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What does your car really cost you?

Discussions about the economic and financial ramifications of PEAK OIL

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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 14 Feb 2017, 12:28:55

Outcast_Searcher wrote:-snip-

Two things occured to me:

1). If I want to pass and want a lower gear, I don't have to mash on the gas to get the car to downshift. I can just tap on the downshift paddle, and then pass, and then tap on the upshift paddle. Should save a little gas (I think -- I haven't tested that, as I don't pass that often).


Nope. If you downshift without mashing the throttle, the car slows, it doesn't speed up. The purpose of downshifting is to increase the torque multiplication by going to a lower gear, which allows quicker acceleration and faster passing. Best strategy for economy with an automatic is to allow it to think for itself.

Outcast_Searcher wrote:2). Downshifting to save gas via engine breaking. Similar concept to the regen braking mode in an electric -- not as good but the same basic idea.


Again, no. When you downshift, the engine goes to a higher RPM. If you have lifted off the gas pedal, the engine is running on the minimum gas used for the idle speed. Anything that increases RPM also increases gas consumption. Yes, the engine braking effect is greater, but so is gas consumption. Best strategy for economy is to lift off the gas and apply the brake pedal. Let your transmission shift as needed without any interference. Shifting gears under these light load conditions causes minimal transmission wear.

The purpose of paddle shifters is to increase acceleration performance by forcing the gear shift points higher than they would otherwise occur. The stress and wear on the transmission increase.

-snip-

The fact that you are thinking about optimizing performance via gear shifting indicates that you should be driving a manual transmission. Such gearboxes are cheaper to buy, have cheaper routine and repair service costs, and higher reliability - as long as the operator doesn't make a mistake that damages the gearbox.
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Wed 15 Feb 2017, 01:25:24

AdamB wrote:We are soft, but on the bright side, peak oil apocalypse hasn't been do bad that we can't drive around the country examining its horrifying effects, counting the cranes in the big cities, checking out the help wanted signs in various towns, observing the lack of breadlines or absence of rolling blackouts, making sure that cheap and plentiful fuel caused by peak oil is still available, that kind of stuff. :)

Using that logic Im sure you can say its snowing outside so global warming isnt happening either.
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Wed 15 Feb 2017, 07:30:12

KaiserJeep wrote:
Outcast_Searcher wrote:-snip-

Two things occured to me:

1). If I want to pass and want a lower gear, I don't have to mash on the gas to get the car to downshift. I can just tap on the downshift paddle, and then pass, and then tap on the upshift paddle. Should save a little gas (I think -- I haven't tested that, as I don't pass that often).


Nope. If you downshift without mashing the throttle, the car slows, it doesn't speed up. The purpose of downshifting is to increase the torque multiplication by going to a lower gear, which allows quicker acceleration and faster passing. Best strategy for economy with an automatic is to allow it to think for itself.

Outcast_Searcher wrote:2). Downshifting to save gas via engine breaking. Similar concept to the regen braking mode in an electric -- not as good but the same basic idea.


Again, no. When you downshift, the engine goes to a higher RPM. If you have lifted off the gas pedal, the engine is running on the minimum gas used for the idle speed. Anything that increases RPM also increases gas consumption. Yes, the engine braking effect is greater, but so is gas consumption. Best strategy for economy is to lift off the gas and apply the brake pedal. Let your transmission shift as needed without any interference. Shifting gears under these light load conditions causes minimal transmission wear.

The purpose of paddle shifters is to increase acceleration performance by forcing the gear shift points higher than they would otherwise occur. The stress and wear on the transmission increase.

-snip-

The fact that you are thinking about optimizing performance via gear shifting indicates that you should be driving a manual transmission. Such gearboxes are cheaper to buy, have cheaper routine and repair service costs, and higher reliability - as long as the operator doesn't make a mistake that damages the gearbox.


