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Automotive Glass: A Brief History of Its Development and Use

Friday, December 15th, 2017
The windshield and side windows on a 1966 Lincoln Continental.

Automotive glass is relatively unique when compared to more traditional types of glass for a number of reasons. Unlike the windows in your home, for example, auto glass has to offer a clear line of sight for the driver and passengers, and double as a structural element that adds strength to the vehicle’s design. Furthermore, it must be able to resist shattering into dangerous shards that could seriously injure occupants in the event of an accident.

These are all important and difficult roles for glass to fill, and it’s perhaps no surprise that the road to modern car and truck glass wasn’t a simple one. Here’s a quick look at the history of this important, yet rarely considered automotive component.

Replacing Plate Glass

Many early automobile accidents involved drivers being seriously injured by the plate glass used in their windshields, as they found themselves ejected through the windshields or hit by shards of glass after a shattering impact. Henry Ford was one of the first automakers to investigate whether it would be possible to make glass stronger, as well as shatterproof, in his vehicles.

The result of his inquiries was two-fold. Side and rear windows in Ford vehicles began to be replaced with tempered glass, which is created using a heating and cooling process that expands and compresses the glass while it forms, significantly improving its resistance to impact damage. Tempered glass also features ground edges in order to increase their strength.

Windshields required a more comprehensive solution, and it was found in the form of laminated glass. This type of automotive glass is also called safety glass, because, when shattered, a layer of polyvinyl butyral, or PVB, holds both sides of the panel together, preventing splinters and shards from flying. Think of safety glass as a sandwich with sticky PVB on the inside and glass on the outside.

Rules and Regulations

Ford was ahead of the glass game, but once other automakers began to follow in his footsteps, the public — and the government — realized that the benefits of tempered and laminated glass were important enough to include in the safety reforms that swept the industry in the early 1970s. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed a series of standards that defined not only how strong automotive glass had to be, but also the degree of transparency that it offered, how well a windshield stayed in place during an accident and the strength of a roof in resisting a rollover (with the windshield playing an important part in keeping the shape of the car intact).

Glass Today

Most automotive glass today still follows the previously created NHTSA standards, but a continual march toward stronger rollover resistance, ultraviolet radiation filtering and resistance to airbag impact from the inside informs current regulations. Some companies have even moved from tempered to safety glass on side windows in a bid to protect against smash-and-grab thieves, as well as to repel noise by way of acoustic laminates.

Automotive glass has come a long way since the fledgling vehicles created in the early 1900s, but it still may see innovations that keep drivers safer in the future.

Check out all the vision and safety parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on automotive glass, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

The post Automotive Glass: A Brief History of Its Development and Use appeared first on NAPA Know How Blog.

Automotive Glass: A Brief History of Its Development and Use

Friday, December 15th, 2017
The windshield and side windows on a 1966 Lincoln Continental.

Automotive glass is relatively unique when compared to more traditional types of glass for a number of reasons. Unlike the windows in your home, for example, auto glass has to offer a clear line of sight for the driver and passengers, and double as a structural element that adds strength to the vehicle’s design. Furthermore, it must be able to resist shattering into dangerous shards that could seriously injure occupants in the event of an accident.

These are all important and difficult roles for glass to fill, and it’s perhaps no surprise that the road to modern car and truck glass wasn’t a simple one. Here’s a quick look at the history of this important, yet rarely considered automotive component.

Replacing Plate Glass

Many early automobile accidents involved drivers being seriously injured by the plate glass used in their windshields, as they found themselves ejected through the windshields or hit by shards of glass after a shattering impact. Henry Ford was one of the first automakers to investigate whether it would be possible to make glass stronger, as well as shatterproof, in his vehicles.

The result of his inquiries was two-fold. Side and rear windows in Ford vehicles began to be replaced with tempered glass, which is created using a heating and cooling process that expands and compresses the glass while it forms, significantly improving its resistance to impact damage. Tempered glass also features ground edges in order to increase their strength.

