Safety and tech we take for granted

But imagine a time where parking sensors didn’t exist and the biggest development in terms of safety was seat belts.

It’s the past developments of features like the seat belt and even starter motors that without those discoveries, wouldn’t have led on us to modern day advances like stop/start, cruise control and even starting the engine from your own home.

Let’s have a look at the motoring inventions that have paved the way.

Starter Motors

Before the starter motor, most cars would need to be hand cranked. Not always as easy as it sounds. Get it wrong and a broken wrist or even a broken arm could be the result.

It was Clyde J. Coleman who invented and patented the first electric starter in America in 1903. In 2018, remote starters are proving more and more popular, so that you can start you car from inside your house to warm everything up or get the air-con working. Just remember that you need to get in and actually drive it.

More standard engine features include start/stop technology which allows the car to come to complete stop, saving fuel when stationary.

Tyres

We take a smooth ride for granted today, but wooden spoked wheels with metal rims were what the first cars rode on.

It was John Dunlop in 1887 who first developed practical tyres for his son’s bicycle. In 1890 he was manufacturing car tyres from a factory in Belfast and it was in 1946 that Michelin invented the radial tyre. Today the tyre choice is enormous with run-flat tyres and nitrogen gas filled tyres becoming more common place, along with tyres specifically for summer and winter, improving handling and stopping distance all year round.

With the developments of tyres, new safety features like Brake Assist Systems can rely not only on cameras and radar technology but the reliance on the tyres themselves.

Seat Belts

It was following World War II that a greater focus on car safety began. Car design slowly changed, and during the 1950s seat belts became an optional extra with more and more manufacturers. It was after the Saab GT 750, displayed at the 1958 New York Motor Show featuring seat belts as standard that the practice became commonplace.

In the UK advertising encouraged drivers and passengers to use them on every journey, and in 1983, it became law for drivers and front seat passengers to belt up. Today, all passengers need to wear seat belts with many coming with ISOFIX points making fitting child seats much easier.

But there is a down side to all this new technology. A recent survey revealed that it is evolving faster than the typical driver’s understanding.

It highlights the importance of a good dealer, who’s willing to spend the time with you when you buy the car (and perhaps at a later date), to take you through all that amazing tech.

But as we’ve seen, this new technology can help make driving easier and safer, and is definitely here to stay.

Dates that changed the motor industry

1903

Before car dealerships and motor supermarkets became the norm, if you wanted to view all the latest new models you needed to visit the British International Motor Show. First held at Crystal Palace, London. The same year that the speed limit was raised from 14 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour.

This was also the year that driving licences were first introduced at a cost of 5 shillings, 25p in today’s money.

1904

One of Britain’s most iconic car manufacturers, Rolls-Royce Limited, was formed by Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce.

1907

With 25,000 black cabs in London, it’s easy to forget a time when they weren’t around. This was the year that cabs with meters first began operating in London.

1920

Jumping ahead a few years, Motor Vehicle Excise Duty, otherwise known as car tax, began for the 1 million drivers that were on the road in Britain. Small numbers compared to the 31.3 million cars licensed for use in the UK in March 2018.

1925 – 1935

Considering the number of drivers on the road, it wasn’t until this 10 year period that 3 important aspects of road safety were introduced. Firstly in 1925, the first three-colour traffic signal was installed in London, in 1931 the Highway Code was launched and in 1935 the compulsory driving test was introduced.

1958

Travelling the length and breadth of the UK may be time consuming but compared to 1958 when the first motorway opened, it’s pretty simple.

1960

The MOT test was introduced for cars 10 years old.

1967

The Road Safety Act of 1967 introduced the first maximum legal blood alcohol or drink driving limit but it wasn’t until 16 years later in 83 that it became law for drivers and front passengers to wear seatbelts.

1996

61 years after the driving test, the theory driving test was introduced.

2017

An electric driverless car was tested in public for the first time in Milton Keynes.

The future looks very exciting for the world of cars and we’re looking forward to being a part of it.

Car DIY jobs you can do at home

Clean Everything Meticulously

Cleaning a car is more than just washing and waxing its exterior. Sadly, most people do not clean their car thoroughly enough which can cause rust and various mechanical issues. However, it isn’t just the mechanics you need to consider when you’re cleaning your car. Just like beauty, it’s what’s inside that counts, especially under the bonnet. The longer that you spend cleaning your car, the longer that you effectively spend inspecting it and finding issues that you can resolve cheaply and effectively, without the need for a mechanic.

Scrubbing Up the Insides

You may love the way that your car looks on the outside, but don’t forget that you’ll spend the majority of your time inside it. Small, simple changes can make the world of difference, and even a cheap new trim can vastly improve the interior if it is fitted well.

The dashboard in particular will suffer from wear and tear over a lengthy period of time and, as a result, it could hinder your ability to drive properly. If the dashboard pad is faded, consider repainting or dyeing it. After all, you’re going to spend a lot of time staring at it. 

Finally, consider the seat fabrics as well as any mats or flooring fabrics. As you get in and out of the car constantly, the fabric or leather will rip and strain, wearing away over time. Simply changing the floor mats and even shampooing the seats could make all the difference.

 

Seal, Waterproof and Safeguard

On a rainy day, your car is a safe haven that protects you from the horrors of the outside world. However, over time the seal that surrounds your doors can wear away. In the short term, this will only cause limited problems and you may only notice a little bit of wind when you drive. But, as time passes by, these gaps will only grow, and rain will soon start to get in.

The rubber strips that you need for this task are incredibly cheap but, admittedly, the task of replacing them is time consuming and somewhat frustrating. It is, however, well worth it in the long run.

Repair Damaged Paintwork

When it comes to making your car look as beautiful as the day that it first left the production line, touch-up paint is your best friend. Scratches, scrapes and chips are all commonplace, no matter how careful your driving is.

But be wary of touching up the paint too often as your paintwork will become uneven and patchy (especially if you do not have an exact colour match). Use it sparingly and only when a scratch is noticeable. As a general rule of thumb, it is never as bad as it looks anyway.

 

Wheels and Tyres

Getting a higher level of performance from your tyres can be as easy as making sure that they’re correctly inflated. This may sound simple, but it is something many car owners forget, and their vehicles suffer as a result.

Your car’s tyres are central to its success, improving the handling, stopping distance and performance. Tyre maintenance is simple and constantly monitoring their tread and checking for punctures is the best way to prevent any accidents.

So, there we have it, simple ways that you can maintain your classic at home; all without the need for an expensive mechanic.