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adaptive cruise control swap Q&A Review

May I get some advice on converting my 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport from an automatic transmission to a manual transmission?

None of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sports came with a manual transmission. The usual way of swapping a transmission out is to take one from the same model and figure out how to exchange it for the one in your car. If a manual transmission was never offered by the manufacture for your model, then you have to become an engineer of your own, find a transmission that will fit your engine and the space in the car, then figure out how to adapt all of the physical pieces that need to be adapted, then change out all of the electronics that need to be changed out, then put it all together again. That is a HUGE undertaking. Even if a manufacture makes the same model with a manual transmission, it is still a big undertaking. There are hidden pieces that have to be changed, the electronics are different, the dash layouts are often different, warning lights, computer changes, variances with cruise control, traction control and ABS, the shifter mechanisms, driveshafts, etc, etc, etc. The easiest way to get a manual transmission in your current car is to sell it and buy the same model with a manual transmission. That isn’t possible in your case as Hyundai didn’t make one with a manual transmission in your year. If you really love that car and have all of the money in the world to throw at it, you can have your manual transmission. You just have to find someone capable of doing the work who is willing to tackle the project and start writing checks. It will end up costing you more than the car did in the end.

Is it likely that present cars with ABS and cruise control, will be able to be converted to automatic braking and adaptive cruise control resonably in 5-10 years?

It will not be available off the shelf since abs controllers will have their own individual and discrete configuration based on the model. However, what might be feasible is buying off ECU and controllers for an adaptive cruise model vs the base model. You would only buy parts that need to be swapped. Chances are that your existing ECU might even work or might just need a flash in that case. Just verify the part numbers for ECU. You would also need to change your steering controls (and optionally clock spring if it does not allow wiring to additional switches). Your driver display panel (odometer-tacho-realtime info setup) needs to be changed to display adaptive cruise trailing distance, set speed and obstruction detection on the panel. You are looking at replacing the grill that houses your manufacturer logo - the radar is housed behind this logo in most of the cases. If you want to add crash control, you might hook up a camera that will double up for lane departure/forward crash control. You might use additional radars for blind spot mirroring as well. This whole project will guarantee you compatibility since you are buying OEM parts. You might also need to reprogram existing ECU for recalibrating “available” features in most of the cases.

How do I replace old steering wheel with multifunction steering wheel?

Possible, but not exactly easy. Assuming your make/model had steering wheel controls as an available option, you are going to need to find a donor vehicle that has them, to harvest parts from. In addition to the wheel itself, you will need the clockspring and column harness (or the entire steering column), as well as whatever accessories the wheel mounted controls talk to, and their associated wiring harnesses. This could be the audio system, navigation system, cruise control, security system, whatever. I wouldn’t even consider a project like this without an excellent knowledge of automotive electrical systems, and a complete set of OEM service information (factory shop manual) with complete wiring diagrams. After swapping all the new parts into your car and getting them all hooked up, they still may not work until programmed properly, which may involve a trip to the dealer, where any vehicle warranty will likely be voided because of the work you have done. If you want to add these kind of controls to a car that never offered them from the factory, you will need some serious fabrication skills to make adapters and custom wiring harnesses, in addition to all the above stuff.

In conditions where touching the wheel is less safe than letting the vehicle drive itself, which inputs other than turning the wheel satisfy driver attention systems?

I dont even use the basic cruise control my car comes with, it causes lack of attention; as for these auto pilot systems; they are only watching the road perhaps 50m ahead, not behind or to the sides, not above; you are an idiot waiting to die if you rely on them to keep you safe - as several Tesla drivers have discovered the hard way. Your autopilot may “see” that car wandering across the road ahead, but it doesnt comprehend that the drunk driving it may totally lose it and spin it into the bridge support and back off, YOU could and should have the situational awareness to do that. It is something I see a lot on visits to China, millions of inexperienced drivers in smart new cars with adaptive cruise etc. There is a lane blocked ahead, but they DONT react, 1000m meters, still going full speed, upto 100mph in some cases; 500m still going full speed, 100m still going full speed 20–50 m and suddenly they are either swerving into the other lane, often hitting other vehicles or causing them to scatter; or slamming the brakes on and impacting HARD into the obstacle. Me, or any SANE situationally aware driver swapped lanes 500 - 1000m back, and swapped again, even further away from the obstacle when we saw the other car(s) not reacting.

Do you like the new safety features in cars?

