Thursday, August 29, 2013

5 Steps to Passing Your Smog Check, Without Wasting Time

You receive your DMV notice in the mail and it's that dreaded time again. Thank God, it only happens once every 2 years but it still can be quite a daunting task. Getting that Smog registration form in the mail can be pretty nerve racking, especially with today's strict environment standards and poor economy. Failing your smog check is no joke too because it often results in expensive repairs, dirty shops and hidden fees and upsells.
Although, I cannot fix your car, I can give you tips on how I got my smog check done in as little as 30 minutes, without having a heart attack.
1) Research - First things first, you have to do your research. If you don't, you'll end up going to the wrong shop that can play you like a fiddle. I like to go to yelp to find the top restaurants, dry cleaners, and yes smog shops in my city. If you are in San Francisco, I personally recommend Clean Air Smog. Ive been there three times already and I cannot agree more with the over 100+ 5 star reviews on their place.
2) Call To Set An Appointment - You would be surprised at how many friends I talk to that say they waited 3 hours to get their smog check. Simple solution, set an appointment and you'll be in and out in 15 minutes. (Bonus: look for a shop that has 2 smog machines and usually, you'll get done a lot quicker.)
3) MapQuest - Don't get lost and miss your appointment. MapQuest it so that you will get their prompt and on time.
4) Bring Your Favorite Mag - You will have to wait for your car to be smogged. Make sure you keep yourself entertained.
5) Drive Your Car - Don't lag, get in your car and head over to the car smog station.

Article Source:

Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Get the Most From Your Car With Proper Automotive Care

For many of us, our car is a very important part of our lives. It gives us the freedom to travel, the ability to get around, and the convenience of being able to pick up and go whenever we please. You probably worked hard to save enough money to put a good-sized down payment on your vehicle when you bought it. Each month you have to keep covering the costs of insurance and your car payment. However, when your car needs auto care, the expense can hurt your budget. This is the reason why these tips for getting inexpensive automotive parts and auto repair tools can make a big difference in your month-end finances.
Save Money on Maintenance and Auto Repair Tools
If you have a minor repair such a maintenance problem, why not cut costs by doing it yourself? There are many "how-to" online tutorials and printed books that can show you step-by-step. The advantage to getting it done yourself is that you only have to pay for the parts; no labor costs are involved. At the repair facility, you're paying more for everything because they have specialized auto repair tools, plus, it can cost $65 or more per hour to have their employees do the work. If you aren't comfortable with doing any of these tasks yourself, ask your friends and family if they can help you out or if they know someone who can help at a low rate. Many friends and family are glad to help out and can be paid for their time with a six-pack or a pizza lunch; training schools offer ultra-low-cost repairs that really save you money.
Maintenance and Auto Care Don't Have to Cost an Arm and a Leg
Some other minor repairs necessitate special tools or expertise, but you can still do them. Take, for example, diagnosing an engine code, getting your rotors resurfaced, changing out your spark plugs, or rotating your tires. Local car engine parts stores often provide less-expensive diagnostic and resurfacing services than at the specialized repair shops. Engine error codes can be ambiguous and aggravating. In some states, auto parts suppliers have the tools to help diagnose problems on the spot. Nevertheless, some localities don't allow this, but the tool itself is offered for sale for around $200. It can cost $90 or so to have your dealer run a diagnostic test on your car's computer. But you can have this tool in your arsenal of auto repair tools for about what it would cost to visit the dealer twice!
Basic Maintenance and Auto Care Don't Have to Break the Bank
Rotor resurfacing can present challenges because they have to be "meaty" enough before they can be resurfaced. A minimal amount of rotor metal must be present so that they remain at a reliable thickness. Don't worry, however, because the resurfacing shops will tell you on the spot if they meet the thickness requirements. Additionally, they have the machine right there to get the job done. In an equally easy manner, spark plugs are available for purchase at the automotive care and supply store and the necessary gap is displayed clearly on the package. If you need a gapping tool, they are available for under $5. You can also rotate your own tires by using a standard jack.
Save yourself tons of money by doing your own maintenance on your automobile or truck. You can make your car last longer while making your dollars go even farther, while using the additional cash to get more time on the road!

Article Source:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Check Engine Light/Service Engine Light, What Do They Mean?

The automotive industry has developed to a great extent. The invention of computerized vehicles too is a result of this research and development of the industry. Vehicles now are highly computerized, artificially intelligent, and active in terms of their functions. The Check Engine Light in vehicles is one of the examples of technological advancement.
A Check Engine Light is also known as a Malfunction Indicator Lamp (the MIL), and is a part of the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) System. Engines are now managed through computers in terms of their performance, working condition, service requirements, wear and tear, and the like. It is no more a matter of checking everything manually; rather computers are present to take up this responsibility. A check engine light is usually placed in the instrument panel.
On the other hand, a Service Engine Light is something different. A service engine light indicates that a service is required, probably only an oil change or minor regular maintenance; it never indicates a problem as in the case of a check engine light. Although both are warning lights, they differ greatly in terms of urgency and/or a threat.
The number of people who do not understand what a check engine light means is higher than those who do. Buying a car is easier in comparison to its maintenance. A vehicle's engine requires repair and maintenance at regular intervals, but people do not give this as much importance as it requires. Probably this was the reason why the check engine light was introduced.
A check engine light is an indicator of the engine's condition. When it's lit it signals something that the vehicle's owner or the occupant must understand. Usually a check engine light lights up in following modes:
• A steady light: It signals a minor problem associated with the engine that is not urgent but is certainly important.
• A blinking light: It signals a major problem associated with the engine which is both urgent as well as important.
• A yellow light: It signals that the engine needs to be checked, but it does not identify the exact problem.
• A red light: It signals a potential threat, a serious one.
However, by urgent, it doesn't mean that the problem ought to be fixed then and there; instead it means that the vehicle should be checked by a qualified technician as soon as possible so that the problem could be eradicated long before it harms other parts or components.
It seems like even an engine has its secret codes that are usually understandable for a qualified mechanic or a technician. As soon as a light illuminates over the On-Board Diagnostics System of a vehicle, a code is sent to its built-in computer's memory. This code determines the exact location or the source of trouble.
There are particular electronic scan tools that are designed to decode those codes so that the problem can be fixed. This scanning tool may also be referred as a diagnostic computer which is available at almost all repair shops. In addition, other types of code readers are also available for DIY customers.
Actually it is a check engine light that performs the trickiest function; whereas the manual task comes later in the picture only when the computerized management system has indicated, coded, and retrieved a specific piece of information.
Note that at times it happens too, that a check engine light illuminates without any problem. It may happen because of a temporary change in weather, such as a change in humidity. Such illumination does not stay for long.

