Monday, February 29, 2016

The Meaning Behind Check Engine Lights

Whenever I think of the check engine light on my car, I think of the green light featured in F.Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby; the check engine light is basically this ominous metaphor with significant meaning that people keep telling me I can't ignore but I'm just not sure what that meaning is. I know I'm not the only one out there who feels the same way. That is why I have done my research.

First off, the check engine light is telling you to do one thing: check the engine. For what, you ask? Check the engine for any signs of distress or anything unusual such as a wet engine, a blown gasket head, worn out spark plugs or even faulty oxygen sensors. However, it could mean that there is a serious problem with your engine. That is why it is best to acknowledge this indicator and bring your vehicle to the auto shop as soon as possible. The light does not mean that you immediately have to pull your car over, but you should take care of the problem during your next available free time.

The check engine light is part of you car's onboard diagnostics system (OBD), which monitors your vehicle's performance. When the OBD finds a problem in the electronic control system that it cannot correct, the computer in your car turns on the check engine light to alert you. If the light is flashing, that means there is more urgency to the problem and you should take steps to immediately get the problem solved.

When you take your car to a technician, they will connect your vehicle's computer system to a diagnostic scan tool to find the problem. This provides the technician with troubleshooting codes which indicate why the check engine light went off in the first place. With the codes, the technician can analyze the following data: the idle speed, throttle response, engine temperature, fuel system pressure, exhaust emission level and others. Once the problem is fixed, the technician will reset the OBD and tell you how to best fix the issue.

The best way to avoid the ominous check engine light is to keep your vehicle up to date. Regularly change the oil and other fluids as well as conduct any other maintenance services as they begin to emerge. The worst thing to do is to let multiple maintenance services build up onto one another until the car can't function. The trick to avoiding the check engine light is to keep your car as healthy as you keep yourself.

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#Team24 | NAPA NASCAR Commercial

For many NASCAR fans, 24 isn’t just a number. Catch Chase Elliott driving the new NAPA No. 24 this year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Checking Power Steering Fluid

Check Your Power Steering Fluid

Though power steering is not absolutely necessary we'd rather have it than not. Anyone who drives often will surely agree. If your power steering should fail, it could prove to be a dangerous situation. One of the causes for a failure could be a leak of the power steering fluid. If your car was manufactured and designed to operate with power steering, it would be difficult to operate and steer without it. If it fails, you might experience a loss of control in your steering, which can cause an accident.

Balancing out your power steering fluid levels are one of the easiest do it yourself jobs and only takes a couple of minutes. Don't be afraid to get your hands a little dirty.

Checking The Fluid Level

It is recommended that you only check your power steering fluid level when the car engine is cold. Depending on your car, there may be markings that allow you to check the level when the engine is either hot or cold. Check to see if you have this option, otherwise it is advisable to simply add the fluid while the engine is cold.

The tank holding steering fluid is usually under the hood on the passenger's side of the vehicle. I can possible be found on the drivers side as well. In smaller vehicles it will usually be located on the side that containing the belts. To help you locate the tank, you will find it labeled or marked "steering" at the top.

Vehicles that are more recent have an opaque tank that allows you to observe the level of power steering fluid without opening it. You may need to wipe it off a bit to clearly see the markings and check the level.

Some vehicles contain a reservoir or tank that is too opaque to see levels. If this is the case with your vehicle, you must continuously check the levels measure by measure. Remove the cap of the reservoir and keep checking it as you gradually pour the fluid in. Before you uncover the tank, wipe the area around opening with a cloth You want to avoid having any dirt enter the reservoir. The cap to the reservoir has a dipstick built in it. Wipe the dipstick clean, put the cap on and then remove it again to check the fluid level.

Now that you've have determined the existing level, you should know how much you'll need to add if necessary.

Adding Power Steering Fluid

Let's supposed you've checked the level and found that you need to add more fluid there are a few things to keep in mind first.

1) check for power steering fluid leaks around reservoir and pump

2) Before you open the cap to refill fluid, wipe the area around the power steering cap, if you haven't already. Even a minor amount of debris can really screw up your steering system including parts of your hydraulic system, such as a clutch or brakes.

With the cap removed, gradually fill the reservoir. It will rise fast since the power steering system holds a very small amount of fluid. Fill the container until it has reached the full mark or maximum. This level will be different depending on whether it is being filled while the engine is hot or cold.

Make sure you recap the reservoir and tighten it securely you start your car and operate the vehicle on the road.

Safety is paramount and many things can go wrong if the levels or not sufficient. The more you use your vehicle the more important it will be to check the levels to avoid an accident.