YES! My experience is based on a 2019 Subaru Outback, and I’m an older driver (>70) I swap with an older 2003 car so I frequently get reminded of the differences. Adaptive cruise control is wonderful for highway driving. Keeps a safe distance all the time, though if you set the following distance high you may find cars cutting in front of you in heavy traffic. Blind spot monitor is also nice in traffic. I has helped me wait a few times when I wanted to quickly change lanes Lane keeping assist is helpful but takes some getting used to (it’s initially unnerving) since it automatically moves the steering wheel. I also find it useful on local roads in case I get distracted Rear cross traffic alert is a big help in parking lots, especially when you are parked next to a big truck. Only needed it a few times but glad I had it Forward and rear automatic braking do exactly what you expect and keep you out of trouble. Rarely used but have kicked in a couple of times Steering responsive LED headlights are fabulous at night; I thought the steering feature was a gimmick until I drove with them…love them. Same for auto high beams. I can see further than any car I’ve ever driven. I live in deer country with few street lights so these are an especially big help. Not quite as new is the required backup camera with guidelines showing where the car is aimed, which is extremely helpful, whenever backing Last but not least is the structural safety cage and airbags providing crash protection. I won’t buy another car without all of the above.

What is the best vehicle for someone who drives 50k miles/year?

For this answer you need a LOT more information there. If you are traveling with a family of 7 that vehicle would be a lot different than if you are driving alone. If you are towing or hauling equipment or need storage, that would affect your answer If you are driving in a winter climate, off-road, or in heavy traffic those things would greatly change your answer. If you have access to charging at home that would greatly change your answer. If you prefer price point, vehicle quality, vehicle comfort, luxury equipped, easy of driving (driving aids like adaptive cruise control), etc, those would all affect your answer. How many years are you planning on doing this? But lets say you are looking for something economical and with no other changes, I’d go with a late model used Toyota corolla, or maybe even a prius. Figure on the Prius, you can get one around $16,000 with less than 50k miles. At 50 MPG, that’s 8250 in fuel costs over the next 3 years, and sell it for maybe $4k at 180k-200k miles. So a cost of right about 20k for 3 years. A corolla you’d save about $5k on the price. But at 32 MPG spending $12,900 on fuel costs. So that about washes out cost wise. Now if you could charge… 50k miles a year is 190 miles a day 5 days a week. IF you are doing that, and home every night, then there is one last option. You can get a base model Model 3 for 35k, that would clear that range. Figure since you are going new, you’d be looking at least at 4 years, 200k miles (honestly could be MUCH longer here). Then you’d be looking at $8000 in “fuel” costs for 4 years. But you are saving a lot of maintenance too. $1000 in oil changes for sure. So 4 year price you are spending 20k more than a prius, making back 5K at a minimum just with fuel and oil changes. Add in brakes, transmission flushes, and maintenance costs, you might get that up to $8k (trying to play conservative here) Then you get the question.. Is a 4 year old model 3 with 200k miles sellable for $16k? Is the added tech worth it? The other thought is time spent fueling up. Lets say you do drive 190 miles a day. Probably gassing up 2.5 times a week at 10 minutes a stop, that would be 22 hours a year spent fueling at a minimum (not going out of your way). If you are just plugging in when getting home, that could be a better option for time management. It might be an option at that point when considering enhanced safety at that length. But again that would all depend on access to charging. It also might be economical to go a bit older for you and keep it at around 100k miles and just swap every 2 years. For example I found an $8k prius with 99k miles. 2 years and sell for $2k that’s $6k on the car or $3k a year, iInstead of the $4k a year cost for a 4–6 year newer. But 5 years and 50k more miles very well could raise your maintenance costs up over $1000 a year and make that a wash and all you are getting is a 4–6 year older car you are driving for the same cost. Here’s a real quick simple calculation to see the diminishing returns as well on fuel efficiency. The savings are of improving your mileage by 10MPG to the next level. so 20–30 saves 2291 a year, but 40–50 only saves 690 a year. The big part would be avoiding new (that electric MIGHT make it worth it), as you lose so much value in that first or two year going from new to 1 year old with 50k miles and 2 years old with 100k miles. You are looking at taking a $8k hit in that first year alone. Taxes also would be adding to that. Just some thoughts, but would be fun to flush out the numbers more.

Why is the world moving away from things that last for a long time?

Because the trend of technological advancement keeps accellerating and there’s nothing that can be done about it. The world is still full of technology that’s unnecssarily wasteful, but it still in use because, technically “it still works”. If I delivered a brand new powerful computer to your house and you saw this when you booted it up…. You would be rightfully upset. And it’s only 19 years old. Lots of people alive today thought XP was the bee’s knees when it was released, but now it’s a relic. And manufacturers have trouble keeping up with the curve because it takes time to implement new technology. When it is implemented, it’s clear it’s superior to the old technology it replaced. I don’t drive much and, as such, when I do rent a car, it takes me a while to get used to it. A few years ago it was the fact that the trunk didn’t have a key (it’s a button on the fob). More recently, I was driving a Mini and it “stalled”. It hadn’t - it had shut down the engine while I was stopped in traffic, which saves a lot of gasoline. Most recently, I had a car with “adaptive cruise control”. Once I figured out how to use it, I found it was much better at adjusting the speed of my car in traffic. I set it, let it handle the speed, and focussed on driving. So, yes, you can keep using your smartphone for five years and swap out the battery when it goes bad, but why would you? Your new smartphone will be better in every way. When my old phone was low on a charge, it took hours to recharge it. My new phone takes about a half hour. That’s likely to improve again in the next iteration.

