The Beach Boys song may have been all about “good vibrations”, but when it comes to cars vibrations are seldom, if ever, good. If you’ve owned a car long enough you have inevitably come across the problem of a rattling engine or strong vibrations when you rev the car, or even when idling. This is one of the most common problems to ail an aging or badly maintained car.
This is not the kind of problem, which presents itself out of the blue. It will creep up on you, with the vibrations getting a little stronger every day, till one day you feel that they will either rattle your brain out of place or make the car just fall apart.
Most of us from the nineties would remember the almost legendary commercial of Lexus talking about this very same problem. Desirous of making inroads into the luxury car market, Toyota Motor Co. aired a commercial, which showed fifteen champagne flutes being balanced on the hood of a Lexus LS 400. The car was shown to be running at more than 140 miles per hour with the engine revving, as the glasses stayed stock still on their perch. No vibrations!
The car was riotously successful in the luxury car market and made an important case for the demand of low vibrations in this segment. There can be a variety of causes for engine vibrations, but all of them, if left unchecked, can cause a great deal of damage.
Worn out or faulty sparkplugs can cause the car to misfire or not fire on every cylinder. This is referred to as engine missing. Installing new sparkplugs or solving compression issues can resolve this problem. Check your sparkplugs regularly, if any are dirty and worn, replace them, or give them a thorough clean-up.
Speed Sensitive Vibrations
If you find that your car is vibrating unnaturally at specific speeds, it is usually an out-of-balance wheel. If not, it could be a bent rim, an out-of-round rim or tire, an off-center wheel or hub, or an imbalanced driveshaft. Worn out shock absorbers or a loose part in the suspension or steering linkage can also cause this issue.
This problem usually presents itself at speeds above 45 mph. A simple bubble balancer can in most conditions solve the problem adequately. If the vibration problem does not go away even after rebalancing the wheels it is probably the vehicle’s balance problem and sending the car in for a tune-up would be the best option.
If your car vibrates on application of brakes then you probably have warped or damaged brake rotors. This causes the ideally lowered surfaces to rise and thus result in vibrations when the brake pads stop the rotor. If you find your car has this problem it would be best to see a brake specialist.
When you are idling at a red light, or parked with the engine on and feel strong vibrations you could have a broken vibration isolation mount.
The engine and transmission mounts, over and above securing the components, isolate the vibrating sensation and keep the car running smoothly. A collapsed mount greatly reduces the car’s ability to absorb vibration from the engine or transmission. Collapsed mounts can be the hardest to diagnose.
To do so correctly, have one person sit in the driver’s seat power braking while another checks for excessive motion among the mounts. This can be dangerous when done by novices. It is always a better idea to get the car checked by a mechanic.
If your car starts and drives fine, but begins to exhibit shaking after a short time you can try checking the air filters and fuel filters. If you find them clogged, then get them replaced.
Problems with the Axle Shaft
The axle shaft can get bent with time and can result in a very rough ride. Like all machinery, parts of the car face their own share of wear and tear. These problems can be identified if the intensity of the vibrations increases with your speed. Inspect the drive shaft as well in case it is damaged or bent due to the vibrations.
Your axle can also be damaged due to a crash; in which case make sure your car is thoroughly inspected by a mechanic. Damaged constant-velocity joints too, can cause shaking. If you find the boots and clamps around the axle to be secure and no lubricant is leaking out there is no problem. However, if you find the boots are torn, contaminants may be entering and damaging the joints. For cars with a front-wheel drive, a broken constant-velocity joint means buying new drive axles as well.
If your car shakes and rattles when starting from a dead stop, the vibrations can be caused by anything from loose shock absorbers, spring mounts, ball joints, stabilizer bars, control arm bushings, poorly hung exhaust systems to worn out vibration mounts. Sometimes exhaust rattles transmit through the chassis and feel like engine vibrations. It can even be a loose tire in the trunk rattling about.
There are a number of culprits for bad vibrations, shakes and rattles that your car seems to be making. Having it regularly maintained and serviced is one of the most effective ways to keep your car free of bone jarring vibrations. However, if you find your fifteen-year-old jalopy just doesn’t quit its vibrating, maybe it is time to get yourself a new car.
Kim Linhart is an industrial writer and experienced blogger and regularly writes for Service Rubber Group. When she’s not writing about autos and driving safety, Kim enjoys traveling with her husband and two lovely kids.
