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Automobiles Then And Now Essay

1349 words - 5 pages

Automobiles Then and Now


The automobile has become an important part in our nations economy. In fact such an important part that is has called for many changes through out its history. One of the main changes is the body. In the 1950's the body was made mostly of steel. This was okay if you like bulky, heavy, gas guzzling cars. The main reason why steel was so widely used is that the steel industry was so huge and steel was so cheep that it was the logical thing to use. However with all the advances in plastics it did not make sense to use steel when a lighter more durable substitute became readily available and much cheaper. Steel is still used though today because of its strength and protection to the passengers.
Changes in the mechanical technology have affected the automobile over the last 50 years. In the 1950's the engines where high compression, produced a lot of horsepower, and used more fuel, often called “gas guzzlers.” This was not a big problem because gas was only around 20 cents a gallon. Back in the ‘50's m almost everyone who had a vehicle added to the engine to give it more horsepower. The carburetor was the main source of activity of the “shade tree” mechanic. This is the part of the engine which give it the fuel. The carburetor was a very delicate piece of machinery. It always required a bit of tinkering here a turn there. You could never get it just right. The fuel injection system fixed most of these problems. Since it has many fixed parts there is very little to do to it. The computer of the car controls it and maximizes fuel economy. This was a big help when emission standard where placed on cars. The only thing left to do was lower the compression of the engine in order to stow down the usage of fuel, thereby making the engine cleaner burning. With gas prices constantly on the rise the public should be happy that the vehicle manufacturers rose to the occasion and met the governments standards.
In the 1950's the automobile hade drum brakes all the way around. The problem with drum brakes was that they heated up easily and by heating up that would cause failure to the brakes, (Coates Del, Brake System 1). Drum brakes would mostly heat up when traveling down hill, as one would have to apply the brake often and there being no ventilation it was a accident waiting to happen. Most drum brakes where mechanically actuated (Coates, Brake systems 2). This means that the brakes where actuated by a cable and caused them to lock up very easily. The hydraulic brake was introduced in the 1950's (Coates Brakes Systems 3). This new braking system used fluid to apply pressure and greatly reduced lock up. Disc Brakes have become the premiere stopping system on cars today. Disc brakes do not trap water as drum brakes tend to do which causes them to slip and fail. Disc brakes also allow more surface area to accept pressure from the brake pads making stopping faster. In addition to disc brakes ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) was...

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