Driver-assistive safety features aren’t just becoming more and more prevalent each and every year, but also more advanced. The more that technologies improve, the more advanced the safety features manufacturers employ in their vehicles become. That’s how something like Bird’s Eye View is possible, giving drivers an almost complete 360-degree view of their car’s surroundings at any given moment. We wanted to focus on Toyota’s Bird’s Eye View for this week’s How’s This Work, but we don’t think we’d be able to explain it as well as hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth. So watch the video below, and if you have any questions feel free to give us a call here at the sales desk.
[ LAST WEEK: How does a differential work? ]
What is Bird’s Eye View?
If you’ve ever been shopping for a vehicle of any kind, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of a feature called a differential. If you’ve seen this word before and have been curious as to what exactly it means, you’re in luck – because weren’t going to cover this important feature in this week’s How’s This Work!
[ LAST WEEK: How do heated, cooled and ventilated seats work? ]
What is a differential?
For starters, we’ll give you a general definition of what a differential is. It’s a mechanical device called a gear train, outfitted with three different shafts in which one of the shafts has the average angular velocity of the other two shafts angular velocities. Yeah, that’s a confusing sentence. When it comes to vehicles, the differential is a device that’s quite important to allowing you to make turns.
Let us explain. If you have a rear wheel drive vehicle, your vehicle has two drive wheels. In order for you to make a turn, each of those back wheels need to turn at different speeds, because one wheel has to travel a further distance than the other. But wheels on the same axle turn the same speed, so you need a differential in order to let those wheels rotate at different speeds.
Without the differential equipped, your inside wheels will spin to fast as you make a turn. This could not only result in wear and tear on your tires, but also hinder your handling. Make sure that your vehicle has a differential by giving us a call at the sales desk.
When a vehicle can make ordinary features like seats seem exciting, then you know that vehicle is doing something right. For this week’s How’s This Work, we thought we’d take a closer look at one way manufacturers can do just that – make seats seem more exciting than they actually are. We’re talking about heated seats, cooled seats and ventilated seats. What do they mean? How do they work? We’ll fill you in.
[ LAST TIME: How does the Hands-free Liftgate work? ]
Differences Between Heated, Cooled & Ventilated Seats
Heated seats are pretty self-explanatory. Much like the heated blanket you keep warm with on cold winter nights, heated seats utilize a heating element formed into a long strip between the upholstery and the actual seat. When you flip the heated seats switch, an electrical current heats up the element strip making your seat nice and warm.
Heated seats were easy to crack, but what about those hot summer days when you don’t even want to move for fear of melting? That’s where ventilated and cooled seats come into play. While neither is quite a prevalent as heated seats, they are starting to make a rise in the industry. Both work similarly to heated seats, as in they build things right into the seat beneath the upholstery. In the case of Ventilated seats, it’s just a system of fans. This creates airflow and should cool you down a bit on those hot days.
Cooling seats, on the other hand, utilizing a cooling element between the fans, making the increase in airflow work even better as it blows cold air right through the fabric. If you’re interested in finding out which vehicles are equipped with these, give us a call.
How does the Hands-free Liftgate work?
Today we’re going to look at a technology that certainly comes in handy, and while it might seem obvious how it works some people might not know. So, for this week’s How’s This Work, we’re taking a look at the Hands-free Liftgate. But we won’t just focus on the hands-free part, we’ll take a look at everything Toyota’s foot-activated power liftgate is capable of to give you a better idea of just how incredible it is.
[ LAST WEEK: How does HD Radio work? ]
What is the Hands-free Liftgate capable of?
Obviously, the hands-free liftgate can open and close without the use of your hands. That’s probably the coolest thing that it’s capable of, and the one that comes the most in handy. If you’re ever approaching your vehicle with arms full of grocery bags or gym equipment, then all you have to do is wave your foot underneath the center of the rear bumper, and the liftgate will open up on its own.
Likewise, once you get home and park in your garage or wherever it is you park, and you want to get everything in the house on one go, you can fill up your arms again and close the door with another wave of your foot.
Another cool thing that you can do with the hands-free liftgate is program its height, as the liftgate is height adjustable. Whether you’re not quite tall enough to reach it at its full extent, or you have to park in a cramped space, you can program the height to stop wherever you want, and that’s where it will stop no matter how you open it up.
If you’re interested in finding out which vehicles have the hands-free liftgate available, give us a call.
How does HD Radio work?
We are living in the high-definition age. HD TV was introduced in North America in the late ‘80s and made mainstream by the mid-to-late ‘90s, but it didn’t become what it is today until the early-to-mid ‘00s. Now it seems like new technologies and advancements are introduced every year. Including the spreading of “HD” from television into other mediums, like radio. HD Radio is a feature that has become pretty standard in vehicles across the automotive market, but it might not be completely clear what exactly that means, so we thought it would make the perfect subject for this week’s How’s This Work.
