Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How To Know If You Really Need A Brake Repair

Most people are really concerned about keeping their car going. They'll change the oil, make sure they're using the right octane gasoline and even have their belts checked and their transmission fluid and antifreeze flushed on a regular basis. But knowing if you really need a brake repair so your car stops as consistently as it goes is vitally important as well.
There are several signs it's time to either have your brakes checked, or changed. Most of those signs manifest themselves as either sounds or, when it's past time to change them even a feeling on your foot as you press the brake pedal. And when it's to the point where it's dangerous, you may even feel it when you press the brake pedal in the steering wheel.
Brakes in modern cars come in two basic types: disc brakes and drum brakes. Years ago, the lining on the brake pads was made from asbestos, but now are either ceramic or a semi-metallic blends which makes them more reliable. However, they still wear out. Each time the brake pedal is pressed, the brake pads are hydraulically pressed against either the drum or the disc to slow the car, or to stop it. These pads pressing against the cast iron drum or disc will eventually wear out and need replacing. But how do you tell when they need replacing?
Short of putting the car on jacks or on a lift and taking the wheel off to apply a caliper to measure the amount of material left on the pads, there are some less technical ways to tell if it's time to have them checked or changed. However, there are some signs that actually mean you should run, not walk, to your local brake shop.
When brakes wear, they create dust from the pads. This dust will show up on the wheels of the car, and may even show up on the outside if you have rims with slots or holes in them. While this is normal, seeing a lot of brake dust on your rims may be a sign of trouble. Some brake pads are designed with special materials in them or they'll have a protrusion on the pad at a certain depth. This will cause your brakes to squeal when you apply them. Generally, when brakes start squealing, it may be time to have them checked for wear.
But definite warning signs are when you press down on the brake pedal and unusual things happen. You'll know it is definitely time to change the brakes when you feel a grinding or vibration under your foot when you mash the brakes. If you have ABS brakes, you'll feel a jump under your foot as the anti-lock brake system engages, but the grinding sensation means the pads have worn out and the rivets that hold the pads to the mounting plate are beginning to dig into the cast iron of the drum or disc. You're actually causing damage to that drum or disc every time you mash the brake, so having the pads changed as soon as possible is vital.
If the brakes aren't repaired, eventually the pad will seize to the drum or disc or will tear loose completely causing the hydraulic hose to the pad and brakes to fail, letting all the brake fluid out. This means when you mash the pedal down, it will go to the floor and the car will not stop. Even if you mash the pedal and it feels soft, or changes where it wants to stop the car, you may need to have the brake fluid checked.
Keeping your car going is important to your day to day activities. Making sure your car stops is important to your life. Check your brakes, the fluid and change them when needed. It is of life and death importance

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6029356

Saturday, June 27, 2015

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: http://EzineArticles.com/7128874

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

When to Replace Car Tires

It can be difficult to know when to replace tires especially if you are not certain what factors determine that you need a new set in the first place. The Lincoln penny test is still a useful gauge for tire wear, but there are other factors you should consider including the following.
1. Age. You may have low miles on your tires, but age can easily trump everything. Rubber deteriorate over time and older tires are much more likely to experience failure than newer ones. Tires that have been on your car for longer than six years should be replaced regardless of visual condition.
2. Usage. Tires that are on your car are being used regularly. The one in your trunk or the spare on the back of your SUV, is just sitting there. If your spare cannot be cycled in with your rotations, then keep in mind that this one may be virtually useless, especially if it has aged.
3. Temperature. If you live in a warmer climate such as south Florida or are in the desert southwest, your tires are wearing out faster because of the heat. High heat accelerates tire wear and can result in failure. Keep heat in mind when shopping for new radials.
4. Test. The Lincoln penny head test has long been used as a gauge for tire wear and is something you can use to determine wear. Grasp a Lincoln penny by the perimeter and push the penny head down between the tread. If the top of Abe's head is covered, then your tires are fine. If his head is exposed, you need to head to the appropriate retailer at once.
5. Observe. There are visual signs of wear that you should look for too. Uneven wear may mean that your tires are not be rotated regularly. Splits, cuts, cracks, punctures and bulges are signs of trouble too and can shorten your tire's lifespan. If you are not sure about the condition of a tire, your tire retailer can offer an assessment.
Tire Tips
When replacing your tires in pairs, the newer tires should always be on the back even if you have a front-wheel-drive car according to CarTalk. If possible, replace all four tires at the same time, taking advantage of specials where you can buy four tires for the price of three. Don't forget the spare too as this tire might need replacing.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7315146

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Don't Overheat! How to Protect Your Engine in Summer

