Charles Ofria

Automotive Expert

Charles Ofria was an automotive journalist who was active in the automotive industry for over 40 years. During the '70s, he was owner-operator of Ofria Automotive, a thriving auto repair shop in Brooklyn, NY. During that time he became involved with auto mechanic training when he set up courses to help prepare mechanics to take the then new A.S.E. (Automotive Service Excellence) mechanic certification exams.

Articles by Charles Ofria

Reviews

2001 Cadillac DeVille DTS Road Test

   Category:  $45,000 - $60,000 Luxury Sedan  Who should buy this car:  An upwardly mobile executive that wants it all. Power, comfort, lots of room, loads of technical wizardry  Comparable...Read more

Guides

A Short Course on Automatic Transmissions

The modern automatic transmission is by far, the most complicated mechanical component in today's automobile. Automatic transmissions contain mechanical systems, hydraulic systems, electrical systems and computer controls, all working together...Read more

Reviews

Hybrid Power Systems for the New Millennium

The Concept -- How Hybrid Cars work in simple terms The Cars -- What it's like to drive them The Nuts & Bolts -- How the hardware works in technical...Read more

DIY

Is the Car You Are Considering Driver Friendly?

Today's cars have features that would boggle the mind of folks just a few years ago. The problem is that with all these features, it is becoming more difficult to...Read more

Tips

Run Flat Tires: A Look at the Michelin PAX System

Prior to the '50s, all tires had inner tubes, which were so fraught with problems that flat tires were a common occurrence. Out of necessity, a spare tire and the...Read more

DIY

What Type of Vehicle Should You Buy?

Sedan? Minivan? SUV? Crossover? What type of vehicle should you buy? We discus the good and the bad qualities for each vehicle type. Today's cars have features that would boggle...Read more

Tips

Is Your 4 to 8-year-old Child Using an Adult Seat Belt?

Children between the ages of four and eight years old fall into an area that,up till now, has been neglected by safety advocates. These children (in the range of 40...Read more

Tips

Would You Put Your Child in an Oven?

According to The National Safe Kids Campaign and General Motors, that is exactly what some parents do when they leave their child unattended in a car while they go off...Read more

DIY

How Much Should You Spend for Your Next Car? (and what will you get for your money?)

Looking for a new car? There are hundreds of models to choose from, with prices starting below $10,000 and going beyond a quarter-million, with most falling somewhere in between. With...Read more

Reviews

2001 Volkswagen Passat GLX Road Test

Car enthusiasts consider Volkswagen to be one of the top manufacturers of competent automobiles in the low to mid price range. But for many baby boomers, especially those who pay...Read more

Reviews

2005 Mazda3 Road Test

Tons of competition crowd the compact sedan category, which includes some notable entries like the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Ford Focus and VW Golf; however, most cars in this class...Read more

Reviews

2001 Mercedes Benz C320 Road Test

Ah,the "Mercedes Mystique." It began more than a century ago when the founders of Daimler Benz invented the automobile itself in 1886. Since that historical beginning,Mercedes has maintained a well-deserved...Read more

Reviews

2006 Mercedes Benz CLS Road Test

Mercedes likes to strut their stuff at car shows, often displaying radical styling exercises in order to gauge public reaction, but usually these one-off show cars are never actually built...Read more

Reviews

2003 Toyota Matrix Road Test

Finding a brand new market segment is a dream of most automobile manufacturers. It means that, for awhile at least, you have the market all to yourself. One of the...Read more

Reviews

2006 Lexus GS430 Road Test

It never fails. I road test a bunch of cars, become impressed with a few and, in the process, bump up my expectations of how a fine car should feel...Read more

Reviews

2005 Scion tC Road Test

Do you remember your first car? I know I do. It was a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 2 door hardtop. I just got my driver's license and I needed a...Read more

Reviews

Toyota 4Runner Road Test

Toyota took a perfectly good truck and made it as quiet and smooth riding as a car. After finishing my first drive of the all-new 2003 Toyota 4Runner, I had...Read more

Reviews

2001 Ford Focus ZX3 Road Test

The Ford Focus ZX3 was a bright, spunky little thing and we had a good old time together. As long as the weather held out, that is. While it's fine...Read more

Guides

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 2 Door Hardtop

This was my first real car (actually, I had a 53 Studebaker Commander before this one, but I never got it on the road, so it doesn't count). I bought...Read more