Witting by Tom Harkness
As written recently on the resqme blog the way we use phones has changed dramatically in just the past decade. Gone are the days of simply using it to talk with a friend or loved one. Now, we’re sending texts, picture messages, and emails all the time, with some of us doing so while driving. This is, as some of you surely know, an extremely dangerous activity with truly staggering statistics supporting the fact that drivers need to keep their eyes on the road—and off of their smartphones!
The Realities of Texting and Driving
If you are of the thought that too many people are texting/emailing and driving at the same time today, you’re not alone. According verizon wireless to, 89 percent of adults feel the same way and believe it should be outlawed. No surprise, then, that a majority of the United States—41 out of 50 states—has banned the practice. With good reason, as you are apparently 23 times more likely to get in an accident if you’re texting/emailing while driving. Why? Well, part of the reason is that, as Verizon notes, you end up driving blindly for (at least) 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, you’ll have gone the length of a football field while sending that text—so don’t do it. Put the phone down and focus on driving, you (and everyone else on the road) will be thankful that you did.
There’s An App For That
Going without your phone while driving doesn’t mean you need to ignore or lose communication with your contacts. Verizon actually teamed up with the Safely company to provide a free smartphone app for Android users. The way it works is simple: the Safely Go app automatically responds to any calls or texts you receive, which allows your contacts to know you are driving at the moment. As a result, you’re still “in touch” but also focused on the much more important task at hand: driving with your full attention. You can download the app <a href=”https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.safely.go.driver.safety.
What Else Can Be Done
Despite everything you can do to keep yourself from causing a collision, there’s no accounting for the very real possibility of an accident still occurring. With that in mind, it’s important to be properly prepared for such an incident. By having a resqme device nearby, perhaps even on your keychain, you will always be ready for an accident where getting out of your vehicle seems almost impossible. As reported by CBC, this was a reality for a Saskatchewan mom who drove her SUV into a pond. She had reached back to give her young child a snack when the car travelled off the highway and into the water.
She and her husband were prepared for exactly this situation, though, and had researched how to escape drowning vehicles. This led her to acquiring a resqme device, which she used to smash the window and safely exit the vehicle with her family. The woman told CBC News: “One of the first things we did when we got home, was I wanted to buy one for all of my friends and family. So we called around the, city, and you’d be surprised, nobody even knew what we were talking about.”
Oceanside, CA (September 2014)—Faith Hammes, 33, was leaving the Oceanside Mottino YMCA after a class when a situation began to unfold in the parking lot. A two year-old boy was sitting buckled in his car seat when his mother accidentally locked her car, leaving him, the car keys and her mobile phone inside.
Hammes recounted that the mother borrowed a mobile phone from a passerby to call 911 while they ran to the YMCA to ask for help. When the passerby returned, the mother was already off the phone and seemed very upset. She was told that an emergency crew would not be responding. At this point, the Oceanside Police Department was contacted, and two volunteer police officers were dispatched. Upon arriving at the scene, the volunteer officers approached the car and advised the distressed mother to call her insurance company.
LOCAL HERO. Faith Hammes, 38, with 8 year-old son Zion and 2 year-old daughter Sage.
Equally distressed as the mother, Hammes realized that even if the insurance company responded to the mother’s call, there was no guarantee someone would arrive in time to save the toddler. With the child already trapped in the car for 10 minutes in 90-degree heat, Hammes knew that every minute spent waiting was critical to his safe rescue.
“There were a lot of people standing around the car and trying to help,” Hammes recalled. “There were some parents, including the mom whose child was trapped in the car, who took turns trying to break the driver’s side window with a tire iron—with no luck.”
After watching the scene unfold from across the parking lot and realizing the mother would not be receiving help from law enforcement anytime soon, Hammes stepped into action.
She quickly retrieved a small car escape tool called resqme from her car’s glove box that she remembers buying for emergency situations such as this.
“I grabbed my two year-old daughter, Sage, and ran as fast as I could. All I could think about was the blistering heat inside the car, the time that must have elapsed (10 minutes or more) and the traumatic pounding of the tire iron on the window for the child,” Hammes said. “When I got back to the scene, I yelled ‘I have a tool, let me try!’ It took seconds for me to break and smash the back window opposite the toddler—I couldn’t believe how easy and effective a small tool like resqme could be!”
Once the driver’s-side front window was smashed, the door was unlocked and the boy was safely taken out of the car by his mother. Cheers and claps broke out around Hammes. “Both the mom and I burst into tears at that moment. I asked if everyone was okay and then focused on my daughter, knowing how scary this all must have been for her.”
