17 Interesting Facts about Cars

Making the Everyday Use of Cars More Fun & Interesting

huge parking lot

There is so much talk about cars, driving, safety and many other topics revolving around our commutes, travels and day to day driving. What about some interesting and less known facts about cars and driving?

  1. Where does the term dashboard really come from? The original term evolved from placing a wooden board in back of the horses in front of the carriage to prevent mud from splattering up from the horses’ feet and wheels.
  2. Did you know that holding the remote car key fob to your head doubles the range because a human skull acts as an amplifier? Sounds funny to me as well but it looks like others believe in this also… Try it!
  3. Toyota skull amplifier tweet

  4. Cars are the most recycled product in the world. Approximately 95% of retired cars are recycled. About 27 million cars are recycled each year.
  5. An average car has 30K parts – most of them are recyclable.
  6. The longest duration of owning and driving one car is 82 years. The owner was a gentleman by the name of Allen Swift. His dad bought him a Piccidilly-P1 Roadster by Rolls Royce as a graduation gift in 1928 for $10,900 (worth $141,700 in 2010).
  7. There are 1 billion cars currently in use on planet earth.
  8. In 2013 65,140,268 cars were produced averaging 178,466 cars produced a day.
  9. There are more cars than people in the world (not necessarily in use). Most cars manufactured are not sold and are disposed of in various lots around the world. More cars are made than are sold.
  10. The “New car smell” which many of us love, is made up of a combination of various volatile compounds (possibly dangerous to inhale).
  11. Cruise control was invented in 1948 by Ralph Teetor. His idea came out of frustration from riding with his lawyer who kept slowing the car and speeding up during the drive.
  12. Irv Gordon drove his 1966 Volvo P1800 over a period of 47 years totaling in 3 million miles.
  13. It takes Ford’s Dearborn plant 6 hours to build an F-150 truck.
    Ford’s robots who install windshields are named Bumper & Blinker. Ford Plant Tour
  14. The first automobile accident ever, occurred in Ohio City, Ohio nearby Cleveland. In 1891 James William Lambert’s car hit a tree root causing the car to swerve out of control and crash into a hitching post. Injuries thankfully were minor.
  15. Electric cars have very little if no sound. Per the NHTSA this presents danger both to blind people and children. The natural engine sound approaching alerts them to a vehicle approach. Nissan is working a special beautiful sound reminiscent of the flying cars in “Blade Runner”. Other automakers are doing similar projects to create sound for their electric cars. Fascinating, no?
  16. Car Radio Banned? When the car radio was introduced, some states wanted to ban it since it can be a distraction while driving.
  17. Volkswagen, introduced in 1937 by Hitler as the People’s Car (originally named in German Volkswagenwerk), owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, and Skoda.
    General Motors owns Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC.
    Toyota owns Lexus, Scion, Daihatsu, and Hino Motors.
  18. In 2013 free petrol AKA gasoline was given out in Sydney, Australia as part of a campaign promoting a gasoline called E10.

I find that these interesting car facts actually enhance my drive and are just fun to know. There is so much history to cars – and new laws, stories and other tidbits are developed all the time. If any of you have some interesting stories or tidbits please share them. I’d love to hear!

Some Thoughts About Donating a Car

A Customer Service Rep Shares Some Experiences

So many people that call me up at Kars4Kids to donate their vehicles aren’t just going through the motions of getting rid of and donating their cars. For many what goes through their minds is the good deed, tax deduction or vacation voucher. But for others and there are many like those, when they choose to donate their car, they frequently are very sentimentally attached to their car and are giving away something that is a part of themselves. Check out these two tweets.

Hard to donate a car Donating a car is hard

Taking good care of your car requires maintenance, foresight and devotion. It’s almost like a real relationship. You can kind of develop this emotional bond with your automobile. You take care of it; it in turn takes you where you need to go. Many people say with great pride, Ayy, that’s my ‘87 Oldsmobile. She’s served me very well all these years, taking me to work, funerals, sad occasions, family vacations and other nostalgic places. People have their traditional car maintenance reserved for over the weekend. They tinker and probe to make sure their car is in tip top shape. They wash it with care and then it sparkles in the sunlight.

There are all of these well known tips to making sure your car lives out its full lifetime.

• Read the user manual. They built it; they know best.

• Take it for oil changes periodically; although there are those that claim that today’s oil requires much less changing than previously. Oil today can extend from between 5-10k miles. Much different than what everyone says to get that 3k checkup. Oil has stronger properties these days. In any case, take good care of your car regardless.

• I’ve previously mentioned some of these tips in regard to saving on gasoline. Don’t gun the engine, let your car ease into the drive, try not to drive very fast and overuse the brakes.

• Check the filters, and fluids regularly along with getting your wheel rotations and other tips as well.

It’s interesting, but like I mentioned people actually develop a relationship with their mode of transportation.