Reviews

BMW 745i Road Test

I am fascinated whenever one of the megabuck sedans comes up for a complete makeover because manufacturers typically use this opportunity to showcase groundbreaking technology for the first time. I...Read more

Reviews

2001 Buick Regal GS Road Test

Buick built its first production car in 1904, quickly attaining the position of number one producer of automobiles in America by 1908. In the years that followed, this GM division...Read more

Reviews

2002 Honda Civic SI Road Test

You were accepted into the college of your choice and your straight A's in high school won you a scholarship that will absorb much of the cost of your education....Read more

Reviews

2002 Jaguar XJ Road Test

Want to know how it feels to be seen as a person with undeniable class? Get behind the wheel of a big Jag, like the Vanden Plas, and you'll find...Read more

Reviews

2006 Audi A3 Road Test

German manufacturer Audi is trying to cut itself another slice of the United States sales pie with the recent introduction of its compact A3. It is the smallest and least...Read more

Reviews

2001 Chrysler 300M Road Test

Category: $25,000 - $35,000 Luxury Sports Sedan Who should buy this car: A family looking for a well-rounded, roomy sedan with lots of performance and way-out styling. Comparable models in...Read more

Reviews

2004 Chevrolet Malibu Road Test

The mid-size four door sedan segment of the new car market is very crowded with lots of excellent offerings. The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are just two of the...Read more

Reviews

2004 Ford F-150 Road Test

Category: $20,000 - $37,000 Full Sized Pickup Truck Who should buy this truck: Anyone looking for a full-sized pickup truck that will be used for work or play, on road...Read more

Reviews

2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Road Test

I was asked by my nephew if I would dog-sit fora week. I reluctantly agreed. It's not that I dislike dogs or even that I dislike this dog. I don't....Read more

Reviews

2005 Buick LaCrosse Road Test

Take a good look at the new Buick LaCrosse and you'll pretty much get the whole story without ever stepping inside. It's all-new, obviously, but it doesn't stand out in...Read more

Reviews

What it’s Like to Drive a Ferrari

Today more people than ever before can afford to own a Ferrari. The question is: how many of these new millionaires, who are also being lured by the performance and...Read more

Reviews

2006 Ford Explorer Road Test

Ford does trucks better than any other manufacturer selling vehicles in the USA. That is not my opinion, it is the opinion of you, the consumer who actually buys these...Read more

Reviews

2003 Ford Expedition Road Test

Category: $35,000 - 45,000 Large SUV Who should buy this car: A family looking for a large go-anywhere vehicle that is comfortable, kid friendly and rugged. Comparable cars in this...Read more

Reviews

2003 Infiniti G35 Road Test

Traffic was crawling and I was impatient. I was driving a car intended to turn the sport sedan field on its collective ear, but all I could do was evaluate...Read more

Reviews

2006 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Road Test

When I was a child, the world of personal motor vehicles consisted of 3 distinct types--cars, trucks and jeeps. If you think that was an unusual point of view, I...Read more

Reviews

2005 Ford Five Hundred Road Test

Category: $22,000 - $30,000 Front-drive (or AWD) Sedan Who should buy this car: Anyone looking for a comfortable, roomy sedan with all-weather traction capability and lots of trunk space Comparable...Read more

Reviews

2001 Volkswagen Beetle GLX Turbo Road Test

Car enthusiasts consider Volkswagen to be one of the top manufacturers of competent automobiles in the low to mid price range. Inside, I found the driving position to be ideal....Read more

Reviews

2006 Infiniti M45 Road Test

Category: $45,000 - $55,000 Rear-drive Sports Sedan Who should buy this car: A person who refuses to compromise between a luxury sedan and an all-out performance sedan. Comparable models in...Read more

Reviews

2002 Jeep Liberty Limited Road Test

Category: $15,000 - $25,000 Sport-Utility Vehicle Who should buy this car: Someone looking for a small SUV that thrives on rough terrain and steep hills Comparable models in this class:...Read more

Reviews

2007 Lexus ES350 Road Test

Category: $30,000 - $40,000 Mid-Size Front-Wheel Drive Luxury Sedan Who should buy this car: A person looking for a comfortable, upscale front-drive sedan with impeccable fit and finish and an...Read more