Windshields required a more comprehensive solution, and it was found in the form of laminated glass. This type of automotive glass is also called safety glass, because, when shattered, a layer of polyvinyl butyral, or PVB, holds both sides of the panel together, preventing splinters and shards from flying. Think of safety glass as a sandwich with sticky PVB on the inside and glass on the outside.

Rules and Regulations

Ford was ahead of the glass game, but once other automakers began to follow in his footsteps, the public — and the government — realized that the benefits of tempered and laminated glass were important enough to include in the safety reforms that swept the industry in the early 1970s. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed a series of standards that defined not only how strong automotive glass had to be, but also the degree of transparency that it offered, how well a windshield stayed in place during an accident and the strength of a roof in resisting a rollover (with the windshield playing an important part in keeping the shape of the car intact).

Glass Today

Most automotive glass today still follows the previously created NHTSA standards, but a continual march toward stronger rollover resistance, ultraviolet radiation filtering and resistance to airbag impact from the inside informs current regulations. Some companies have even moved from tempered to safety glass on side windows in a bid to protect against smash-and-grab thieves, as well as to repel noise by way of acoustic laminates.

Automotive glass has come a long way since the fledgling vehicles created in the early 1900s, but it still may see innovations that keep drivers safer in the future.

Check out all the vision and safety parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on automotive glass, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

The post Automotive Glass: A Brief History of Its Development and Use appeared first on NAPA Know How Blog.

What Is Synthetic Blend Oil?

Thursday, December 14th, 2017
A mechanic shop. A car is hoisted above the mechanic, who is changing its oil.

You’ve probably seen it on the shelves of your local auto parts store or repair shop and wondered: What is synthetic blend oil? Also known as part- or semi-synthetic motor oil, it consists of a combination of mineral oil and synthetic base oil. This means that it provides some of the same benefits as a full-synthetic motor oil, including improved wear detection and fuel efficiency. Here’s a look at the differences between the two prominent motor oil types and why synthetic blend oil can be a beneficial third option.

Conventional and Synthetic Motor Oil

If you shop for motor oil, you’ll find two familiar types: conventional and synthetic.

Conventional oil has been around since Valvoline produced the first engine lubricant in 1866, derived directly from crude oil. Such oils supply lubrication along with high-temperature protection, while remaining stable for many miles.

Full-synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, is chemically engineered in a laboratory. These oils are designed with the express purpose of being free of the contaminants found in crude-based conventional oils. Synthetic oils are also imbued with molecules that reduce friction. Thus, they improve fuel economy, work optimally under extreme temperatures and last longer. Synthetic oils also protect crucial engine parts like cams and pistons. When done properly, using a full-synthetic or a synthetic blend oil can extend the life of an engine.

Synthetic Blend Oil

There is a third motor oil choice available, known as a synthetic blend. Such oils use a mix of conventional and synthetic oils, supplying increased protection from oxidation (corrosion) over conventional motor oil. Other benefits include: seal conditioners for rejuvenating aging engine seals to help stop or prevent oil leaks, additional protection against future engine wear, enhanced removal of sludge and deposits, and longer intervals between oil changes. Such oils are ideal for older vehicles that have 75,000 or more miles on the odometer and have run on conventional oil all along.

Why Choose a Synthetic Blend?

With conventional and full-synthetic motor oils available, why choose a blend of both?

The simple reason is that the synthetic blend offers a stepping stone to a full synthetic. If you’ve been using conventional oil all along and aren’t sure you want to make the leap to synthetic, a blend of both is an ideal transitional step before you make that change.

With the synthetic blend, you’ll enjoy a longer interval between oil changes than with conventional oil, allowing you to evaluate how the oil holds up. If you’re satisfied with the upgrade, you can continue with it or move up to a full synthetic to enjoy even longer oil change intervals and superior engine protection. After all, motor oil is about protecting your engine and keeping it in optimum condition for as long as you own the car.

Now you know the answer to the question: What is synthetic blend oil? Knowing your options, make sure to choose the best oil for your car to protect your investment.

Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. To learn more about synthetic blend oil, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

The post What Is Synthetic Blend Oil? appeared first on NAPA Know How Blog.

