Automobiles are basic parts of our daily lives, especially for US citizens. But there’s still a lot many of us probably don’t know about them. Below, we list some facts about cars we bet you didn’t know, from the new car smell to airbags!
Modern Cars Are Smarter Than Airliners
As anyone who has gotten behind the wheel of a new car in the past couple of years knows, vehicle technology has grown substantially. Modern cars can feel like driving computers, and in some aspects, they are!
Today’s average car has over 100 million lines of code in its internal computer, translating to about 100 miles of code if you look at it from top to bottom! For comparison, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner has only about 14 million lines of code in its internal computer.
That New-Car Smell Is Toxic
We all know that distinct car smell, but do you know that you’re smelling volatile toxins? During manufacturing, carmakers must use chemicals and materials that give off volatile compound vapors, especially for interior components like carpets, pedals, and door linings.
Don’t worry—auto manufacturers use gas chromatography for quality control to ensure that every vehicle that comes off the manufacturing line is safe to drive. But those volatile compounds still leave a lingering smell, which gives new cars that unmistakable scent!
Airbags Are as Fast as a Mach 6 Jet
We all know the purpose of an airbag: to protect drivers and passengers in a head-on collision. Collisions can occur at a moment’s notice, so airbags must deploy even faster to be useful, but do you know how fast they spring into action?
Thanks to its sensors, a car’s airbag can deploy within 40 milliseconds of a collision at 4,500 mph! That’s faster than a Mach 6 jet or a jet traveling at six times the speed of sound.
The Term “Car” Is Latin
We all understand where the term automobile comes from, but one fact about cars we bet you don’t know is where the term car came from! Etymologists note the English word car is derived from the Latin word carrum or carrus.
Carrum in Latin means a wheeled vehicle, and carrus refers to a wagon, so the connection is easy to see. Scholars believe Old English began using the Latin word around the 14th century, way before they had cars to talk about!
Car Horns Have Changed Tunes
Anyone who has heard an old-fashioned car horn knows that modern vehicles have a slightly different sound, but do you know what musical key car horns are in? Until about the ’60s, most American car horns were in the key of E flat or C.
But as time passed, auto manufacturers sharpened their tune a bit. Today, most US-made car horns are in F sharp and a few in A sharp.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our fun fact list! Now you know a few bits of trivia to impress your friends and family on your next road trip.