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Magic Of Tuning Your Car

I've been racking my brain on something to write about this time, and it just slips my mind, oh oh writer's block, the muscle for muscle cars has left the building, hmm maybe a cup of coffee will fix it, maybe hot water cascading over my noggin, need inspiration, need guidance, don't want to disappoint, love muscle cars, I feel just like a cave man this morning ooo-oooo---aww, well give an old man a break, just maybe it'll all come back.

Tuning is an important part of making your car run right, and I'm not only talking about the engine tuning, I'm talking about suspension and chassis tuning also, the engine in the easy part, unless of course you run a turbocharger or supercharger, either one of these make the engine harder to tune, and it has to be tuned perfect at all times if you have either one of these, or two fours on a tunnel ram, all of these things will make it go faster, but require exact tuning, you can no longer tune by ear, it takes timing lights, vacuum gages, and computers, no longer just a screw driver and a wrench.

No more just running to the auto parts store and getting your cap, rotor, wires, and plugs, and gaping up the plugs and throwing it all on, you will obviously do this also, but now you will hook up your computer, timing light, and vacuum gage, you cannot have any vacuum leaks, allow your car to over heat, or get lazy about your car in general, it's a must to keep it in perfect running order all the time, or you can expect huge problems with it.

It used to be in the old days that if your engine decided to backfire when it had a supercharger, you could expect the motor to scatter all over the road, but there have been some advances, and simple ones, like pop off valves, that make this almost a thing of the past, but you'd better be ready for all the time you'll spend maintaining your car after you add this kind of performance modification to your car.

Now the suspension tuning part can get just a little involved, and it's really not my specialty, but I will give it the old college try, when tuning your suspension you'll want to think about what it is your going to use the car for, if you build a 1/4 mile car, it obviously won't handle that well in the corners, and if you build a car that handles through corners, it'll still do alright in the 1/4 mile, but you probably aren't going to win a lot of races, so you really need to give this some thought, so you get the right car for you.

The first thing that I can think of here if you want to be really competitive in any type of racing is the to look at the frame of your car, and the power of the engine that your building for it, if you have a uni-body car, and your building an engine with more then 500 HP, you might want to think about making it a full frame car, by either having a special frame built, by a company like Reher and Morrison, to insure that it can handle the power, if you decide to go with sub frame connectors to save money. then you should look in to the products that are on the market, compare, and buy the best that you can find, and weld them on, do not bolt them on the the best results.

What sub frame connectors will do for you, is fool your uni-body car in to thinking that it has a full frame, it will make the entire car a lot more rigid, which by nature will make it handle better, now I will try to explain the difference between the two types of suspension, first of all, if you've ever been to the drag strip, you'll notice that when the drag car launches of of the line it squats down in the rear, this is the first big difference between the two suspension setups, with a drag car you want to transfer as much of the weight to the rear of the car as you can when it launches off of the line, this is how you'll make those hole shots, and win races.

In 1/4 mile racing they use ladder bars, and four link suspension systems to get the power to the pavement, and getting the power to the pavement is the name of the game in 1/4 mile racing, you want as much of the power from those rear wheels getting to the pavement as possible, that is what the burn out is all about, it's not just a spectacle, it heats up the tires and creates adhesion to the tarmac surface, it's an integral part of the getting the power to the pavement that I have been talking about, once you get your ladder bars, and your four link suspension systems tuned in perfectly, it will hook up, and you will launch like a rocket.

The things that I explained above are exactly the things that you don't need in a true road race car, in a road race car your not going to heat up the tires to gain traction, you'll depend on tread patterns, and tire compounds to create the kind of traction that you'll need to be competitive here, what your looking for here is the entire car to stick to the road, you do not want it to slide, so most people will try to get the major part of the weight over the center of the car, this is what is called a mid engined car, you want that weight to be distributed over the entire car if possible, by making it a mid engined car it goes a long way toward achieving this goal, you do still need to at least put weld on sub frame connectors on the the car, here again I would suggest to have a professional build a frame for your car instead.

Road cars use aerodynamics to create down pressure on the car to help keep in on the road, and to cut through the air to help the car to move along the road easier, and they use shocks, springs, and sway bars to help limit the pitch and roll of the car body when it goes it to a hard corner, the car need to stay as level as possible to keep in on it's wheels, instead of on it's roof, and this is a highly specialized type of tuning, you should always have a professional to set this up for you, it needs to be perfect if you want the best results from your work, time, and money, the professionals will also do their magic on the steering of your car also, and they will do it right and safe.

What I'm saying here, is spend a lot of time thinking about what you want your car to do, your the only person that it has to impress in the end.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Common Transmission Problems

Your car's transmission is crucial to your vehicle as transmission problems are one of the few things that can leave your vehicle completely useless. Your transmission is responsible for directing power from the engine to the driveshaft, which controls how well the wheels turn on your car.