What Is Synthetic Blend Oil?

Thursday, December 14th, 2017
A mechanic shop. A car is hoisted above the mechanic, who is changing its oil.

You’ve probably seen it on the shelves of your local auto parts store or repair shop and wondered: What is synthetic blend oil? Also known as part- or semi-synthetic motor oil, it consists of a combination of mineral oil and synthetic base oil. This means that it provides some of the same benefits as a full-synthetic motor oil, including improved wear detection and fuel efficiency. Here’s a look at the differences between the two prominent motor oil types and why synthetic blend oil can be a beneficial third option.

Conventional and Synthetic Motor Oil

If you shop for motor oil, you’ll find two familiar types: conventional and synthetic.

Conventional oil has been around since Valvoline produced the first engine lubricant in 1866, derived directly from crude oil. Such oils supply lubrication along with high-temperature protection, while remaining stable for many miles.

Full-synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, is chemically engineered in a laboratory. These oils are designed with the express purpose of being free of the contaminants found in crude-based conventional oils. Synthetic oils are also imbued with molecules that reduce friction. Thus, they improve fuel economy, work optimally under extreme temperatures and last longer. Synthetic oils also protect crucial engine parts like cams and pistons. When done properly, using a full-synthetic or a synthetic blend oil can extend the life of an engine.

Synthetic Blend Oil

There is a third motor oil choice available, known as a synthetic blend. Such oils use a mix of conventional and synthetic oils, supplying increased protection from oxidation (corrosion) over conventional motor oil. Other benefits include: seal conditioners for rejuvenating aging engine seals to help stop or prevent oil leaks, additional protection against future engine wear, enhanced removal of sludge and deposits, and longer intervals between oil changes. Such oils are ideal for older vehicles that have 75,000 or more miles on the odometer and have run on conventional oil all along.

Why Choose a Synthetic Blend?

With conventional and full-synthetic motor oils available, why choose a blend of both?

The simple reason is that the synthetic blend offers a stepping stone to a full synthetic. If you’ve been using conventional oil all along and aren’t sure you want to make the leap to synthetic, a blend of both is an ideal transitional step before you make that change.

With the synthetic blend, you’ll enjoy a longer interval between oil changes than with conventional oil, allowing you to evaluate how the oil holds up. If you’re satisfied with the upgrade, you can continue with it or move up to a full synthetic to enjoy even longer oil change intervals and superior engine protection. After all, motor oil is about protecting your engine and keeping it in optimum condition for as long as you own the car.

Now you know the answer to the question: What is synthetic blend oil? Knowing your options, make sure to choose the best oil for your car to protect your investment.

Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. To learn more about synthetic blend oil, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

The post What Is Synthetic Blend Oil? appeared first on NAPA Know How Blog.

Types of Car Differentials and How They Work

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017
A differential system in an automobile

We may never know who invented the differential, but the technology is at least 3,000 years old. Differentials, or diffs, are based on the basic principle that, when cornering, the outside wheel turns faster than the inside wheel, covering more distance. A solid drive axle would bend and break or scuff the tires.

Several types of car differentials have been developed: Some are designed to simply allow for wheel speed difference, while others are designed to counteract it or accentuate it.

Open Differential

The open differential allows for differences in wheel speed or wheel slip but nothing more. The drive shaft pinion gear drives the differential drive gear. A pair of differential bevel gears drive a pair of driven bevel gears, which connect to the axle shafts to drive the wheels. On a typical dry road, the open differential allows the outside wheel to rotate faster than the inside wheel. When traction is good, power from the engine and transmission is transmitted proportionally to each wheel — 50/50 when straight, variable during turns.

The only problem occurs when a drive wheel loses traction, such as on ice or gravel. In this case, the open differential allows all the torque to go to the wheel with no traction, driving the vehicle nowhere. Open differentials are found on most vehicles in the world, but not performance or off-road vehicles.

