Test out new car on steep drive­way

Austin American-Statesman - - D STATESMAN CARS - By­tom and Ray Magliozzi King Features Syn­di­cate Click Fre­quent scrap­ing can cause dam­age. Ask any­one who spends a lot of time rid­ing a bi­cy­cle. Clockwise from top left: The Honda Pi­lot topped the list of large Suvs/trucks; the Mini Cooper S Coupe was thir

Dear Tom and Ray: I have a won­der­ful car, a ’97 Saturn that gets great mileage and has been re­li­able all this time. But it’s be­gin­ning to sig­nal that it’s time for a re­place­ment. I’d like to get a Toy­ota Prius, but my curb cut is just steep enough that ev­ery­one I know who drives a Prius scrapes when they turn into my drive­way. So, my ques­tions are: (1) Would fre­quent scrap­ing on the front of the car dam­age it? And (2) if the scrap­ing would cause dam­age, can I have the car raised a cou­ple of inches some­how so it doesn’t con­tact the side­walk ev­ery time I drive in and out? This prob­a­bly sounds stupid, but I don’t know any­thing about car bod­ies, so I’d ap­pre­ci­ate your ad­vice. Thanks!

— Peter Tom: Fre­quent scrap­ing cer­tainly can cause dam­age, Peter. Ask any­one who spends a lot of time rid­ing a bi­cy­cle.

Ray: It really de­pends on what’s be­ing scraped. Lots of cars have a plas­tic wind de­flec­tor un­der the front bumper to im­prove mileage. If that’s all you’re scrap­ing, it would be of no me­chan­i­cal con­se­quence — un­til it fell off.

Tom: But if you were scrap­ing, say, the oil pan, that could cause prob­lems. Then you could tear it open one day as you were back­ing out of the drive­way, lose all of your oil, seize the en­gine and then have to go out and buy your­self a cheap re­place­ment car, like a used ’97 Saturn.

Ray: So this re­quires some spe­cific in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Peter. Ex­plain to your Toy­ota dealer that when you test-drive the new Prius, the route is go­ing to have to in­clude a trip up your drive­way.

Tom: When you turn into your drive­way (go very slowly), if you hear a scrape, you then can get out and watch and try to de­ter­mine what’s scrap­ing. Even if you can’t tell by watch­ing, you may be able to see tell­tale scrape marks on some­thing un­der there.

Ray: The Prius is de­signed with mileage in mind, so my guess is that what’s scrap­ing prob­a­bly is some plas­tic

con­tin­ued on

2012 was an in­cred­i­ble year for the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. With pol­i­tics all mixed up in the mid­dle of the auto in­dus­try (for good and for bad), it helped to shine a spot­light on some of the amaz­ing ve­hi­cles, success sto­ries and cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy that car­mak­ers are cre­at­ing.

As Cox Me­dia Group Ohio’s Wheels ed­i­tor, I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to drive 54 dif­fer­ent ve­hi­cles from model year 2012. So, I’ve seen a wide va­ri­ety.

Here’s a list of some of my fa­vorite 2012 test drives.

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