Vehicle/Engine Technology

Engine technology is getting more complicated all the time. Never mind the intricate workings of today’s gas engines – there are now hybrids and electrics on the market too. Sorting through the differences, and what might make sense for an individual consumer, can be a challenge.

To help consumers understand today’s engines, we commissioned two of Canada’s best-known automotive journalists, Gerry Malloy and Marc Lachapelle, to write an e-book. The aim is to provide simple but complete explanations that are easy to navigate and useful to consumers.

Providing relevant, helpful information about the latest in automotive innovation is part of the DNA of the Canadian Automobile Association. We want Canadians to be informed so they can be knowledgeable automotive consumers, and we think this e-book will be another step in that direction.

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ESC, also known as electronic stability control is anti-skidding vehicle technology that monitors the direction a vehicle is traveling and in the event of wheel spin or skidding, can activate the vehicle’s brakes to stop the skid and maintain road traction.

According to Transport Canada, ESC could prevent approximately 30% of the injuries and fatalities that result from collisions involving loss of control on Canadian roads. As a result, Transport Canada has implemented regulations that make ESC standard equipment on all light vehicles manufactured after September 1st, 2011.

CAA is a strong proponent of ESC technology and is actively promoting ESC to its members and Canadian drivers.

How ESC works

ESC works by monitoring the vehicle’s direction as compared to the direction of the steering wheel. This is done upwards of 20 times per second. When the vehicle is driving in a direction that is not in line with the driver’s desired path (i.e. a skid) or if the vehicle’s tires spin, the ESC system will automatically apply braking to certain wheels and it may cut engine power to help the driver regain proper control.

While a human driver can also detect skids and wheel spin, by the time a driver detects this, it may already be too late to prevent loss of control. By having ESC running in the background, the ESC system can actively prevent and reduce skidding conditions and wheel spin before the driver becomes aware of the problem.

The benefits of ESC

ESC technology is one of the most significant advancements in automobile safety technology since the introduction of the seatbelt. Transport Canada estimates that ESC may reduce certain types of motor vehicle crashes in Canada by 30%, resulting in approximately 225 fewer deaths and 755 fewer serious injuries per year.

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