Limited-Slip Differential

In 1932, finding that the open differential couldn’t drive through hard corners — the inside wheel loses traction in high-speed turns — Ferdinand Porsche developed the limited-slip differential. Under normal driving conditions, straight roads and typical corners, the limited-slip differential acts like an open diff, allowing for wheel speed differences. However, under heavy acceleration and hard cornering, clutches or plates in the limited-slip differential prevent the differential from sending all torque to the wheel with the least resistance. This enables the race car to power through high-speed, high-power corners. Limited-slip differentials are found on many performance vehicles and some ostensibly off-road vehicles.

Locking Differential

Sometimes, any wheel slip is too much, which locking differentials address. Locking differentials, or lockers, can be an extension of limited slip, using clutches and springs to activate a locking mechanism, sending equal torque to each wheel, regardless of the traction availability. Selectable locking differentials use air, electricity or cable. Detroit lockers or click lockers offer excellent locking and torque transfer, but aren’t really differentials, as they completely disengage an axle in turns. Locking differentials of varying types are found on off-road vehicles and some performance vehicles.

Torque-Vectoring Differential

Torque-vectoring differentials are the most advanced and most complicated types of car differential, accentuating the differences in wheel speed as a vehicle corners. Using electronically actuated clutches and a separate controller, torque-vectoring differentials forcibly slow the wheel on the inside of the turn, sending torque to the outside wheel, powering the vehicle through the turn. Also referred to as active differentials, they modulate torque delivery on demand, resulting in a dynamic driving experience and better cornering performance. Torque-vectoring differentials are usually found on rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive performance vehicles, and some vehicles mimic this by modulating brakes on the inside wheel.

Whatever you drive, know that the differential can affect traction and stability, and maintain it regularly to extend its life.

Check out all the drivetrain parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on types of car differentials, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The post Types of Car Differentials and How They Work appeared first on NAPA Know How Blog.

Types of Car Differentials and How They Work

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017
A differential system in an automobile

We may never know who invented the differential, but the technology is at least 3,000 years old. Differentials, or diffs, are based on the basic principle that, when cornering, the outside wheel turns faster than the inside wheel, covering more distance. A solid drive axle would bend and break or scuff the tires.

Several types of car differentials have been developed: Some are designed to simply allow for wheel speed difference, while others are designed to counteract it or accentuate it.

Open Differential

The open differential allows for differences in wheel speed or wheel slip but nothing more. The drive shaft pinion gear drives the differential drive gear. A pair of differential bevel gears drive a pair of driven bevel gears, which connect to the axle shafts to drive the wheels. On a typical dry road, the open differential allows the outside wheel to rotate faster than the inside wheel. When traction is good, power from the engine and transmission is transmitted proportionally to each wheel — 50/50 when straight, variable during turns.

The only problem occurs when a drive wheel loses traction, such as on ice or gravel. In this case, the open differential allows all the torque to go to the wheel with no traction, driving the vehicle nowhere. Open differentials are found on most vehicles in the world, but not performance or off-road vehicles.

Limited-Slip Differential

In 1932, finding that the open differential couldn’t drive through hard corners — the inside wheel loses traction in high-speed turns — Ferdinand Porsche developed the limited-slip differential. Under normal driving conditions, straight roads and typical corners, the limited-slip differential acts like an open diff, allowing for wheel speed differences. However, under heavy acceleration and hard cornering, clutches or plates in the limited-slip differential prevent the differential from sending all torque to the wheel with the least resistance. This enables the race car to power through high-speed, high-power corners. Limited-slip differentials are found on many performance vehicles and some ostensibly off-road vehicles.

Locking Differential

Sometimes, any wheel slip is too much, which locking differentials address. Locking differentials, or lockers, can be an extension of limited slip, using clutches and springs to activate a locking mechanism, sending equal torque to each wheel, regardless of the traction availability. Selectable locking differentials use air, electricity or cable. Detroit lockers or click lockers offer excellent locking and torque transfer, but aren’t really differentials, as they completely disengage an axle in turns. Locking differentials of varying types are found on off-road vehicles and some performance vehicles.

