Smarter Than the Average Driver? Take This Car Quiz!

By: Robert Bacon
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
Smarter Than the Average Driver? Take This Car Quiz!
Image: Dennis Gerbeckx/ Moment/ Getty Images

About This Quiz

You service your own vehicle, or maybe you don't have the time, but you reckon you have the ability. If this sounds like you, you're already way ahead of most drivers. You might, for instance, know the "coin trick" to check if your tire's tread depth is too low; you slot a quarter in one of the treads and see how much of the coin is left showing. But do you know how much of the coin is too much?

Is your automotive knowledge strictly mechanical, or are you a real know-it-all? When it comes to rules of the road, do you consider yourself an aficionado? If you encountered unbroken white lines in Washington state, for example, it's not prohibited to change lanes. But do you know under what conditions the Washington state driver guide recommends you cross an unbroken white line? Or maybe you know that State Highway 130 has the highest speed limit in the country. If you were already aware of the majority of the information mentioned, you might have what it takes to ace this quiz.

See if you're the person who should be called when there's an automotive dilemma, or if you're the one who should call someone else. Take this automotive quiz now!

Question 7 - Mustang
Wikicommons by Sicnag
How many cylinders did a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 engine have?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The 1967 Mustang GT500 was, of course, powered by a V8 engine. Would you expect anything else from the king of American muscle? The GT500's 7.0-liter V8 powerplant helped it get down a quarter-mile stretch of track in less than 15 seconds — not bad for a 52-year-old car.

Question 33 - axle
Monty Rakusen/ Cultura/ Getty Images
Do you know what device compensates for wheel speed differences on the driven axle?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A differential allows two wheels to be driven at different speeds. For example, if you're turning left, the rear left tire won't need to rotate as much as the rear right tire. The differential allows this to happen.

Question 16 - expressway
Alexander W Helin/ Moment/ Getty Images
In what way is driving on an expressway different from driving on a normal street?
There are no trucks on an expressway.
You need to think faster and drive more vigilantly.
You're more inclined to break the speed limit.
There are no trucks on a normal street.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Everything happens at a more rapid pace once you go from a regular street to the expressway. So you need to think faster and drive with more caution.


Question 4 - HEV
Marin Tomas/ Moment/ Getty Images
If your car is a HEV, what does it have?
A gas engine and an electric motor
High-powered headlights
A supercharger
A turbocharger
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"HEV" stands for "hybrid electric vehicle," meaning these models have both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Generally speaking, HEVs achieve noticeably better fuel economy than their internal combustion engine counterparts. Toyota's Prius is arguably the most well-known HEV.

Question 25 - LEDs
Marin Tomas/ Moment/ Getty Images
Many cars illuminate the road ahead through the use of LEDs. What does "LED" stand for?
Lights every direction
Light-emitting diode
Light even differential
Lights even daytime
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"LED" stands for "light emitting diode." LED lights are replacing conventional halogen light bulbs at an ever-increasing rate. This is hardly surprising considering that LEDs last considerably longer than halogen bulbs and use just a fraction of the energy to achieve the same level of brightness.

Question 13 - lights
Pozland Photography Tokyo/ Moment Open/ Getty Images
Why do indicator lights sometimes blink faster than they should?
A broken alternator
A loose connection
A low battery
A burnt-out bulb
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Your indicator lights run on a set electrical resistance. When a bulb burns out, the resistance changes. This allows a stronger electrical current to go to the working bulbs which causes them to blink faster.


Question 28 - car interior
Yinjia Pan/ Moment/ Getty Images
If your vehicle's "PS" was broken, you might have a hard time moving the what?
Gear selector
Ignition switch
Steering wheel
Hand brake
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In the automotive world, "PS" referrers to "Power Steering." Low-speed maneuvers without power steering certainly aren't any fun and will have you working up a sweat in no time!

Question 27 - SUVs
by Chakarin Wattanamongkol/ Moment/ Getty Images
SUVs are one of the most popular classes of vehicle, but what does "SUV" stand for?
Sporting ultimate vehicle
Suburban utility vehicle
Sport utility vehicle
Simple utility vehicle
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The 1984 Jeep Cherokee (XJ) is considered by many to be the first modern-style SUV. Since its launch 35 years ago, the SUV has become one of the most popular vehicles in the automotive industry.

Question 24 - tailpipe
Tomasz Pietryszek/ Photodisc/ Getty Images
Black smoke comes out of your tailpipe when ____________.
There's unused fuel in your exhaust system
You drive fast
It's cold
It's hot
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If your engine has in incomplete combustion, solid carbon will form from unburnt fuel. This is what causes the black smoke you see coming out of some exhaust pipes.