[ LAST WEEK: How do Bilstein Shocks work? ]
What is HD Radio?
With the introduction of satellite and streaming radio services like Sirius and Pandora respectively, the traditional radio medium isn’t quite as popular as it once was. However, people still love listening to music in their vehicle. So traditional radio has taken steps toward advancing the medium as well, to continue to compete with these other audio services found in automobiles. The biggest step is, of course, HD Radio.
Rather than broadcasting radio via simple analog signals like in the past, HD Radio allows radio stations to broadcast digitally just like HDTV. The digital signal is now transmitted on frequencies both above and below the standard analog signal, allowing for the broadcast to be picked up in traditional analog radio sets and in HD on HD Radio. Being broadcast digitally is also what allows radio stations to attach information to their signal, which then shows up as information on your display audio screen, like artist and song information.
If you’re interested in learning more about HD Radio or finding out which vehicles it’s available in, give us a call!
How do Bilstein Shocks work?
You might’ve noticed we didn’t post a How’s This Work last week. With the Chicago Auto Show press conference happening that day, we figured that was a bit more important. But we’ll make up for it this week by looking at a pretty awesome off-road feature that you’ve probably seen listed on our TRD and similar off-road trim levels, including the three vehicles unveiled last week: Bilstein shocks.
[ LAST HOW’S THIS WORK: How do Fog Lamps work? ]
What are Bilstein Shocks?
As high-performance and off-road vehicles like the Toyota Racing Development trim levels get more and more powerful, more advanced suspension systems are required. That’s why you usually see some sort of enhanced suspension system listed with the upgraded features on vehicles like the RAV4 Adventure. Bilstein shocks are just one part of those upgraded suspension systems, but they’re an integral part to enhancing the off-road performance of your vehicle.
Shock absorbers, also known as vibration dampers, reduce the amount of vibration generated from the suspension system’s springs. They convert all of that kinetic energy through friction into thermal energy, making sure that the springs don’t overload so that the vehicle maintains the best amount of contact with the road. We could get into all the nitty-gritty details, but essentially Bilstein shocks are there to make sure that your vehicle continues doing what it’s supposed to do at the high-performance level that you want it to perform at.
If you have any additional questions about Bilstein shocks and how they work, or which vehicles we have with them equipped, then feel free to give us a call here at the sales desk. You can watch the video below for a more in-depth look at them.
How do Fog Lamps work?
When it comes to lights on the exterior of a vehicle, there are a ton of different ones to keep straight. Taillights, turn signals, reverse lights, et cetera. We’ve covered a few different kinds of lights in our weekly How’s This Work blogs before, but today we thought we’d explain a type of light that is increasing in popularity each and every year: Fog Lamps. Not only do they make your front fascia look a little cooler, but they improve visibility in situations with otherwise poor visibility, hence the fog in their name.
[ LAST WEEK: How does a Multi-Information Display work? ]
What are Fog Lamps?
Fog lamps are differently-shaped lights generally found closer to the bottom of your front fascia, near the bumper. Unlike your regular headlights, they probably don’t turn on automatically, but rather you’ll have to turn them on manually when it’s time to use them. The issue with regular headlights is that sometimes, when there are things in your line of sight that hinder visibility, they can also hinder the distance in which your lights can illuminate the road ahead.
Things like fog, snow, even rain can all act as a sort of wall for light, reflecting it back at you rather than letting it illuminate where the road is. Fog lamps have a different, unique shape to the beam of their lights. Rather than the normal shape, they’re both flat and wide, and – as we mentioned – positioned much closer to the ground. This allows the light to cut right through those low-visibility situations and illuminate the road for you.
If you’re interested in figuring out what Toyota vehicles come with Fog Lights as standard or available features, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
How does a Multi-Information Display work?
We’ve covered the display audio screen, we’ve covered the center console, we’ve covered the instrument panel and many other things on the dashboard but we have yet to touch on the multi-information display, which is a feature you’ve likely heard mentioned many times when looking into modern vehicles. So today, we thought we’d dive into that a little bit for our How’s This Work, to give you a better idea of what the difference is and how you can utilize it.
[ LAST WEEK: How does a continuously variable transmission work? ]
What is an MID?
So for starters, we should probably give you a rundown on what the difference between the multi-information display and the display audio screens are, as that’s one thing that tends to confuse customers. The display audio screen is right at the center of the dashboard, the focal point of the center console. In modern cars, it’s almost always at least 7” diagonally, and displays navigation and many other things. The multi-information display, or MID, on the other hand is generally much smaller and worked right into your instrument cluster.
Rather than displaying full navigation or similar display audio screen things, the MID displays little bits of information that are pertinent to the driver. That way you don’t have to take your eyes quite as far off the road to look at the display audio screen, plus you can generally control the MID right from the steering wheel, and thus you don’t have to remove your hands either.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the multi-information display, you can watch the video below, or give us a call right here at the sales desk. We look forward to hearing from you!