The key to making sure that your transmission lives a long, healthy life lies in following good preventative maintenance procedures. Should your transmission ever suffer a problem, being familiar with some of the most common transmission issues out there will help you diagnose and obtain help for the type of transmission repair that you need.

Low Fluid & Leaks 
Low levels of transmission fluid or a transmission fluid leak is the most common transmission problem a driver could potentially face. Low fluid levels are usually caused by a leak somewhere in your transmission system. Occasionally a transmission gasket may need to be replaced to stop a leak, the seals may be faulty, and sometimes the transmission fluid just gets contaminated.

Low fluid level symptoms usually include slow shifting or gear slippage. In the event that fluid is just old or contaminated, the fluid will need to be flushed and refilled; regardless, you'll need to make a trip to your transmission repair shop to take care of business.

Solenoid Issues 
The solenoid is what controls the flow of fluid throughout your transmission. The solenoid is most often damaged due to low fluid levels and the occasional electronic problem. If your transmission is slipping and you can't identify a leak, it's most likely due to solenoid damage. A good mechanic knows that if you're not dealing with a leak, the next place that should be checked is your solenoid. If your mechanic doesn't make this suggestion, it's time to find a new transmission repair shop.

Torque Converter Issues 
Torque converter issues can cause multiple transmission problems, resulting in severe damage or complete failure of your transmission system. A common issue associated with the torque converter is damaged or worn-out needle bearings. If the needle bearings overheat, they can become damaged and you'll start hearing strange noises from your transmission while driving. You won't hear any sound when the car is in neutral but as soon as you shift into gear, you will hear brushing or grinding sounds.

Clutch Issues 
The clutch is located in the torque converter and may occasionally get jammed. When the clutch jams, your solenoid can lock, and the amount of transmission fluid in the torque converter may not be calculated right. Clutch problems in the torque converter can fool the untrained eye because the problems resemble those related to low fluid levels, so it's always best to have your vehicle checked out by a professional. More prominent clutch problems will be associated with violent shaking and sharp drops in power output from your car.

When it comes to keeping your transmission maintained and repaired as needed, it's always best to let a certified auto technician check everything out. The last thing you need is to get stranded somewhere when you thought you were just a little low on fluid and it turns out to be your clutch instead.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Why Cars Need Tune-Ups

Younger drivers who own late model vehicles may not remember a time when they needed to be tuned up frequently. Decades ago, any number of parts could slowly lose their ability to perform their jobs. To correct the issues, a mechanic would have to pop the hood and spend a couple of hours adjusting, tightening, and often replacing certain parts. If this wasn't done on a regular basis, drivers could expect their vehicles to operate far less efficiently with less power over time.

Cars are built much differently these days. Automakers have designed fantastic driving machines that can perform well without a tune-up for over 80,000 miles. That said, millions of people are still driving older vehicles that need a good tuning every now and then. Below, I'll describe a few car parts that you should consider asking your mechanic to check periodically.

Which Parts Need Tuning?

In the old days, when vehicles mostly used carburetors and other mechanical parts, there was plenty for a technician to tune. After all, springs, weights, and similar components always become unbalanced with time. So, they kept mechanics busy. Most newer cars, trucks, and SUVs have gotten rid of a lot of the analog systems, replacing them with parts that are controlled by computers. That leaves fewer components for technicians to tune.

Of course, all cars still use spark plugs that collect carbon deposits and need to be replaced. And tens of millions of cars have distributor caps that experience corrosion. Air filters still get jammed with dirt, debris and other materials. Drive belts can get frayed. And the rotors in a vehicle's ignition system can sustain wear and tear. If neglected, each of these can erode your car's performance and fuel-efficiency. You probably won't notice the difference immediately, but over time, their aggregate effect can have a significant impact.

The Future Of Tune-Ups

Until the bright minds inside automakers' research labs design an automobile that doesn't require parts that wear out, there will always be a need for tune-ups. If you recently bought a new vehicle, you probably won't need to visit a repair shop for years. However, if you've purchased an older, used model, ask a mechanic how often you should have it tuned up.

At the very least, you'll want him to check the distributor cap for cracks and wear and tear on the ignition's rotor. Plus, have the spark plugs and air filter replaced periodically to maintain your engine's performance (important even in late models). And while you're at the repair shop, it couldn't hurt to flush the fluids, check the battery posts, cables, wheels, and belts. Remember, the secret to avoiding costly repairs is doing consistent maintenance. Tune-ups are still an important ingredient.

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