte, N.C., when their vehicle was caught in the middle of an illegal street race. A 13-year-old passenger in one of the racing vehicles also died, and the driver of that car now faces three murder charges, police say. It's the kind of tragedy that illustrates the need to get young would-be racers to pursue their interests safely -- off the streets and on a secure track instead, says Steve Meade, a Denver radio personality known as "Willie B." Meade co-stars on SPEED's "PINKS All Out" drag-racing lifestyle series, which will premier its third season in July.
"When a young person is about to participate in a street race, they're always going to have that one moment of reflection when they think, 'Should I really be doing this?' We want to catch them in that moment and let them know that there is a safe alternative," says Meade, who participates in the Colorado Highway Patrol's "Take It to the Track" program, a drive to encourage street racers to race on private tracks instead of public roads.
Parents who see the drive to race in their teens and young adult children should take steps to help ensure their passion is fueled in a positive, safe environment, Meade says. If the community has a local race track, parents can contact managers to see if a drag racing program is available. If not, they should encourage the track to found one. Local law enforcement can also be a resource for establishing and supporting safe racing programs in communities, he notes.
Here are the vehicles with the best dry braking results, according to ConsumerReports.org:
1. Porsche Boxster 2.7 (base)
2. Dodge Viper SRT10
3. Porsche 911 Carrera S
4. BMW Z4 3.0i
5. Mazda RX-8
6. Lotus Elise
7. Mercedes-Benz SLK350
8. BMW 135i
Did You Know
Gas prices were steady in April, with the average price of a gallon going up only about a cent from April 10 to April 24.
Question: I own a 1988 MB300E. On two occasions, nine months apart, the engine died out. When I went to restart the car, the starter did not engage to crank the engine over. On both occasions, after an hour, the engine started and ran fine. I replaced a lot of parts, including the fuel pump and regulator, battery and alternator, and many other parts. Do you have any ideas?
Answer: From your description, it sounds like a loss of 12-volt power in the electrical system. It could be anything from a poor ground connection to a connection at any electronic device. A good technician will need to check all relays and connections in the system and hope to stumble across the problem.
-- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist
GateHouse News Service