Take a look at a tweet we discovered recently.

Kars for Kids cute image

I thought of 2 things here when I saw the tweet. There’s the same car with the same couple many years later. Now, I don’t know if this image was doctored or photoshopped in any way. My point is, cars need care – relationships need care. If your car is precious to you, you really can develop those sentimental feelings to it. People have a really hard time parting with their car.

Relationships whether with our friends, colleagues and especially those most near and dear to us; ourselves, spouses, parents, siblings and children need lots of oil changes, maintenance, reading the user guide well, care and devotion. I recently read an article on the 4 personalities necessary for building a business from Lolly Daskal. A business needs vision and accountability from its leader. It requires the one who actually makes sure things get done. It receives constructive critique from someone she calls the devil’s advocate and most importantly has an advocate, a mentor, someone who serves as an objective resource to help you thrive and grow; someone who will be there for you in the good times and in those rough moments. To be successful and to ensure things last,those are the relationships we need; whether it be a car, a business, your colleague, boss, or most importantly your children, your spouse and yourself.

So go ahead, take care of your car, get its full value before calling me at Kars4Kids or your local dealer; but more importantly, take care of yourself and those closest to you.

Rude Awakening For A Repeat DUI Offender

The Blaze reported yesterday on a brilliant and elaborate prank with a very good purpose. Tom Mabe, a popular comedian and YouTube prankster pulled off the trick to try and scare a friend of his out of drinking and driving.

Tom has a friend who has been arrested five times for drinking and driving, so when he saw his friend passed out in his truck he knew it was time to send him a strong message.

Using an elaborate setup designed to look like a hospital room, they convinced him that he had been in an accident after drinking and driving and was just waking up from a 10 year coma.

This is how it went down:

Please. Pretty please. Don’t drink and drive. We don’t need your car that badly.

National Cat Day

Today is National Cat Day believe it or not.

We tried very hard to resist our cat posting impulses, but to no avail.

Especially because you simply need to see this hilarious photo of our cat in our parking lot in our recently donated fire truck (more about that).


What are you doing?! What does he think he is going to find in there?

No worries folks, this truck is not currently running, so no harm can come to this silly little feline.

Hurricane Sandy Damaged Cars

With the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy almost upon us, we’ve been digging through the mountains of cars we were sad to receive. We have been looking for any data that could shed light on who and where were the hardest hit locations. We were also looking for any useful information that could help people protect themselves from the glut of flooded cars that have overwhelmed the used car industry. Unscrupulous dealers may try to pass these off as regular used cars.

The full guide to avoiding these cars is coming in a few days, so STAY TUNED for that, but we wanted to share a few of the images we discovered:

Beautiful sports car crushed by a falling tree


Another victim of falling trees




Condensation inside a car window is an important warning sign that a car has been flooded:



Another important warning sign is rust along the door frames:


Keep an eye out as well for sand on the seats:


It’s really sad to see these otherwise excellent cars destroyed like this. You can feel the heartache of the owners of these cars and you just wonder what else they suffered at the hands of this truly devastating storm.


Lightning Strikes The Kars For Kids Headquarters

Scary moment this morning in our office as a monster storm rolled in.

Watching the lightning out of the windows, we were fascinated by the power of the storm.

One enterprising employee set up a camera to film the lightning. He never expected to catch lightning striking our building.

Everyone is safe thankfully, but we all had quite a scare.

Minor damage to the wall, a few wires, and some of our servers.

More pictures are available on the Kars For Kids Facebook page, where you can make us feel better by giving us a LIKE!

Damage to the Kars For Kids office

Rescue workers inspect damage to the Kars For Kids office

Outside the Kars For Kids office

Wire above the Kars For Kids office

Damage to wire above Kars For Kids office

Emergency personel in the Kars For Kids parking lot

Kars for kids towers find lots of interesting things in cars

At Kars for kids, we have wonderful towers that pick up Kars for us all over the country. One of them shared an interesting story with us recently.

In operation since 1974, All Auto of San Francisco picks up cars within San Francisco and San Mateo counties. All Auto operates two tow trucks full time, but has a dedicated tow truck owner operator with 15 years of experience in handling car donations. All Auto has seen a lot of interesting stuff left behind in the cars it tows, for instance garage door openers. People leave them in their cars all the time.

kittens car

All Auto tries to reunite such items with their owners, but has accumulated an entire carton of garage door openers! But the most unusual item ever left behind in a car serviced by All Auto would be a litter of kittens! A litter of kittens! Their eyes still closed, found in a donated car picked up from an industrial yard.

The workers parceled out the kitties to be fed by eyedropper every hour or so. Robert at All Auto said, “I became Kitty Daddy. I was a wild kid. I figured this was payback.”

An ad was placed on Craig’s List to find homes for the kittens.

To learn more about Kars for kids, visit the Kars for kids page.