Reviews

2006 Lincoln Zephyr Road Test

Category: $30,000 - $35,000 Mid-Size Near Luxury Sedan Who should buy this car: Anyone looking for a comfortable, classy, mid-sized sedan with clean styling and good build quality with an...Read more

Reviews

2007 Mazda CX-7 Road Test

Category: $24,000 to $33,000 Mid-Size Car-Based SUV Who should buy this car: A person looking for a fun-to-drive, car-based SUV with style and flair Comparable cars in this class: Buick...Read more

Reviews

2007 Mercedes Benz S550 Road Test

Category: $85,000 to $150,000 Luxury Sedan Who should buy this car: A person who wants the best sedan in the world and doesn't mind paying for it. Comparable cars in...Read more

Reviews

2003 Mini Cooper Road Test

Category: $16,000 to $20,000 Sub-compact car (or large go-cart) Who should buy this car: A person looking for an alternative to popping stimulants Comparable cars in this class: Volkswagen Beetle...Read more

Reviews

2001 Toyota Sienna Road Test

Category: $20,000 - $30,000 Minivan Who should buy this car: A family in need of a reliable, comfortable and practical people and stuff mover. A small business seeking an inexpensive...Read more

Reviews

2006 Ford Fusion Road Test

Nothing in recent memory has captured the hearts and imagination of the American public like the 1986 Ford Taurus and its sibling, the Mercury Sable.  Those two cars have single-handedly...Read more

Reviews

2003 Honda Accord Road Test 

In today's mid-sized sedan market, there are really no bad choices.  Any car you buy in this class will deliver years of reliable service, get good gas mileage, ride smoothly...Read more

Reviews

2001 Lexus IS 300 Road Test

When Lexus goes on the prowl for another new market segment, the automotive press takes notice. This is because, when the dust settles, the class leader that emerges often wears...Read more

Reviews

2001 Volvo XC Cross Country Road Test

Volvo built its first Cross Country wagon in 1996. It was an all-wheel drive version of the popular V70 wagon. Volvo planned to sell 15,000 examples in the first year;...Read more

Reviews

2002 Volvo S60 AWD Road Test

"Volvo. It's boxy but good." Ever since the movie "Crazy People" used that phrase in a fictitious advertising campaign, the words just seem to run through my head any time...Read more

Reviews

Oldsmobile Aurora Road Test

Category: $30,000 - $40,000 Family Sedan Who should buy this car: Someone looking for a stylish, roomy, powerful sedan built in the USA by an American car company Comparable models...Read more

Reviews

2002 Lexus SC 430 Road Test

Lexus has come a long way since its birth twelve short years ago. It has earned recognition as one of the most respected brands in the automotive industry, establishing itself...Read more

Reviews

2006 Lexus IS 350 Road Test

I recently had a chance to sample the newest version of the small sport sedan from Lexus, the new 2006 IS 350.  Driving this car for the first time had...Read more

Reviews

2006 Mazda5 Road Test

Category: $17,500 to $25,000 Front-Wheel Drive 6-passenger Compact Wagon Who should buy this car: A person looking for a small, funky looking, fun-to-drive vehicle that will seat 6 and be...Read more

Reviews

2003 Mercedes Benz E-Class Road Test

Category: $50,000 to $60,000 Rear Drive Luxury Sport Sedan Who should buy this car: A person looking for a world class European luxury sedan that delivers status without compromise. Comparable...Read more

Reviews

2004 Mazda 6 Road Test

So you are in the market for a mid-sized sedan and you realized that there is a bewildering array of cars to choose from in this category. Take a look...Read more

Reviews

2002 Nissan Altima Road Test

It's not often that a mid-sized sedan comes along that combines startling good looks with blazing performance in a price range that is affordable for families on a tight budget....Read more

Reviews

2003 Nissan Murano Road Test

It's getting harder to pick out a car these days. Unlike you, who know to come to publications like CarParts.com, most people don't know where to look for impartial information...Read more

Reviews

2002 Ford Thunderbird Road Test

The new Thunderbird is at your local Ford Dealer now and from the looks of it, they will sell every one that they build for the foreseeable future. This is...Read more

Reviews

The Mercedes Benz S Class Road Test

Whenever you see a shiny black Mercedes S-Class go by, the tendency of, as Leona Helmsley might say, the "Little People" is to gaze into the car to see who...Read more