Torque-Vectoring Differential

Torque-vectoring differentials are the most advanced and most complicated types of car differential, accentuating the differences in wheel speed as a vehicle corners. Using electronically actuated clutches and a separate controller, torque-vectoring differentials forcibly slow the wheel on the inside of the turn, sending torque to the outside wheel, powering the vehicle through the turn. Also referred to as active differentials, they modulate torque delivery on demand, resulting in a dynamic driving experience and better cornering performance. Torque-vectoring differentials are usually found on rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive performance vehicles, and some vehicles mimic this by modulating brakes on the inside wheel.

Whatever you drive, know that the differential can affect traction and stability, and maintain it regularly to extend its life.

Check out all the drivetrain parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on types of car differentials, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The post Types of Car Differentials and How They Work appeared first on NAPA Know How Blog.

Kraus to Drive BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017
Kraus to Drive BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota

Bill McAnally Racing announced today that Derek Kraus will drive the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry for BMR in 2018, as he contends for the championship in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

The 16-year-old Stratford, Wisconsin driver took Rookie of the Year honors in the series this past season and was part of the BMR lineup that dominated the competition.

In addition to running the full 15-race schedule in the West division of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Kraus is also slated to compete in select events in the East division in 2018.

“We’re excited to announce that Derek will take the wheel of the No. 16 NAPA Toyota,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “We were very impressed with his performance this past season and we will work hard to carry that momentum into next year.

“We look forward to seeing Derek continue his development,” McAnally said. “We’re confident he has what it takes to be a NASCAR champion.

“In addition to his performance on track this year, Derek also did a remarkable job in representing BMR and our partners,” McAnally said. “He has a great passion for racing and is an outstanding representative.”

The 2018 season will mark BMR’s 28th year of sponsorship by NAPA AUTO PARTS.

“We take great pride in representing NAPA AUTO PARTS,” said McAnally. “They are the ones who make the championships possible. We can’t thank everyone at NAPA enough for all they do.”

Kraus takes the seat vacated by Todd Gilliland, who drove the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry to back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017. Gilliland, Chris Eggleston, and Kraus gave BMR a 1-2-3 finish, respectively, in the K&N West championship standings for 2017. They combined to win 11 of 14 series races this past season, with Kraus getting a victory in the season finale.

“I have big shoes to fill in going to the No. 16 NAPA Toyota, where Todd won two championships,” Kraus said. “We want to keep that going and win another championship, and get more wins. I think we can do that with all the great people at BMR.”

He credits the teamwork at BMR for the success.

“This year it showed,” he said. “Everyone worked together really hard in the shop and at the track. I think it’s really neat how everyone at BMR works together.”

Kraus made the transition to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series this past season after competing in super late models at multiple tracks in 2016. He continued to race in select super late model events in 2017, on his off weekends from K&N West competition.

Kraus began his racing career as a 7-year-old competing in the Wisconsin State Go Kart Series in 2008. Success in karting led him to move up to the Midwest Bandolero Series, where he won championships in 2013 and 2014. He followed that up with a championship in the Midwest Truck Series in 2015. In addition, he also won rookie titles that year in the American Ethanol Super Truck Series and at State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Among his accomplishments, he became the youngest driver to win an ARCA Midwest Tour Series race, breaking a 25-year-old record set by Matt Kenseth.

BMR captured its third straight title in 2017 and eighth K&N West championship overall – a record for the series and the NASCAR Regional Touring level.

The post Kraus to Drive BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota appeared first on NAPA Know How Blog.

Kraus to Drive BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017
Kraus to Drive BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota

Bill McAnally Racing announced today that Derek Kraus will drive the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry for BMR in 2018, as he contends for the championship in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

The 16-year-old Stratford, Wisconsin, driver took Rookie of the Year honors in the series this past season and was part of the BMR lineup that dominated the competition.

In addition to running the full 15-race schedule in the West division of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Kraus is also slated to compete in select events in the East division in 2018.

“We’re excited to announce that Derek will take the wheel of the No. 16 NAPA Toyota,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “We were very impressed with his performance this past season and we will work hard to carry that momentum into next year.