What would happen if an airliner with a strong headwind had its headwind suddenly change to a strong tailwind?

A few months ago we were crossing a large mountain range at 37,000′. In the space of about 30 seconds, we watched the auto-throttles come up to max cruise power and the airspeed fall off about 60 knots. Checking the winds, we saw our 60-knot headwind turn into a 30-knot quartering tailwind. We lost a couple hundred feet until we were able to regain some of our speed. We also called up air traffic control to let them know about it. Even with all the power we had, I was grabbing the seat cushion with both cheeks. It all turned out fine and no one even noticed, though, so that was nice. Aircraft primarily care about the air that they are in. Their inertia cannot immediately adapt to sharp changes, such as swapping a strong headwind for a strong tailwind. For all purposes, the plane seems to have slowed over a very short distance—though without the accompanying forces upon the occupants. Closer to the ground, it becomes more critical, especially if you don’t have the altitude to spare during the particularly violent windshears that accompany ,microbursts,. Due to their danger, pilots and controllers are particularly wary when conditions are favorable for their formation. Large fields have warning systems, as do most modern airliners. It’s a serious threat and treated like it. We don’t fly into potential microbursts.

Is it a good idea to buy a car from Carmax?

Ted Rishell's answer was right on the mark, but I have a few things to add from a different perspective. Until a few years ago I lived in the Richmond, Virginia area, which is where CarMax opened their first location. I shopped there several times when they first opened, and also at three other locations in Virginia over the years. All told, I did well over a hundred thousand dollars in business at the original store off of West Broad Street in Glen Allen. As the co-host of a local radio show about cars, my partner and I, with the cooperation of their general manager, based a couple of shows on shopping for family sedans at that original location. So it's fair to say I've had my fair share of experience with CarMax, and I don't have a bad word to say about the company. As Ted pointed out, their pricing and financing process is the epitome of transparency, which is the opposite of almost every traditional dealership. And they take the inspection process seriously, again, unlike most dealerships. Finally, Ted makes an excellent point about not buying new and buying from private sellers. In fact, I agree with that point so much that I have never bought a vehicle from CarMax. But that's not because it's not a good place to buy a car, it's because of my background. I'm a certified car nut anyway you slice it. I not only like cars, I know more about them than 99% of the car salesman I've ever met, and I've bought more than 40 cars, pickups, and SUVs, not including vehicles I purchased for my businesses. So most of the time when I'm looking for a car, I'm looking for something specific. At one time it might be a reliable, comfortable coupe that will let me cover a lot of ground fast when I'm working with my customers spread across the east coast. At another it might be a big, powerful SUV that I can use to drive across the country towing a race car or taking my family on a month long vacation, and look good doing it. Then again I might be looking for a sports coupe that I can drive comfortably every day without drawing much attention that I can take to the track once a month, swap tires, and turn some fast laps. Or maybe I'm looking for a particular model with certain options that were available for just one year. The point is, by the time I make a purchase I know exactly what I want. And more often than not, I'll find it being sold by another car nut, not a dealership, even CarMax. But I still consider CarMax a great place to shop, because I can get a feel for say a 2013 Infiniti G37 Convertible that CarMax has for sale by test driving it, even if I hate the color and it doesn't have the adaptive cruise control I want. Then if I'm lucky and find a private seller with that model in a color I like, great. Or if I get really lucky and another CarMax has the color and exact model I want, everything is peachy. Unfortunately that hasn't happened yet, but after my recent car shopping experience here in Michigan (where there are no CarMax locations) I was ready to drive back to Virginia just to shop there. So I encourage you to shop for a car at CarMax, and wish you luck. Last but not least, I need to explain how I did so much business with CarMax while never buying a car there. Ted's right they don't offer much for used cars because they don't use that offer to hide what they're doing when they sell you a car. But unlike classic dealerships, when they make an offer you don't have to worry about it changing or being told at the last minute “we made a mistake, we can only give you this much”. So I've sold numerous vehicles to CarMax, knowing I was getting a fair price and never having to worry that I was being screwed on the other side of a deal. My bottom line answer, yes, it's a good idea to do business with CarMax whether buying or selling., ,Especially if you're a normal, rational person and not a car nut like me.