The summer is a great time to take your car out for a ride - The wind in your hair, beautiful weather, and exhilaration of speed is what every serious driver lives for. However, before you hit the road this summer, be sure that your car is adequately prepped to deal with the hot climate. Most cars are prone to overheating, especially during the summer climate. By properly caring for your engine, you can avoid being stuck in hot situations.
How Often to Change Your Oil
If you neglect to change your oil regularly, sludge will accumulate in your engine, greatly diminishing performance, gas mileage, and even causing premature engine failure. Oil changes are especially important in the summer months, because oil is used quicker in hot weather.
It is recommended that you change your oil every 4-5 months or 4-5 thousand miles. In summer months, however, you may want to do an oil change every 3-4 months or 3-4 thousand miles. Changing your oil is especially important if you find yourself stuck in traffic in hot weather. Engine sludge accumulates around engine cylinders, pistons, and other engine surfaces - This results in damage to the engine and decreases performance. Also, don't forget to change your oil filter when performing an oil change! The filter keeps dirt and other harmful materials out of the engine components - a clogged filter will greatly diminish engine performance.
Depending on the prevailing weather, one may choose either a lighter or heavier grade of oil. In the summer, most car experts advise that one uses a heavier oil grade. New synthetic oils are able to last longer and some are specially designed for certain types of engines. During the summer, it is only natural that engine temperatures will be higher than most other times of the year. Engine parts tend to wear faster due to increased temperatures, as well as friction. By using a heavier oil grade, one ensures that the parts last longer through decreasing the amount of viscosity, as well as part wear. The lighter oil grade may, on the other hand, result in sludge build up as engine part wear increases.
Check Your Radiator
The most important engine component relating to overheating is the radiator. Most overheating problems are as a direct result of the radiator being blocked or damaged. Be sure to have your radiator checked whenever going in for service. Servicing the radiator involves flushing it, as well as adding antifreeze. The radiator is essential for keeping your vehicle running in extreme weather conditions.
Engine Part Replacement
The car engine is prone to any number of problems, including worn out parts such as hoses and fittings. Replacing engine hoses and fittings are an essential part in ensuring your car can take the summer heat. When driving around during the summer, car engines can reach exceedingly high temperatures. In fact, some types of engines can run at temperatures higher than 200° F (93° C). Worn engine parts may be unable to withstand the high pressure and temperature generated within the engine, resulting in engine failure. Not replacing engine parts at the right time might result in very costly repairs.
All in all, basic car servicing is essential to ensuring your car survives the summer heat. Moreover, it is less expensive than dealing with any blown engine parts that may result in engine failure.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6348503

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

Car Repair - How Tune Ups Can Keep Your Costs Low

Every mechanical system of a vehicle must be in excellent condition for the vehicle to operate at maximum performance. Furthermore, even small components can become a big issue if they are neglected for too long. A tune-up is a detailed investigation of these vehicle mechanisms, which can save hundreds of dollars in car repair maintenance if the check up can address minor issues that have yet to surface.
The auto technician will replace several components including the spark plugs, air filter, distributor cap and rotor. Although each of these parts should be changed at different mileage intervals, the vehicle can continue to operate efficiently as long as they are changed during every tune-up. Under ideal driving conditions, most new vehicles won't need a tune-up until the car has reached 75,000 miles. However, this can vary under strenuous driving conditions such as extremely hot or cold weather, or constantly driving in stop and go traffic. Once any vehicle engine reaches 100,000 miles, it is best to keep regularly scheduled tune ups to prolong the life of the engine, which can be very costly in the event that it needs to be replaced.
The heating/cooling, braking, and steering systems all use fluid to operate properly, and a tune-up also includes changing or topping off these vital fluids. The braking system uses hydraulic fluid to transfer force from the brake pedal to the wheel. Typically, brake fluid does not need to be refilled because it is simply a hydraulic fluid. During a tune-up the mechanic can check for leaks within the braking system, especially if they find low brake fluid levels.
The vehicle's power steering also uses a hydraulic fluid to transfer energy throughout the steering. However, it also preserves the life of the power steering by having some of the same lubricating and cooling properties as engine oil, and neglecting the fluid levels can turn into expensive repairs to this system. Fluids in the heating/cooling system, especially in the radiator, keep the engine from overheating. Neglecting these fluids can cause costly repairs to the engine, which cannot sustain maximum performance at high temperatures.
An expensive car repair can be avoided with an annual tune-up. Decreased gas mileage, a "rough" running engine, or any unusual sounds from underneath the hood are usually indicators that the vehicle might need a tune up. Although new cars do not need them as often, older vehicles with engines that have more than 100,000 miles should have these checkups at least once a year or every 20,000 miles.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5513205