“We look forward to seeing Derek continue his development,” McAnally said. “We’re confident he has what it takes to be a NASCAR champion.

“In addition to his performance on track this year, Derek also did a remarkable job in representing BMR and our partners,” McAnally said. “He has a great passion for racing and is an outstanding representative.”

The 2018 season will mark BMR’s 28th year of sponsorship by NAPA AUTO PARTS.

“We take great pride in representing NAPA AUTO PARTS,” said McAnally. “They are the ones who make the championships possible. We can’t thank everyone at NAPA enough for all they do.”

Kraus takes the seat vacated by Todd Gilliland, who drove the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry to back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017. Gilliland, Chris Eggleston, and Kraus gave BMR a 1-2-3 finish, respectively, in the K&N West championship standings for 2017. They combined to win 11 of 14 series races this past season, with Kraus getting a victory in the season finale.

“I have big shoes to fill in going to the No. 16 NAPA Toyota, where Todd won two championships,” Kraus said. “We want to keep that going and win another championship, and get more wins. I think we can do that with all the great people at BMR.”

He credits the teamwork at BMR for the success.

“This year it showed,” he said. “Everyone worked together really hard in the shop and at the track. I think it’s really neat how everyone at BMR works together.”

Kraus made the transition to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series this past season after competing in super late models at multiple tracks in 2016. He continued to race in select super late model events in 2017, on his off weekends from K&N West competition.

Kraus began his racing career as a 7-year-old competing in the Wisconsin State Go Kart Series in 2008. Success in karting led him to move up to the Midwest Bandolero Series, where he won championships in 2013 and 2014. He followed that up with a championship in the Midwest Truck Series in 2015. In addition, he also won rookie titles that year in the American Ethanol Super Truck Series and at State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Among his accomplishments, he became the youngest driver to win an ARCA Midwest Tour Series race, breaking a 25-year-old record set by Matt Kenseth.

BMR captured its third straight title in 2017 and eighth K&N West championship overall – a record for the series and the NASCAR Regional Touring level.

The post Kraus to Drive BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota appeared first on NAPA Know How Blog.

Know-How Notes: All About Zip Ties

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017
zip ties guide

Zippity-doo-da, zippity-yay, I’m gonna organize some wiring today! Cable ties, or zip ties as they are more commonly known, may be one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind.  Invented in 1958 by Thomas & Betts, zip ties were branded Ty-Rap, and were designed for securing wiring in airplanes. Today, there are many different types, and some very specific specialty zip ties. They are simple in function, yet can be used for thousands of tasks from bundling wires and securing components to safety and law enforcement use. While we are all familiar with the most common zip ties, there are actually quite a few variations, some with very specific uses. Their uses go far beyond cleaning up wires under the dash and holding a tarp on your lawn mower.

Most zip ties operate in the same manner – a ratcheting lever inside the head of the strap locks into one-way ramps on the strap itself. In most cases, the lever is made from the same material as the strap, but in some specialty ties, it is a metal lever that is bonded into the strap during manufacturing. These ties are stronger than the common nylon ties. While most zip ties are not designed to be reusable (some are, such as law enforcement cuff straps), nearly any zip tie can be released without cutting using a small pin (paperclips work great) to release the locking lever inside the head of the tied. There is a loss of strength each time you release the tie.

Inside a zip tie. You can see the tang and the locking strips and how they interact. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Types Of Zip Ties

These standard zip ties are suitable for general purpose, meaning wire ties, securing light-duty tarps, etc. These are not high-strength.

Standard Nylon Zip Ties

The most common zip tie is the nylon light duty zip tie. Standard nylon comes in everything from light duty (you can snap it with your hands) to heavy duty thick nylon that is quite durable. While they come in a myriad of colors, white and black are the most common. A minimum of 2% carbon black is required for standard nylon zip ties, this gives them UV resistance when used outdoors.