We have an idiot at work who thinks he is a race driver, drives out only auto truck in manual override- caused the head to crack & burnt plates in the gearbox- $30k AUD repairs in a 6 month old European Iveco with 70k km on it. Should not have needed any serious maintenance before 250k km. Just had to rent a truck for 6 weeks while parts were shipped to Europe, as this has become a warranty dispute. We all know what happened- the DH F'd it.
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby AdamB » Wed 15 Feb 2017, 12:37:51

Shaved Monkey wrote:
AdamB wrote:We are soft, but on the bright side, peak oil apocalypse hasn't been do bad that we can't drive around the country examining its horrifying effects, counting the cranes in the big cities, checking out the help wanted signs in various towns, observing the lack of breadlines or absence of rolling blackouts, making sure that cheap and plentiful fuel caused by peak oil is still available, that kind of stuff. :)

Using that logic Im sure you can say its snowing outside so global warming isnt happening either.
Ignorance must really be bliss


What does LOGIC have to do either the ridiculous outcome of claimed peak oils of yesteryear, or the horrors unleashed by global warming in the form of, as you've noted, cold and snow, and the recent longest stint in 130 years of no hurricanes in the Gulf?

https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/ne ... -of-mexico

The version of logic I use is peak oil logic, which strikes me as completely appropriate here, even if it doesn't work anywhere else because...well...you know...most folks know better?
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Thu 16 Feb 2017, 05:29:51

Its the year of the alternative truths
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Thu 16 Feb 2017, 15:34:35

KaiserJeep wrote:The fact that you are thinking about optimizing performance via gear shifting indicates that you should be driving a manual transmission. Such gearboxes are cheaper to buy, have cheaper routine and repair service costs, and higher reliability - as long as the operator doesn't make a mistake that damages the gearbox.


First, thanks for all the input, KJ.

Though I might like to drive a manual, my intermittent painful joints make that a bad idea. I can have an episode creep up on me with little warning. Sometimes it's difficult for me to drive an automatic, much less a manual.

KaiserJeep wrote:Again, no. When you downshift, the engine goes to a higher RPM. If you have lifted off the gas pedal, the engine is running on the minimum gas used for the idle speed. Anything that increases RPM also increases gas consumption. Yes, the engine braking effect is greater, but so is gas consumption.


The one thing I'm not so sure about (re engine braking) is that the engine consumes gasoline proportional to the engine speed, IF you have your foot off the gas.

First, the electronic fuel consumption monitor always quickly goes to whatever the minimum fuel consumption rate (i.e. max mpg) number programmed into the chip, when you take your foot off the gas. So, for example, if I take my foot off the gas a long block or a couple short blocks before a stop light or a stop sign and coast, it will stay on 60 or 99 or whatever mpg is the max for the chip. This is regardless of what speed I am going (and the RPM's). Are you telling me the chip is wrong?

Also, according to "car dudes" on the internet in car discussions, they say that in modern cars that the car is consuming ZERO gasoline in such circumstances, and the engine is turning over from momentum (resulting in engine braking).

(I'm assuming the chips (unlike the "Eco light" are more far more sophisticated than just measuring pedal pressure).

I have no problem doing whatever is best for the car. I'd just like to understand the fuel consumption vs. engine braking when I coast to a stop for efficiency, which is my habit when practical in city driving.
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Fri 17 Feb 2017, 05:43:29

MD is wrong, KJ is right. Ask any auto gearbox mechanic.
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby Revi » Fri 17 Feb 2017, 08:34:33

Some of the best mileage is with automatic transmissions nowadays. The prius is an example. I drive my wife's Honda Fit a lot and I find that the cruise control helps with mileage. It also helps me not to get tickets!

I think the figure for an average car in the US is now around $9000 a year. That includes paying for it, etc.

It's hard for a lot of people to scrape that much up nowadays, and I have noticed that a lot of younger people are living without cars. They take a taxi, walk, etc.

The age of the individual car is coming to an end soon enough. We aren't going to like it, but we don't seem to be adapting to the demise very well. I would like to see more mass transit options even in small towns.
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Fri 17 Feb 2017, 09:21:03

Obviously not paying attention- the argument against automatic transmission is about long term total cost, which will always come out cheaper for a well driven manual.
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby yellowcanoe » Fri 17 Feb 2017, 11:07:08

SeaGypsy wrote:Obviously not paying attention- the argument against automatic transmission is about long term total cost, which will always come out cheaper for a well driven manual.


My guess would be that the newer dual clutch automatic transmissions are more complex than conventional automatic transmissions and will be more expensive to maintain over the life of the car. They should be more fuel efficient than a manual transmission as they have 9 or more speeds as well as using a clutch to transmit power instead of a torque converter. Some vehicles offer a six speed manual transmission and I think that is the upper limit that anyone would want in a manual transmission. If an automatic transmission can offer better fuel economy than a manual transmission that eliminates one of the major benefits of a manual transmission.