Reviews

2001 Saturn L200 Road Test

When GM rolled the first Saturn off the assembly line in 1990, they introduced a radical new way to build and market automobiles. In fact, their people-oriented approach was considered...Read more

Reviews

2007 Toyota Camry Road Test

I happen to like vanilla ice cream.  Especially those premium kinds from the companies with the fancy names.  But "vanilla" has another meaning in Webster's Dictionary. If you look it...Read more

Reviews

2003 Toyota Corolla Road Test

The last time I tested a Corolla, I was quite impressed with it.  Enough so that I recommended it to my son, who was looking for his first new car. ...Read more

Reviews

2007 Toyota Yaris 4 Door Sedan and 2 Door Liftback

When people go shopping for a new car, it goes without saying that (unless you are the head of a large corporation) price is a very important factor in the...Read more

Guides

A Short Course on Automobile Engines

Internal combustion gasoline engines run on a mixture of gasoline and air. The ideal mixture is 14.7 parts of air to one part of gasoline (by weight.) Since gas weighs...Read more

Guides

A Short Course on Wheel Alignment

In its most basic form, a wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. The...Read more

Guides

A Short Course on Brakes

The modern automotive brake system has been refined for over 100 years and has become extremely dependable and efficient. The typical brake system consists of disk brakes in front and...Read more

Guides

A Short Course on Fuel Systems

This article is broken down into four sections: What is a Fuel System? How Does a Fuel System Work? The Components of a Fuel System Fuel System Maintenance & Repair...Read more

Reviews

2002 Lexus ES300 Road Test

Every time Lexus has a press preview for a new car, I approach the event with great expectations. This latest debut, the fourth in less than a year, was held...Read more

Reviews

2005 Chrysler 300C Road Test

I have to admit that I began this road test with low expectations. When I first saw the prototype for the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Magnum, I didn't like...Read more

Reviews

2001 Lexus LS 430 Road Test

When Lexus introduced the First Generation LS 400 in 1989, a surprised automotive press embraced it as, quite possibly, one of the best cars in the world. Within a couple...Read more

Reviews

2008 Nissan Altima Coupe Road Test Review

Hi everyone, I'm Charles and I am addicted to the look of the Infiniti G35 Coupe, but I can't afford one. Everyone: "Hi Charles" Well, I just found out that...Read more

Guides

Understanding Your Dashboard Gauges

The minimum number of gauges on a passenger car dashboard are the speedometer and the fuel gauge. The most common additional gauge is the temperature gauge followed by the tachometer,...Read more

Guides

A Short Course on Charging Systems

This article is broken down into six sections: What is a charging system The Alternator The Voltage Regulator Charging system gauge or warning lamp What Can Go Wrong Repairing Charging...Read more

Guides

A Short Course on Ignition Systems

The purpose of the ignition system is to create a spark that will ignite the fuel-air mixture in the cylinder of an engine. It must do this at exactly the...Read more

DIY

Does Your Car Do This? (Common Symptoms and What to Do About Them)

The steering wheel vibrates at certain speeds, usually between 50 and 70 miles per hour. This is usually caused by a front wheel out of balance. If you feel the...Read more

DIY

My Car Won’t Start, What Should I Do?

With today's computer controlled cars, the possibility of a vehicle not starting when you turn the key is less likely than ever before.  But it does happen, and when it...Read more

Reviews

2001 Lexus ES 300 Road Test

Ever fall in love with a car?  If you are looking for a comfortable, good looking sedan with room for five and you like to drive, this could be the...Read more

Reviews

2002 Infiniti Q45 Road Test

There are always special cars that make the pulse of an automotive journalist kick up a notch or two. For many scribes that I know, it's the rocket sleds like...Read more

Reviews

2006 Honda Civic Hybrid Road Test

Gas prices are on everyone's minds these days. And the outlook for the future is not any brighter. Working people who must commute to their job and salespeople who must...Read more

Reviews

Mercedes Benz CL500 Road Test

Category: $95,000 to $130,000 Premium Luxury Coupe Who should buy this car: A person looking for the ultimate luxury coupe with all the status and class that goes with it...Read more

Guides

A Short Course on Cooling Systems

This article is broken down into four sections: What is a cooling system? How does a cooling system work? The components of a cooling system Cooling system maintenance & Repair...Read more