Security Zip Ties

Whether used for securing a latch or restraining a suspect, security zip ties are a necessary component. They can still be cut, however they are thicker and more durable than standard nylon ties. For law enforcement, they zip cuffs even have two locking heads, one for each wrist. These are tamper-proof, so that they can’t be easily unlocked with a pin. Other types of security ties have tamper-proof heads and can even have serial numbers.

When you need strength and security, you need a steel locking tang. These are harder to pick (using a paperclip), and have significantly more strength.

Specialty Zip Ties

There are some specialty ties available for singular purposes, such as radiator zip ties. These are designed to go through the fins of a radiator to secure cooling fans and other finned coolers (oil, transmission, and A/C) to the radiator. There are also specialty ties that have screw mount holes molded into them for positive mounting with a screw.

When you need to attach an accessory cooler in front or behind your radiator, these are zip ties you want. Available in 4-packs as Transmission Cooler Mounts at your local NAPA.

Stainless Steel Zip Ties

When it comes to high heat application, stainless steel zip ties are very helpful. Automotive uses include exhaust wraps and repairs, as well as securing heavy items, up to 400 pounds. These ties do not use a lever lock, instead they have a ball lock or resistance locking mechanism. Stainless Steel ties are not single piece, it is possible to damage them if you over tighten the head.

Fore securing high-heat applications, such as exhaust wrap, you need a stainless steel tie. These don’t lock in the same manner, and tend to be slightly loose, but they are secure and won’t melt.

Food Grade Zip Ties

The food industry uses zip ties, but this can represent a problem as you would not want an errant piece of tie ending up in prepared food. To eliminate this, all food- grade ties are blue and have metal particles in the nylon itself. This allows them to trip metal detectors that scan containers.

Halar Zip Ties

For chemical resistance in corrosive application, Halar (ECTFE, Ethylene ChloroTriFluoroEthylene), is used where corrosive acids are present in high concentrations and temperatures.

Tefzel Zip Ties

These ties are designed for use in high-radiation environments. Made ETFE  (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), which is called Tefzel, these ties are resistant to radiation and high temperatures.

Releasable Zip Ties

Releasable ties are available for just about every type of zip tie, they are designed to be reused, so they do not lose strength when released like typical nylon zip ties do.

LigaTie Zip Ties

One of the coolest zip ties there are is one that most of us will never actually see. LigaTie is a resorbable (absorbable) zip tie used in surgery to speed up surgery times. Once secured, the zip tie helps speed up healing and then it absorbed into the body. These are becoming quite popular with surgeons performing gastrointestinal operations.

How To Use A Zip Tie

Using a zip tie is quite simple – load the small tail into the head and pull. You will hear clicking when the tie is correctly loaded into the head. It is possible to put the tie together backwards, where the locking ramps are upside down, not making contact with the lever. This does not damage the tie; it just won’t work until you flip it over.

The important thing to know when using zip ties is to make sure your application matches the ties you have. If you are securing some wires of a component under the dash, a standard tie will work great, but light duty ties are only good for a few pounds of pressure. It is a good idea to keep a few different grades of zip ties on hand for every need you have.

Check out all the tools & equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on zip ties, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The post Know-How Notes: All About Zip Ties appeared first on NAPA Know How Blog.

Know-How Notes: All About Zip Ties

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017
zip ties guide

Zippity-doo-da, zippity-yay, I’m gonna organize some wiring today! Cable ties, or zip ties as they are more commonly known, may be one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind.  Invented in 1958 by Thomas & Betts, zip ties were branded Ty-Rap, and were designed for securing wiring in airplanes. Today, there are many different types, and some very specific specialty zip ties. They are simple in function, yet can be used for thousands of tasks from bundling wires and securing components to safety and law enforcement use. While we are all familiar with the most common zip ties, there are actually quite a few variations, some with very specific uses. Their uses go far beyond cleaning up wires under the dash and holding a tarp on your lawn mower.