The only problem I ever had with a manual transmission was when a metal plate underneath the shift stick rusted out. That was a pretty inexpensive repair.
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby jedrider » Fri 17 Feb 2017, 12:56:35

Our Toyota Sienna Van, our first automatic actually, has never had a transmission problem with 120K miles now. We've taken it everywhere, terrain wise.

Manuals usually require a new clutch at 90K miles.

However, if a problem did ever occur on an automatic, I presume it is a very big expense.
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 17 Feb 2017, 13:59:35

Periodic clutch replacement depends more than anything else on driver habits. I would not be surprised if my 2003 Jeep Wrangler requires a clutch replacement at 100,000 miles, for example. That is because even though I prefer manual transmissions, I drive that Jeep in extreme offroad conditions, using the clutch as a manual traction control:
Image
As for the relative gas mileage, today's automatics typically offer more gears and a higher overdrive ratio than do manual transmissions, and have "locking torque converters" that end the slippage that formerly compromised an automatic in the highest cruising gear - the autos are the newly crowned kings of maximum gas mileage. It takes a really expert driver with a manual, driving in just the right variable slope terrain, to best an auto transmission in efficiency.

Not so long ago (2013), on a trip to Moab UT I achieved 23 mpg, in a heavy square-shaped modified vehicle that was in stock form rated 15 mpg city, 19 mpg highway. There is no secret, the 33.1" tires I had fitted in place of the original 30.7" factory tires had effectively "geared up" the 5th or overdrive gear from 0.78:1 to 0.72:1 (0.78 x 30.7/33.1). My highest mileage tank ever was produced by accelerating gradually, then maintaining a constant speed in the early morning on a level straight desert highway, using the cruise control. The Jeep was heavily loaded with camping gear and I did use the A/C when the ambient air climbed above the 80 degree mark.

Yes, I admit engineers are obsessed with measurements and numbers.
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby evilgenius » Sat 18 Feb 2017, 12:56:24

I think automatics are better for off road. They creep over things better. Being lazy, I enjoy the ease of an automatic on the open road, but prefer a stick. I can usually get a couple miles per gallon more with a stick than what the car was rated at. I like that better than the ease of driving an auto in traffic. Automatics get the advertised mpg. The best reason for downshifting with a manual transmission is not to slow the car down with the engine but to be in a gear that you can accelerate with should you run into a problem that requires picking up speed. I do use the engine to slow down, but you can't forget about the brake. I think the trick is to be smooth about it, not forceful. You don't want to jam it down a gear. You want to shift into the lower gear after you've either braked first or let off on the gas and slowed some. You use the engine to finish the job, not to do the job. I think KJ is right about driver habits making all the difference. If you have the feel for it you can drive a manual transmission for a very long time without ever having to do any work on it, except change the fluids. Honestly, I've had more trouble with the synchros going out on a manual transmission than ever needing a clutch. I think that's been because the people who owned the car before I did didn't take very good care of it. I think a lot of people fail on the routine maintenance front when it comes to transmissions, and this is worse for the car when done with an automatic. Bad synchros are annoying when trying to go fast, but what can happen with a poorly maintained automatic can be undriveable. If I buy a used car and don't know what kind of maintenance was done I will change the fluids in the transmission, and the filter if it was an automatic. Shops these days want you to use their machine that sucks the fluid out and replaces it. They don't change the filters anymore. I'd rather change the filter if I don't know if it's ever been done. If I've changed it before then that kind of shop service is ok. It's more expensive than you need to pay, however. People don't realize it, but automatic transmission fluid is cheap compared to the price of a shop service. You can change the fluid, run the car for a little while, and then change the fluid again far more cheaply than going to a shop.
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Re: What does your car really cost you?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 18 Feb 2017, 13:17:38

I noted when I was teaching offroad driving at the local 4x4 club that new drivers improved faster with an automatic. It simply demands more skill to drive off-road with a manual transmission. Note however that the most challenging terrain and the most extreme angles are difficult with an automatic, because when you uncover the fluid pickup in the transmission sump, it sucks air and totally loses drive. That same 4x4 club has developed a series of mods for the Jeep Wrangler's auto transmission, and will probably end up manufacturing a new transmission sump with modified baffles and new fluid pickups some day.

Until then, they have been making do by overfilling the transmissions. This risks blowing tranny fluid past some seals. There are a couple of obstacles at the nearby Hollister Hills SVRA where you can tell from a quarter mile away that a Jeep has an automatic, when the overfilled transmission drips out the dipstick tube onto a hot exhaust, causing a puff of white smoke from underneath the Jeep.
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