An Overview of Car Airbags

For all we know, car airbags are one of the most effective protective measures which help reduce the impact of an accident on the passengers. As a matter of fact, it has been reported that fatalities were reduced by up to a whopping 52 percent in the case of both belted drivers with frontal airbags as well as SUVs equipped with side airbags.

Functioning of Airbags

In every automobile, facilitated with airbags, there is a sensor with the ability to detect a collision. In the event of a collision, the sensor sends an electric signal to the airbag storage. The signal reaches an igniter compound which gets heated up to result in the decomposition of sodium azide present in the compartment. In addition, the heat leads to the filling up of the airbag with nitrogen. All of this happens in an incredibly small duration of 0.03 seconds, and within 0.05 seconds of the collision, the inflated airbag forms a buffer between the occupants of the car and the steering column/dashboard.

Advantages of Airbags

While it has been pointed out at the decline in fatality rate due to the presence of airbags, let us delve deeper to understand some other advantages that they entail:

• Airbags prove to be highly effective in protecting the passengers from any significant head, neck or spine injury by offering these parts with sufficient cushioning.

• Airbags limit the distance that the head of the passenger hurls forward, thereby reducing the risk of injury to the head.

• Airbags act as a protective wall between the passenger and the windshield and windows of the car, thus protecting the passengers from getting ejected from the car.

Limitations of Airbags

• Albeit in very few cases, airbag deployment has resulted in the ignition of petrol/diesel fumes. This happens as a result of the explosion of the igniter element. This may lead to injuries and severe burns.

• The deployment of airbags is known to reach incredibly high speeds of up to 200 mph, and can, therefore, result in severe fractures or internal injuries as a result. This is especially the case when the driver’s body is too close to the steering column.

• For the airbags to be truly effective, it is essential that vehicles have both, front as well as side airbags.

Tips Pertaining Airbags

• You must always invest in a car that offers both, front as well as side airbags.

• You should always use your seat belt, as airbags prove to be more effective when deployed on a belted passenger.

Safe Loading and Towing Your Trailer

We must admit that, nowadays the load transportation is improbable without having trailers. We are faced with a huge choice of trailers; with different shapes, sizes and colours. Do you know which is the best choice for you? If you already have a trailer, or you are considering of buying one, than you should know the following guidelines for proper loading and towing.

Is your trailer loading safely?

Each trailer has its own max safe loaded weight. Over drafting that weight can cause damaging the towing vehicle, brakes, wheels or engine. The max load that the vehicle can carry, can be calculated when you subtract the unloaded weight from the max safe loaded weight.

The loads have to be arranged safely. They cannot distract the driver or hurt anyone. The objects` height should be as low as possible. Arrange loads so they don`t project outside the body of the vehicle. If the loads extend more than 200mm beyond the sides of the trailer, then you must attach flags or standard hazard warning panels. All loads should be properly restrained so they can`t shift around while the vehicle is moving. If you need to use lashing to secure the load – fasten it to the vehicle using as many lashings as required. A minimum of 2 lashings should be used to prevent the load from twisting, rotating and slewing.

Do you need to cover the load? If it may be affected by air flow or by the motion of the vehicle, then yes, you have to cover it.

Is your trailer towing safely?

Every light vehicle and trailer combination must be capable of stopping within a distance of 7 metres from a speed of 30 km/h. This means that the maximum allowable weight of a non-brake trailer is limited by the weight and braking ability of the vehicle being used to tow it.

The lights and the brakes are 2 important components that a trailer has to have. A trailer that is more than 2 metres wide must have one pair of side lights, stop lamps and at least one red tail light. The letters and numbers on the registration plate must be lit by a white light. It is important because you don`t want to confuse the other drivers about which way the trailer is facing. You do not want to endanger them.

The brakes should be in good working order and placed on both wheels. There are 3 types of brakes:

– Direct service brake system allows the driver of the towing vehicle to directly control the trailer brakes from the driving position. On the other hand, the indirect system causes the trailer to push against the vehicle and this force indirectly controls the trailer’s brakes;

– Breakaway brakes will apply themselves automatically if the trailer is accidentally disconnected from the vehicle;

– Parking brakes are useful for holding the trailer and they are applied by hand.

Regular maintenance of the trailer is very important. The wheels pressure has to be checked, and to identify any sign of their damaging. Complete working of the lights and cleaning them occasionally. Tow mechanisms must be well lubricated. No matter how good you are at towing, you can never tow a badly maintained trailer well and safe.

Understanding Engines: How A Diesel Engine Works

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between a petrol engine and a diesel engine? Besides the noise difference you hear when the diesel engine is running, there is a greater difference.

In a diesel engine, the fuel is sprayed into the combustion chamber with an injector nozzle. The air in each chamber has to be placed under extremely high pressure so that it is hot enough to ignite. Diesel on its own is not flammable so it has to be put under some kind of force.

Many people turn the ignition on before driving the car in order to get the engine warmed up. This might be useful in extremely cold weather conditions. Turning the key in the ignition system is the start of the whole process. Once the key is turned, fuel gets injected into the cylinders under immense pressure. This allows the air to heat on its own.

Previous versions of diesel engines needed glow plugs to get the gases heated up for an efficient drive. Nowadays, the gases or air heats up so quickly that glow plugs are not as necessary as before, however, these plugs are still there to control the emissions.

The diesel fuel will then pass through filters to be cleaned before it gets to the injector nozzles. It is necessary to maintain filters as contamination is common with this type of fuel and clogging may occur.

Within the fuel injector, a high and constant pressure of 23 500 psi needs to be applied whilst it releases the fuel into the cylinders. Fuel gets sprayed into the chambers with the Engine Control Unit (ECU). This ECU will determine the pressure that needs to be applied for the spraying process.

Most diesel engines have a turbocharger installed for greater power and pressure. The turbocharger also saves on the amount fuel that gets used in one cycle. With a turbocharger installed, the power of the diesel engine gets increased by over forty percent.

Diesel is made up of kerosene (which ignites at a low temperature), oil (which lubricates and seals any grooves that might affect movement), ether (which has a low ignition temperature), and an ignition improver which is often Amyl Nitrate.