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How To Maintain A New Car

May 25th, 2017

So you got a new set of wheels – congratulations! You’re going to want to hang onto it as long as possible, so you’ll want to keep it maintained as well as you Car Maintenancecan. Here are some suggestions:

First, read the owner’s manual carefully and stick to manufacturer’s recommendations for service intervals. There are certain things that are critical enough that failure to adhere to recommendations can void a new car warranty. Don’t let that happen!

For instance, just about every manufacturer recommends synthetic oil for their engines; it provides better protection in just about every respect, and it’s more stable at high and low temperatures. If your owner’s manual prescribes a 10,000-mile oil change, stick with that and be sure to use the bra ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Spark Plugs – How Often Should They Be Replaced?

April 27th, 2017

In the old days, a tune-up was necessary about every 35,000 miles. It would usually consist of setting the ignition timing, replacing the mechanical breaker points in the ignition, cleaning and adjusting the carburetor and replacing the plug wires and spark plugs. Today, of course, the carburetor’s job is done by fuel injection and the ignition timing and spark are controlled by the engine computer. Few vehicles still have plug wires anymore either, as the distributor was replaced by the computer and a coil-on-plug design which delivers a spark at each spark plug.

But what about the spark plugs themselves, though? How often do they need to be replaced now?

Manufacturers tout an 80k-100k mile service interval on spark plugs now, thanks in part to improvements in plug design and materials. That might be stretching it, however. Remember that if you have a 100,000-mile spark plug, its electrode is worn down 4/5 of the way at 80,000 miles. A worn ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Uh Oh…My Check Engine Light Is On

March 30th, 2017

So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on…and doesn’t go back off again. You can’t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it’s on anyway.

What does it mean?Check Engine Light

Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.

The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. When ...[more]

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Get Your Car Really, Really, REALLY Clean!

February 23rd, 2017

It can be a lot of work and attention to detail to get your car really clean…especially if it’s pretty dirty to start with…but here are some ideas for truly thorough cleaning that you may not have thought of!Cleaning Car

--A cheap foam paintbrush can get into crevices (like A/C vents) that might be impossible otherwise. As you loosen up dust from these spots, keep a vacuum cleaner nozzle at work in your other hand to suck up the dust and prevent it from settling other places.

--A soft-bristled brush is perfect for cleaning around radio knobs and other buttons.

--While you’re cleaning, don’t forget to locate your cabin air filter and replace it. A dirty cabin air filter can lead to a lot of odd smells and stinks. Check your owner’s manual; cabin a ...[more]

  Tags: tips
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Are You Ready For A Roadside Emergency?

January 26th, 2017

Yeah, yeah…your vehicle’s fairly new and you take care of it, and you’ve even got a membership in AAA. That doesn’t mean that your chances of Car troubleending up in a tight spot are zero. It’s just common sense to be prepared with a trouble bag in your car. Here’s a pretty good rundown of things you should keep in a car emergency kit:

Fully charged cell phone: You may want to consider a cheap prepaid “burner phone” with a long battery life and keep it strictly in the car. If nothing else, at least keep a charged-up power bank on hand.

First-aid kit: At a bare minimum, a first-aid kit should include gauze pads and bandage tape, aspirins, antiseptic wipes, scissors, antiseptic cream or ointment, Band-Aids, rub ...[more]

  Tags: tips
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

So You Think Some Traffic Laws Are Nuts?

December 29th, 2016

Yes, there are plenty of traffic laws in certain areas that don’t make much sense. Here, though, we present a collection of traffic laws from other parts of the world that are just bizarre:

--In Thailand, the law states that no driver, male or female, shall ever drive without a shirt.Weird Traffic Laws

--In South Africa, “the driver of a vehicle on a public road shall stop such vehicle at the request or on the signal of a person leading or driving any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig, or ostrich on such road.” Or face a $500 fine.

--Splashing a pedestrian with water is illegal in Japan.

--In Montana, you can forget about driving with a sheep in the truck unless the sheep has a chaperone... and the state of Alabama had the presence of min ...[more]

  Tags: tips, auto facts
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Questions You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Ask Your Auto Repair Tech

March 17th, 2016

Often, drivers are mystified by how their cars actually work. It’s to be expected. Even an older car is a complex machine with many sub-assemblies that all work together to move it down the road.Car questions? Ask them!

As a result, drivers tend to be a little intimidated by auto repair and often tend to not inform themselves by asking the necessary questions of a tech or a garage. Too often, that ends up being a big mistake. Here are some examples of the kinds of things you really should know before any auto repair work starts:

  • Does your shop work on any kind of vehicle? Of course, most shops can service a product from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and the other leading makes. Some makes, however, require a lot more training and experience, o ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

9 Tips for your Spring Vehicle Checkup

March 31st, 2015

The temperatures are inching upward, the days are getting longer and the first buds are starting to appear on the trees. Spring is on its way, and  soon it’s going to be time to do a little preventive maintenance on your ride. No need to dread it -- it’s all pretty routine stuff!

  1. Air filter - If you haven’t changed your air filter since last year (or can’t remember when you changed it at all), it might be time. It’s an easy and cheap fix, and it pays off in your vehicle’s performance and fuel economy.
  2. Cabin filter - Older vehicles often don’t have a cabin filter, but it can make a lot of difference in how pleasant your vehicle is to drive. Stale, smelly air? Change it!
  3. Wipers -- Get a good look at them. Are they showing signs ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Why Schedule Regular Oil Changes For Your Vehicle?

March 5th, 2015
Many vehicle owners do not take the time to schedule regular oil changes. Regular oil changes are vital to the life of your engine and can extend its performance for years. This is one of the most important and inexpensive things you can do to keep engine protected. Most manufacturers recommend changing your oil every 3,000-6,000 miles, depending on your vehicle use and the type of oil you are using. 
 
Oil Changes are essential to:
  • Lubricate engine to reduce wear and friction
  • Reduce engine temperatures
  • Maintaining proper engine function
With regular oil changes your engine will be protected against much of the harm normal wear and tear will cause. Parts will stay cleaner with less corrosion, which means with regular upkeep there will b ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101

Five Tips for Thanksgiving Travel

November 27th, 2014
1. Tires: Ensure tire pressure is properly serviced and maintained for both lengthy travels and everyday driving. Underinflation of tires can cause unnecessary wear and hardship to tire tread, causing tire failure or malfunctions. If not properly inflated, fuel economy can be severely decreased, causing drivers to lose about .6 miles per gallon due to improper tire conditions. Whether over or under inflated, tires can easily lose traction that could lead to an accident if not addressed. Service tires before Thanksgiving travel this holiday season to avoid unnecessary accidents, injury or inconvenience.
 
2. Headlights: Maintaining proper safety and visibility is imperative for winter driving conditions as travelers often drive in less t ...[more]
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101
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