Article Source:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Autumn Car Care Tips

At the end of the summer, you should do a one-time intensive makeover with your car and make sure it is road worthy for the fall months. A thorough cleaning is not necessary but at least checking your vehicle over will help prepare you for the upcoming harsh winter months. Check out these helpful tips below for getting your car winter ready as well as cleaning off from the last summer road trip.
Insects are especially horrendous after a long cross-country trip. And in the twilight, the front of the car looks like an insect graveyard. The stains are not only unsightly they can also attack the paint, especially in sunlight. Therefore, they should be removed quickly to prevent permanent damage. You wouldn't believe what some wet paper towels or soft wash cloths will do along with some water. Just wet them and attach them to the "buggy" surface for 15 minutes. If necessary, soak tem again with a spray bottle even further, so everything is moist for the full time. Then carefully wipe everything. You will find out that clear water works wonders.
Have brake dust on the rims? Unfortunately, clear water won't help at this point. Harsh cleansers will only start the corrosion process. Remember: Even aluminum can rust. In addition to this, wheel nuts are completely unprotected and improper care quickly goes awry. If you want to clean your rims efficiently and gently, a special wheel cleaner must be used.
If you use the public vacuum at the car wash to clean your car's interior take care not to come in contact with the surface of the interior. The public vacuums are designed for endurance and rugged actions. That plastic is harder in general than any fine plastic in the interior of modern cars. It therefore threatens to scratch and damage any upholstery it may touch. If possible, work at home with a vacuum cleaner that has a brush attachment. Or, you can cover the edge of the nozzle with an old sock. Don't forget to put a hole in the sock!
Car Polish
If you plan on polishing your car after it is washed do it in the shade and not in the sun. The polish dries too fast on hot tin or surfaces, and this causes streaks. Best polishing is performed at 59-68 degrees Fahrenheit and in the shade.
While these are all small things, they can help keep your car looking nice. When paired with other maintenance tips, such as getting your car maintained, checking to be sure your auto warranty is current, and checking such things as tire pressure, your car will be ready for that holiday trip.

Article Source:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Restoring Injectors with Hot Shot's Secret Stiction Eliminator: Tracey

 A customer's Ford 6.0 liter with 3 "failed" injectors, before, during, and after Hot Shot's Secret Stiction Eliminator.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Top 10 Common Car Problems

It is hard to make this kind of list since the things that go wrong on the car are endless. This is not written with pessimism, but as many drivers have experienced even on new cars a thing or two can go wrong.Not to mention the older ones, an old car is a like an aging man, the older he get's the more grumpy he becomes.
Here's a list with the top 10 car problems from our point of view. Not only are they problems of mechanical nature, they are usually problems that drive you nuts:
1. Flat tire most common car problem but the most easy to fix. Often happens at the least convenient time. Having the right equipment and knowledge to help yourself is crucial.
2. Dead battery: how many of us made that face of despair when we put the key into the ignition and... Nothing or a short click. Especially during winter months. An easy problem to fix, but best preventing it on time by changing the old battery.
3. Ignition problems: the car will crank but won't start. The problem can be solved on your own in a couple of minutes or it can take days and a tone of money. The list of probable causes is pretty long.
4. Various leaks: oil leaks, coolant leaks, break fluid leaks etc. In most cases (if the leak is not severe) they don't cause big problems while driving. The moment you see them, get it fixed, it only get's worse over time.
5. Electric and electronics problems: these kind of problems manifest themselves as if the car is possessed by an evil ghost. Various glitches, signal lamps warning about nothing, endless diagnostics and car mechanics going out of their mind are just some of the symptoms.
6. Sensor problems: a car problem that has the most fancy name.These are the eyes of the ecu unit. Since exposed to dirt, moisture, cold, heat etc. Cause the most of the electronics problems.
7. Bad serpentine belt: it makes that squeaky noise that gives you a bad chill down the spine. Nothing serious, if the car is properly maintained you won't hear of it. Otherwise, it can make a lot of problems.
8. Car bulb failure (headlights, taillights): when your vision from the car during night driving decreases it's either time to check your eyesight or the signalization. The headlight bulbs are easy to spot when they burn out, the tail lights can go on not working for months (unless you have the proper dash warning). Make a check of the signalization from time to time.
9. Cracked windscreen: you get in a second, but you usually look at it for months. When the crack happens, fix it right away or else your putting yourself and the your passengers at risk.
10. Body scratches and minor dents: looks like a little acne on an otherwise beautiful face. You look at it and say: " wow what a beautiful face, but look at the acne....". Can be solved with a few tricks and perhaps minor body repair.
Learn this list and you will know what car problems you can have on the road or at home.

Article Source:

Friday, August 2, 2013