Question 21 - white smoke
mathieukor/ E+/ Getty Images
What's the most common reason white smoke comes out of your car when you start it?
Condensation in the exhaust system
The vehicle is running lean.
The engine is too hot.
There's unused fuel in the exhaust system.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

It's normal for thin wispy white smoke to come out of a car's exhaust on a cold morning. This is just the build up of condensation escaping through the exhaust system. If it's thick white smoke that persists, however, you should get your vehicle checked out by a mechanic.

Question 26 - Overinflating
Zero Creatives/ Image Source/ Getty Images
Which of the following could cause a tire to wear faster in the center than on the outside edges?
Driving too fast
Driving too slow
Overinflating the tire
Driving over rough terrain
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If a vehicle's tire is wearing faster in the center than on the edges, there's a good chance the tire is overinflated. You should find the recommended PSI on the sticker in the doorjamb on the driver's side. This number is usually somewhere between 30-35 PSI.

Question 1 - RPM
levente bodo/ Moment/ Getty Images
Which of the following instruments shows your engine's RPM?
Boost gauge
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A tachometer usually shows your engine's RPM (revolutions per minute). The number you see is usually multiplied by 1,000. So, if you see a "3" on your tachometer, your crankshaft is making 3,000 full rotations per minute.


Question 14 - BMW
Wikicommons by nakhon100
Which of the following cars is a "bimmer"?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A "bimmer" is a nickname for a BMW, and BMW's 3-Series is the company's best-selling model. The 318i, specifically, is a BMW 3-Series with a 1.8-liter gasoline engine.

Question 20 - exhaust
Massimo Calmonte ( Moment/ Getty Images
Which of the following best describes a "straight pipe exhaust"?
An exhaust that has been cut near the end
An exhaust with no catalytic converter
An exhaust with no muffler
An exhaust that runs straight from the header to the air, with no muffler or catalytic converter
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Modern exhausts have catalytic converters to help meet emission regulations, and they have mufflers to prevent excessive noise. Straight pipe exhausts have neither of these things, however, and you'll surely hear it before you see it!

Question 30 - rotary
Wikicommons by Taisyo
Do you know the other name for a rotary engine?
A cogged engine
A Wankel engine
A rotating engine
A spinning engine
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A rotary engine is an internal combustion engine, but it works completely different than the engines found in most cars. It was conceived and developed by Dr. Felix Wankel, hence the name.


Question 31 - production
Monty Rakusen/ Cultura/ Getty Images
What is generally considered to be the first affordable production car?
Ford Escort
Toyota Prius
Volkswagen Beetle
Ford Model T
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ford launched the Model T in 1908 and, thanks to an assembly line production process, Ford could sell the base model Model T for $825: that's around $23,000 in today's money. By 1925, Ford had fine-tuned the production process so well that it could sell a Model T for just $260, which is around $7,262 in today's money!

Question 17 - powertrain
Wikicommons by Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz)
Which one of these models houses an all-electric powertrain?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Chevrolet's Bolt launched in 2017 and has been a hugely successful all-electric vehicle for the company. The 2020 model has an EPA-rated all-electric range of 259 miles and starts at $37,495 before tax incentives are taken into account.

Question 12 - parking downhill
Gu/ Image Source/ Getty Images
What way should you point your car's wheels when parking downhill?
Towards the curb
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Parking brakes can fail, especially if you're parked on a steep hill. So, as a preventative measure, you should always point your vehicle's wheels towards a curb when parked on an incline. That way, if your parking brake fails, the curb should stop your vehicle from gaining too much momentum and causing damage or harm.


Question 2 - cars
Monty Rakusen/ Cultura/ Getty Images
Which model's run as the best-selling car of all time came to an end in the '90s?
Model T
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Beetle overtook Ford's Model T in 1972 as the best-selling vehicle. There have been over 21 million Beetles made, far surpassing the Model T's 16.5 million units. The Beetle was surpassed as the best-selling model in the late '90. You'll find out about that later.

Question 10 - headlights
Jetta Productions Inc/ DigitalVision/ Getty Images
In the U.S., at what time can you legally turn off your headlights?
30 minutes after sunrise
10 minutes before sunrise
Whenever you want
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Just because the sun has risen, doesn't mean there's enough light to drive safely without headlights. So, in the U.S., the aw states that you need to wait until 30 minutes after sunrise to turn off your headlights.

Question 15 - car traction
Rafael Ben-Ari/ Photodisc/ Getty Images
When might it be a good idea to turn off your car's traction control system?
When you want to drive fast
When it's raining
When you're stuck in ice, snow, or mud
On a cold day
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Normally, it's never beneficial to turn off your vehicle's traction control system. But if your vehicle is slipping on a slippery surface, cutting the power to its wheels help the tires to disengage from slippery surface so you can drive off.


Question 9 - engine
seksan Mongkhonkhamsao/ Moment/ Getty Images
A naturally aspirated engine has __________.
No forced induction
A supercharger
A turbocharger
A supercharger and a turbocharger
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A naturally aspirated engine is an internal combustion engine that depends solely on atmospheric pressure for its oxygen intake. Engines that use a turbocharger or supercharger have a forced oxygen induction.