The incident is one of several cases of children being left inside vehicles throughout the country. According to nonprofit KidsAndCars.org, 26 child deaths have been reported due to heatstroke while trapped in hot cars this year. In neighboring City of Vista, Hammes’ cousin, Brendan, who works as an engineer in the city’s Fire Department, confirmed that their department responds two to four times per month to calls about a child being trapped in a hot car.
While the month of September has officially been deemed “Child Passenger Safety Month” to raise public awareness about the proper way to safely secure children in car seats, there is no month devoted to educating parents and children on how to escape from a locked car on a hot day.
“Something needs to be done about this happening in our area,” Hammes said. “I am not going to rest until I am assured that 911 protocol will be different next time there is a family in need.”
Writing by Social Monsters
Remember how we used to use phones to talk to people? Now we use it for everything else, or at least that’s how it seems. Balancing your checkbook, paying bills, playing a game, surfing the Internet, there’s so much you can do with a smartphone. So why not use it for different emergencies as well? Here are just a few apps the can help prevent or deal with car accidents.
Preventing Car Accidents
A driver with a phone is four times more likely to get into a serious, if not fatal accident, claims Automotive Fleet. Statistics detailing horrific accidents caused by someone who was texting while driving have been released over and over, yet people keep doing it.
But, there’s an app for that. Textecution is an app designed to disable texting on the phone as soon as it recognizes that it’s traveling faster than 10 miles per hour. Texts cannot be sent or received during this time so you don’t have a choice but to focus on driving. It’s available for Android devices for $9.99.
Car Accident Navigation
There are roughly 10 million car accidents each year in the U.S. Because of this, apps like iWrecked have been released that help in case of one.
This app has many features that help to navigate a car accident. On the main screen you have separate labels such as Send Accident Report and Accident History. For example, if you get in an accident, you can take an unlimited amount of pictures of the damage and then send the accident report with the pictures to the insurance company. In addition, using GPS, the app provides you with nearby towing companies and taxis and gives you a fully detailed accident log to fill out. Plus, all emergency contact numbers are stored right on the screen.
For the future, the app is looking to add a Pro Version, which will include a GPS location of the accident and GPS maps that you can add to a report.
Built for iPhones, iRezQ is a road safety app that starts working when your car starts going over 15 miles an hour. Using adjusted algorithms and sensors already built into the phone, the app automatically monitors certain parameters and can determine if the person who has the phone was involved in a car accident. In that case, the app will notify emergency responders using its emergency alert system. It also can notify nearby traffic if they have the road safety app installed. And, of course, live operators are there to give assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This app is free at the iTunes Store
These safety apps also work for the occasional car accident that happens near water. If you frequently drive near the ocean or lakes, you might want to consider a water-proof phone in case of an accident. Using technology for games and bills is great, but make sure you have the right tools when it really matters.
Writting by Social Monsters
You’ve been in a car accident. What should you do next? Make sure you protect yourself as you deal with the insurance companies (and maybe doctors and lawyers). Here’s a guide to what goes on and how to handle it all:
Most cellphones today come equipped with high quality cameras that enable you to take pictures of the accident scene. You can’t be too cautious here; use video to capture the entire area and record any conversation you have with the other drivers (or at the very least, take notes).
Get names, contact information and testimonials from witnesses, even if they weren’t directly involved. Write down or record your version of the accident, while it’s still fresh in your mind. If the police become involved, make sure to get a copy of the police report once it’s filed.
Dealing With the Insurance Companies
Once again, document everything, especially conversations with insurance company representatives. Ask such questions as:
- Will the accident affect your premium?
- What does the insurance pay for?
- What if the at-fault driver doesn’t have sufficient coverage?
If You’re Injured
Seek medical advice, even if you don’t think your injuries are that bad. Often accidents can do damage that we aren’t aware of until later. Be sure to keep good records and take notes of everything. Get copies of the doctor’s notes, especially if it is an exam required by an insurance company (yours or theirs). If the injury causes you to miss work, get records from your employer and doctor to corroborate your story.
It doesn’t hurt to seek legal advice. Nearly all personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay a fee unless and until you win your case. For help finding a good lawyer, ask family and friends for recommendations or do an online search.