Most zip ties operate in the same manner – a ratcheting lever inside the head of the strap locks into one-way ramps on the strap itself. In most cases, the lever is made from the same material as the strap, but in some specialty ties, it is a metal lever that is bonded into the strap during manufacturing. These ties are stronger than the common nylon ties. While most zip ties are not designed to be reusable (some are, such as law enforcement cuff straps), nearly any zip tie can be released without cutting using a small pin (paperclips work great) to release the locking lever inside the head of the tied. There is a loss of strength each time you release the tie.

Inside a zip tie. You can see the tang and the locking strips and how they interact. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Types Of Zip Ties

These standard zip ties are suitable for general purpose, meaning wire ties, securing light-duty tarps, etc. These are not high-strength.

Standard Nylon Zip Ties

The most common zip tie is the nylon light duty zip tie. Standard nylon comes in everything from light duty (you can snap it with your hands) to heavy duty thick nylon that is quite durable. While they come in a myriad of colors, white and black are the most common. A minimum of 2% carbon black is required for standard nylon zip ties, this gives them UV resistance when used outdoors.

Security Zip Ties

Whether used for securing a latch or restraining a suspect, security zip ties are a necessary component. They can still be cut, however they are thicker and more durable than standard nylon ties. For law enforcement, they zip cuffs even have two locking heads, one for each wrist. These are tamper-proof, so that they can’t be easily unlocked with a pin. Other types of security ties have tamper-proof heads and can even have serial numbers.

When you need strength and security, you need a steel locking tang. These are harder to pick (using a paperclip), and have significantly more strength.

Specialty Zip Ties

There are some specialty ties available for singular purposes, such as radiator zip ties. These are designed to go through the fins of a radiator to secure cooling fans and other finned coolers (oil, transmission, and A/C) to the radiator. There are also specialty ties that have screw mount holes molded into them for positive mounting with a screw.

When you need to attach an accessory cooler in front or behind your radiator, these are zip ties you want. Available in 4-packs as Transmission Cooler Mounts at your local NAPA.

Stainless Steel Zip Ties

When it comes to high heat application, stainless steel zip ties are very helpful. Automotive uses include exhaust wraps and repairs, as well as securing heavy items, up to 400 pounds. These ties do not use a lever lock, instead they have a ball lock or resistance locking mechanism. Stainless Steel ties are not single piece, it is possible to damage them if you over tighten the head.

Fore securing high-heat applications, such as exhaust wrap, you need a stainless steel tie. These don’t lock in the same manner, and tend to be slightly loose, but they are secure and won’t melt.

Food Grade Zip Ties

The food industry uses zip ties, but this can represent a problem as you would not want an errant piece of tie ending up in prepared food. To eliminate this, all food- grade ties are blue and have metal particles in the nylon itself. This allows them to trip metal detectors that scan containers.

Halar Zip Ties

For chemical resistance in corrosive application, Halar (ECTFE, Ethylene ChloroTriFluoroEthylene), is used where corrosive acids are present in high concentrations and temperatures.

Tefzel Zip Ties

These ties are designed for use in high-radiation environments. Made ETFE  (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), which is called Tefzel, these ties are resistant to radiation and high temperatures.

Releasable Zip Ties

Releasable ties are available for just about every type of zip tie, they are designed to be reused, so they do not lose strength when released like typical nylon zip ties do.

LigaTie Zip Ties

One of the coolest zip ties there are is one that most of us will never actually see. LigaTie is a resorbable (absorbable) zip tie used in surgery to speed up surgery times. Once secured, the zip tie helps speed up healing and then it absorbed into the body. These are becoming quite popular with surgeons performing gastrointestinal operations.

How To Use A Zip Tie

Using a zip tie is quite simple – load the small tail into the head and pull. You will hear clicking when the tie is correctly loaded into the head. It is possible to put the tie together backwards, where the locking ramps are upside down, not making contact with the lever. This does not damage the tie; it just won’t work until you flip it over.

The important thing to know when using zip ties is to make sure your application matches the ties you have. If you are securing some wires of a component under the dash, a standard tie will work great, but light duty ties are only good for a few pounds of pressure. It is a good idea to keep a few different grades of zip ties on hand for every need you have.

Check out all the tools & equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on zip ties, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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