Question 34 - snow drive
Massimo Calmonte ( Moment/ Getty Images
One of the following drive systems is best suited for deep snow, but which one?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

On a traditional 4WD (four-wheel-drive) vehicle, the front and rear wheels lock together. This is the best for getting through deep snow. The next best would be an AWD (all-wheel-drive) vehicle, but this system waits for slippage before sending power to the wheels that have lost traction. This is better for general driving, but not for deep snow.

Question 6 - VW
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Which automotive company owns the following brands: Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti?
Fiat Chrysler
General Motors
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Depending on the year, Volkswagen will be either the first-, second-, or third-largest automotive company in the world. As such, it has acquired a number of brands, some of which include Seat, Skoda, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Ducati, and Porsche.


Question 32 -  car
Alexander Spatari/ Moment/ Getty Images
Which of the following is the best-selling car of all time?
Honda Civic
Toyota Corolla
Ford Model T
Volkswagen Golf
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Toyota's Corolla took the best-selling car crown away from Volkswagen in 1997 with the Corolla. The Corolla launched in 1966 and, as of 2016, had sold over 44 million units. This far surpasses the 35 million Volkswagen Golfs which have been sold.

Question 3 - V6 diesel engine
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How many spark plugs does a V6 diesel engine have?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Diesel engine's ignite their fuel through compression, unlike gasoline engines which use a spark from their spark plugs. So, regardless if it's a V6 or a V12, a diesel engine won't have any spark plugs.

Question 11 - Lexus
Wikicommons by Charles01
Which manufacturer created Lexus as its luxury car division in 1989?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In 1983, Toyota's chairman, Eiji Toyoda, decided it was the right time for Toyota to enter the luxury car niche. But these models would be so luxurious that placing a Toyota badge on them might hurt sales. So, in 1989, Lexus was created and launched the flagship LS 400.


Question 5 - tire tread
warodom changyencham/ Moment/ Getty Images
If your tires are below the legal tread limit, which of the following are the most dangerous conditions to drive in?
When it's extremely wet
When it's extremely hot
When it's extremely cold
All the options are equally as dangerous
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The purpose of the threads on a tire is to kick surface water out from under it. The treads give the tire better traction in wet conditions and significantly reduce your chance of hydroplaning.

Question 19 - tire tread
Marin Tomas/ Moment/ Getty Images
What's the minimum tire tread depth in most U.S. states?
0.6 mm
2.2 mm
4 mm
1.6 mm
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Most states require tires to have a minimum tread depth of approximately 1.6 mm (2/32) inches. Studies have found that once tread depth falls below 4/32 inches, tires lose approximately 50% of their available friction in wet conditions.

Question 22 - RWD
Graiki/ Moment/ Getty Images
Generally speaking, which handle better, FWD or RWD cars?
They're both the same.
It depends where the engine is mounted.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Generally speaking, RWD (rear-wheel-drive) cars handle better than FWD (front-wheel-drive) cars. On RWD cars, the rear wheels deal with the power, while the front deal with the turning forces. On a FWD car, however, the front wheels have to deal with a lot more. This is why FWD cars have a tendency to understeer.


Question 8 - speed limit
Image Source/ Image Source/ Getty Images
What's the maximum speed limit you'll find on a public road in America?
60 mph
75 mph
85 mph
95 mph
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

It's certainly not common to find a public road in America with an 85 mph speed limit, so you'll be forgiven if you got this one wrong. In fact, this speed limit only exists on Texas State Highway 130.

Question 23 - seat belts
Witthaya Prasongsin/ Moment/ Getty Images
Can you name the manufacturer which first offered seat belts as standard?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

While American automaker Nash was the first company to offer seat belts as an option in 1949, they weren't the first to offer them as standard. Saab first introduced seat belts as standard on the GT750 in 1958.

Question 18 - beer
John Peabody/ Moment/ Getty Images
How long does it take the human body to dispose of the alcohol in 12 ounces of beer, on average?
One day
30 minutes
One hour
Two hours
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The human body can dispose of the alcohol in 12 ounces of beer in one hour. This is extremely important to know if you're planning on having a drink but don't want to be over the BAC limit.


Question 29 - Mercedes-Benz
Wikicommons by Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Münster, Beresa, Mercedes-Benz C-Klasse Cabrio -- 2018 -- 1757”
Some Mercedes-Benz models are fitted with ABC. What does "ABC" stand for?
Active Brake Control
Air Bounce Control
Active Body Control
Adaptive Brake Control
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Some Mercedes-Benz models can be fitted with fully active suspension, which is known as Active Body Control. This system's purpose is to eliminate body roll as much as possible when braking, cornering and accelerating.

You Got:
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