Taking Care of the Rest
If your car is in the shop or totaled, insurance will cover the repair bills or give you the current value of your car. If you need further compensation to cover medical bills and lost wages, your attorney will do his or her best to see that you get it. Judges in personal injury cases often award what’s known as a structured settlement, in which the award is spread out in regular payments over a set period of time. This is so you don’t run out of money to cover your expenses and bills. If you find you need to access a larger amount of your settlement money, you may be able to sell all or some of your future payments for a lump sum of cash now.
Most important, take care of yourself. Take the advice of the professionals you recruited and take the time to recover and stay healthy. Remember that help of all kinds is all around you, and you don’t have to face the situation on your own.
Make Safety Your Priority This Back-To-School Season with resqme®, alertme™, protectme™, and defendme™ Always by Your Side
Santa Barbara, CA (September 2014)—Summer is out and school season is in. As 22 million students are expected to attend colleges and universities, it is important to include lifesaving tools in every student’s checklist of back-to-school essentials. Accidents and crimes happen in and around many college campuses across the United State, seemingly moe and more each year. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Uniform Crime Report, there are about 3,000 campus-related violent crime incidents each year while an average of 2,700 teenagers aged 16-19 are killed and almost 282,000 suffer from motor vehicle-related accidents. Fortunately resqme, Inc. — a leading US developer of the latest safety technologies and tools—offers its line of lifesaving products for the college student of today: resqme® Car Escape Tool, alertme Stay Awake Device, protectme, Pepper Spray and defendme Personal Alarm.
resqme® Car Escape Tool: With an average of 400 deaths per year caused by vehicle submersion, resqme® Car Escape Tool helps students behind the wheel to quickly and safely escape from a sinking vehicle with its compact window-breaker and seatbelt-cutter. This keychain emergency rescue device features a concealed steel blade to swiftly cuts through seatbelts, and a spring-loaded spike to shatter window glass with one push—a perfect portable companion for drivers, both young and old.
alertme Stay Alert Device: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 1 in 6 fatal accidents involve drowsy driving or driving with impaired attention, decreased awareness, and slow reaction time.5 alertmeis a tool designed to alert tired drivers of their own drowsiness. The compact, easy-to-use device sits behind the ear and buzzes if the head nods unexpectedly—effectively alerting the driver to stop driving and pull off the road. The ergonomically-designed devise is ideal for students, helping prevent accidents on long drives, late night driving, or even long study sessions!
protectme Pepper Spray: At least 1 in 4 women will be the target of sexual assault during their college career.6 protectme Pepper Spray is an essential tool that helps students defend themselves from potential attackers. When sprayed, it irritates the eyes and lungs, causing pain and rendering the attacker immobilized, giving the intended victim time to escape. It is a small keychain size yet still sprays over 10 feet making it the perfect device to keep students safe from any potential violence this school year.
defendme Personal Alarm: As mentioned above, attacks on women at universities is a real threat, but not just to women. Attacks can happen at any time, but most often in a moment of vulnerability. With defendme, your student can walk back to the dorms at night in safety or any other situation where they feel threatened. Whenever you sense danger, simply pull on the clip of the alarm which will release and expel a loud alarm, drawing attention to yourself and scaring off any would be attackers.
“Back-to-school can be a stressful time among parents who worry about the safety and wellbeing of their children,” said Laurent Colasse, founder and President of resqme, Inc. “With our lifesaving tools, both parents and students will have the peace of mind knowing they are safe and protected. And because resqme tools are small, portable, and convenient to carry, they are a definite must-have back-to-school essential for every student.”
So for the millions of students heading to school this year, stay safe and be prepared with resqme, alertme, protectme, and defendme. Peace of mind has never been so easy and affordable.
About resqme, Inc. #1 in safety, resqme was introduced in 2003 by Laurent Colasse, French native and current Santa Barbara, CA resident, dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives and ensuring public safety. The company is committed to continuing its leadership in providing the latest safety technologies for drivers across the country. Proudly made in the USA, resqme is dedicated to educating drivers and sharing information that can save lives on the road When Seconds Count™.
 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (2013) “Back-to-School Statistics.” NCES.ed.gov/fastfacts  Business Insider (2012) “The Most Dangerous Colleges in America.” BusinessInsider.com  Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) (2014) “Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety: Teen Drivers: Fact Sheet.” CDC.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html  “Vehicle submersion: A review of the problem, associated risks and survival information.” Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine 2013: 84:498.
5National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) “Drowsy Driving & Automobile Crashes: NCSDR/NHTSA Expert Panel on Driver Fatigue and Sleepiness.” NHTSA.gov/people/injury/drosy_driving1/drowsy.html