Friday, June 12, 2015

What You Should Do If Your Car's Engine Overheats

The first indication that you will get that you car engine is overheating will usually be when the water temperature gauge starts to rise above its normal level and towards the red zone. This will normally be followed by an overheat warning light illuminating on the dashboard and may even be accompanied by steam rising from under the bonnet. It is important to stop if you have any of these warning signs, as continuing to drive on could cause severe and expensive damage to the engine.
As soon as you get any indication that your engine is overheating you need to pull over and switch your engine off. Carrying on, even until you reach a service station or garage, could create a large amount of damage to the engine, especially the cylinder head, which is prone to warping under high temperatures and will be very expensive to replace.
Once safely parked on the side of the road, switch on your hazard lights to warn any following drivers of your problem. Providing that there is no fire present you can open the bonnet, to give the engine a chance to cool down, however do not be tempted to touch any of the engine parts at this point, as it is very likely that you will be burnt.
Be prepared that it may take quite some time for the engine to cool down sufficiently so be ready for a long wait. If your vehicle has overheated when it is dark, switch on your sidelight bulbs to improve the visibility of your vehicle to other road users and consider turning on your headlight bulbs to help you see what your are doing.
Once the engine has cooled down you will probably need to top up the coolant level. In an emergency it is fine to use ordinary water but make sure it is not too cold or it could crack the plastic water reservoir. If you need to add a lot of water to your coolant it will significantly dilute the concentration of the antifreeze within it, and this will eventually need to be remedied by a qualified mechanic to prevent the coolant freezing during the winter.
Even if the engine has cooled down the coolant may still be hot and undoing the coolant filler cap can release scolding hot steam onto your hand. Therefore wait until the radiator is cool enough to touch before opening the coolant filler cap and cover your hand with a rag for added protection.
At arms length steadily fill up the engine coolant with water, to prevent being splashed with hot coolant, and stop periodically to check the reservoir level. Once the coolant level is back between the maximum and minimum levels marked on the reservoir, and the engine temperature gauge is back within its normal range it will be safe to drive off again.
Remember that whilst your car is safe to drive again, there is an underlying problem that caused the overheating, so avoid a long journey and take it to a suitable garage to be checked out as soon as possible. However, if the engine overheats again, shortly after you have set off, you need to pull over and call a roadside recovery service as you have a serious problem that will require the services of a garage to fix it.
If your car's engine does overheat you will need to pull over quickly to the side of the road to prevent seriously damaging the engine, so switch on your warning car bulbs to alert other drivers to your predicament and also to make your vehicle more visible. Once parked up, if the breakdown has happened at night you should also leave your sidelight bulbs on, as they will illuminate the car, yet only draw a small amount of power from the battery.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3411035

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Importance of Oil Change in Vehicles!

Changing a vehicle's oil on a regular basis is an extremely important task which offers a number of benefits to vehicle owners.
Oil plays an extremely important role of providing lubrication in the engine. Apart from lubricating engine parts, the oil also performs other important roles like cleaning of engine, reducing pollutants, stopping the formation of sludge and cooling the vehicle. But, if it is not changed on a regular basis, it can result in engine failure and engine wear and tear thus causing huge loss in terms of vehicle performance.
Some of the major benefits offered by oil change include improved gas mileage, improved engine stability and life, increased performance etc. All the benefits have been discussed below in detail.
Improvement in gas mileage
This is one of the major benefits offered by routine oil change. If the engine oil is not changed from a long time, it becomes less viscous and starts losing its ability to lubricate and protect elements of engine. As a result, friction occurs between moving parts of the engine thus causing wear and tear. The more will be the friction, the more the engine needs to work in order to overcome that friction. On the other hand, new oil is extremely viscous, smooth and allows engine to move smoothly with smallest friction.
Improves engine stability and life
This is another important benefit offered by regular oil change to vehicle owners. It improves the life of the engine thus making it functional for years to come. Oil change on a regular basis keeps engine clean. Clean engine shows less signs of ageing and offers an excellent performance for a longer time period.
Increased performance
We all know that performance of a vehicle majorly depends on the condition of the engine. If it is good, performance increases.
Stops noise produced by vehicle
Regular changes of engine oil also prevent the parts of an engine from coming into contact with each other. This helps in reducing the noise made by the vehicle. Moreover, it also reduces the temperature of the engine.
Thus, it becomes clear that regular oil change offers a number of advantages to vehicle owners. Getting oil change performed by an auto service centre is a good decision. There are many auto service centers offering such services to vehicle owners. One needs to do a deep research in order to find a reliable service center which uses quality products and motor oil. Individuals can take help from internet in this regard.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6079945

Wednesday, June 3, 2015