Contributing Writer for The Rock Father. Pop Culture Fan. Music Fan. Dad. Hailing from the Los Angeles area, Mackie and his family recently relocated to the Midwest.
General Motors has announced they will be beginning regular production of a carbon-fiber cargo bed in the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali and Sierra AT4. This material has not been regularly used in automotive production before and GM hopes to apply it to other vehicle models in the future.
While vehicles rely on a lot of materials and substances to be manufactured and run properly, like steel, aluminum, and oil, which is produced in more than four billion metric tons around the world every year, carbon fiber is a durable and lightweight material that is typically not used in vehicles. But with more and more regulations regarding fuel economy being introduced, GM and other automakers are having to find ways to make their larger vehicles, like trucks, more efficient.
Truck beds are typically steel and even though stainless steel can contain more than 60% post-industrial recycled material, it's still quite heavy. Switching to the CarbonPro cargo bed will shave off 62 pounds compared to traditional steel. Furthermore, when the ability to get rid of bed liners is considered, almost 100 pounds can be lost. And although it's much lighter, it still has the same impact resistance of steel.
Not only is the new cargo bed lighter, but it can be designed differently too -- the carbon fiber can be produced with molded floor cavities to help secure motorcycles safely and add extra room for cargo.
GM has been fighting the high cost of carbon fiber by using a combination of as many as 13 different materials to help improve the fuel economy of their vehicles, as well as driving performance and the overall quietness of the truck.
Experimenting with different methods, GM has found a new way to use bonding and adhesion methods to work with the expensive material -- and the automaker plans to continue working on refining the method.
According to Mark Voss, engineering group manager for GM's pickup boxes, GM had to do a lot more development and testing that is usually needed for a standard steel bed -- GM has been working on the carbon fiber box for about eight years.
"Steel boxes have been around for 100 years; you don't have to do that level of developmental work on a steel box. Once you do the production design, you validate it [by the] normal process," Voss explained.
And during tests of their new product, GM was able to show just how much better the new bed is than steel options and even Ford's choice of aluminum. GM put their work to the test, throwing sledgehammers and cinder blocks onto the carbon fiber bed, their own pickup trucks with steel beds, and the F-150. Unfortunately for Ford, some of the objects pierced right through the F-120 bed. GM engineers recorded the tests, showing that the carbon fiber beds were barely impacted by the heavy objects.
With there being about six million car accidents every year, automakers are always striving to make their vehicles more durable and safe. And the use of carbon fiber for new truck beds will increase durability, safety, and sustainability all at once.
If you own a vehicle, you should understand the importance of keeping it clean and properly maintained. Simple maintenance tasks can help you keep your car in pristine shape, saving you time and money down the line. And seeing as how something like a good cleaning can remove about 70% to 90% of the plugged ash in your truck's DPF, there are a lot of simple maintenance tasks you should be doing regularly. Let's take a look at a few of these tips so you can keep your car in good shape.
Check Your Fluids
One of the easiest things you can do to keep your car in good condition is checking and changing the fluids regularly. Your engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluids should all be checked as needed for your car. If you fail to refill or replace fluids as stated in your vehicle's manual, your car could run into some serious problems. While stainless steel pipes can last more than 100 years, fluids in your car can get dirty and sludge-like, causing the vehicle to have to work harder to run. So changing the fluids regularly will ensure your car can run smoothly.
Get New Windshield Wipers
Your windshield should be kept clean and clear so you can see properly. After all, visibility is a key component of being able to drive safely. This is why you should consider not only cleaning your windshield, but replacing your windshield wipers, too. A lot of dirt and debris can accumulate on your windshield, which can hinder your ability to see -- removing this buildup is as simple as using some glass cleaner and a paper towel. And if you have old and ripped windshield wipers, you're not going to be able to properly see when it's raining or snowing. Replacing your wipers is a low-cost and easy task that can make a big difference when you're on the road.
Keep Your Engine Clean
If you don't fully understand the inner workings of your car, that's totally fine -- you can still keep the exterior of your engine clean and in good condition. While many people focus on keeping the exterior of their vehicle in good shape, especially with the possibility of it taking up to 100 small pushes before a dent can be removed, the condition of the exterior of your engine is important as well. Debris like grease and dirt can buildup and can do quite a bit of damage if not taken care of. So invest in a good cleaner (The Rock Father™ likes Tub 'O Towels) and give your engine a gentle but thorough cleaning.
All of these tasks can be done quickly and easily, even if you have little to no experience working on cars. So if you have been slacking on your car maintenance, consider completing these tasks to keep your vehicle in good shape.
Top Photo: Dinocar by Ryan McGuire
Americans have always and will always love sports. Though baseball once reigned supreme and was hailed as America's pastime, football as taken over in recent years. In fact, 37% of U.S. adults say that football is their favorite sport and baseball is at its lowest point ever, with only 9%.
Plenty of off-field drama has hurt the NFL's reputation recently, but baseball, rather than capitalize on the NFL's perils, is no stranger to off-the-field drama, either.
Every year, over 36 million kids around the U.S. play organized sports. Kids love playing soccer, baseball, basketball; even swimming is the fourth most popular sporting activity in the United States. Despite some recent controversy, one sport remains at the top of millions of Americans' list: football.
Last year alone, the number of people ages six and above who participated in tackle football amounted to roughly 5.22 million. Whether it's a little kid running around aimlessly on the field or a professional in his 10th season, at some point, every player's goal is to make the NFL Pro Bowl. People love watching their favorite NFL players compete against their other favorite players every year.
We're toward the end of holiday shopping madness. Across the country (and the web), people are fighting to find the best deals for toys, gadgets, and other must-have gifts before Christmas Eve. Buying for your spouse, your young children, and your siblings can be easy. But buying for a large adult son in his 20s or 30s? That's a little trickier.
Whether your daily driving consists of a two-hour commute to work or a twenty-minute errand run, saving a little money on gas can significantly impact your budget. With gas prices well over three dollars per gallon in some areas, a gallon saved is a gallon earned. And, as new studies continuously warn of the planet-wide dangers of CO2 emissions, there's never been a better time to make gas conservation efforts.
Though driving fewer miles is the best way to cut back on fuel consumption, for some commuters, driving less is simply not an option. Luckily, there are ways to conserve fuel even while behind the wheel.
If you'd like to increase the miles your car gets per gallon, try the following conservative driving tips: