Monthly Archives: November 2016

Exhaust Repairs Made Simple

If so, is it really necessary to go to a dealership or high-end import specialist and pay the extra money commonly associated with this service?

You may be surprised.

Thousands of service shops now have access to original equipment (OE)-style replacement exhaust components.

Depending on the brand offered by the shop, you might even enjoy the benefits of more robust, premium-grade materials, factory-quality fit and a carefully tuned exhaust “note” that helps make your vehicle sound like new.

Many import owners feel that the dealership or high-end import specialists are the only ones with quality replacement exhaust products,” said Bill Shutt, emissions control product manager for Tenneco Inc.’s Walker brand.

“The fact is, you can save hundreds of dollars by relying on a qualified auto repair shop that carries a leading exhaust brand.”

In some cases, according to Shutt, an “aftermarket” system will be virtually identical to the more expensive OE product. In fact, some aftermarket manufacturers, including Tenneco, also design and produce OE systems for vehicle manufacturers around the world.

“The bottom line for the consumer, regardless of the vehicle make or model, is finding the best total value in terms of fit, durability, exhaust flow characteristics, and sound,” Shutt said.

“These benefits are available through any auto repair shop that carries Walker products and other leading aftermarket brands.”

The same is true in the case of catalytic converter replacement, said Shutt.

Some vehicle owners assume that quality converter service is available only through the dealership. In truth, however, virtually any qualified shop can install an OE-style replacement converter on nearly any import model.


Starting your car and a great little tips

It’s inevitable. You’re leaving work, more excited than usual because you have big plans for the night and your car betrays you. Turn the key and …nothing. The engine doesn’t turn over, the interior lights don’t come on, and absolutely nothing happens. It may be stating the obvious, but your battery is dead and is in serious need of a charge. Not to worry, a few necessary items will have the battery doing its thing in no time.

The process of jump starting a car is relatively simple and only requires a few tools. The first thing you will want to find is a friendly volunteer. This kind person is an absolute must. Without their permission to use their car’s battery, yours will remain dead in the water so to speak. The next tool you will is a good set of jumper cables. A quality set will be made with multiple strands of copper wire and the alligator clips should be copper as well. Jumper cables should be a part of every car’s emergency kit. You never know when you or someone else may need them. The last thing you may want to consider having on hand is a pair or two of protective glasses. At the very least, protect your eyes with sunglasses or prescription glasses just in case.

Now that the necessary tools are in place, park your car and the volunteer’s car as close together as possible. Front end to front end is the best bet if you can arrange it. Open the hoods of both cars and find the respective batteries. The next things to locate are the batteries’ terminals. Luckily it is fairly standard in the automotive industry for positive charges to be marked with a + and negative with a -.

All of the necessary parts have been located and it’s time to hook it up. The two car’s batteries need to be attached with the jumper cables with positive to positive and negative to negative, but most prefer negative (on car running to metal engine piece in car not running). This is all pretty self-explanatory so far right? Red jumper cable attaches to the positive charge on both batteries and the black goes with the negative. Once the cars are connected, the car with the operating battery should be started. Double check to be sure the cables aren’t interfering with any of the engine’s belts or pulleys. Leave the good battery car running for a few minutes to charge the dead battery. After a decent interval of time try to start the other car. If it doesn’t start right away, check the jumper cables for any corrosion or dirt that may be interfering with the charge. Also be sure the claps are attached tightly to the battery post. These steps should correct the problem and you are on your way to a fully charged battery.

To complete the charge let the recently charged battery idle for a few minutes to fully charge. Turn off both engines and remove the battery jumper cables. The newly charged battery should have no problem starting the car.

You’re off and running and your evening plans aren’t ruined after all. Jump-starting a car is usually a quick process and knowing how will make any driver’s life easier.

Also make sure to note your car batteries lifetime, because when 60-months comes around, be sure that your battery will start to fail in the near future, and this is one repair worth the $40-$80 battery upgrade before it fails a second time. A tow can cost BIG BUCKS and if you feel that $3 per gallon is expensive try paying $2.50 per MILE for the tow.


Repairing a Tire Guide

You’re not sure if you hit a nail or ran through glass. What you do know it that your tire is definitely flat. It could be repaired at the mechanic’s shop or you could save yourself the trip and expense and do it yourself. The process can be a little time consuming, but once you know how to repair a flat you will never again be at the mercy of closed shops or stuck in the middle of nowhere. Taking the time to learn this essential maintenance process now will save a lot of time and hassle later.

The first thing you need to do is determine where the puncture is located. A quick way to do this is to submerge the tire in water and watch where air bubbles form. Obviously this area or areas are the place you need to concentrate on. Before the patch job can begin it is important to remove any foreign object that is stuck there. Pliers are a good tool for this step. Simply use the pliers to pull the object out in the same direction as the tire’s tread. Being sure to go with the tread helps ensure that minimal additional damage is done to the tire.

Now is the time to prepare to patch the tire hole. Using a tire reamer clean the hole out from the inside of the tire. This will remove any dirt or oil that may later cause adhesion issues with the cement and patch. Place the patch centered over the puncture to be sure sizing is correct. Remove the patch and coat an awl with cement. Be sure to run the awl through the hole several times to be sure the cement is coating the damaged area adequately. Place a coat of vulcanizing cement on the patch and buffed area of the tire and allow to dry thoroughly.

Remember the awl is still through the hole. Apply a thin layer of cement to the stem of the patch and pull the stem through the hole. Once the patch stem is through the puncture cut the stem off almost flush with the outside of the tire’s tread. The tire is now patched and there are a just a few more things to do before you are back on the road.

To finish up the tire repair job and to help make sure your tire problems are a thing of the past, take the time to complete a few preventative measures. One useful precaution is to take a look at your valve stems. If they look worn, old, or damaged it is a good idea to change them. Be sure they are the right length and diameter for your car’s tires.

Valve stems are important because not only do they function to retain valve core air retention, but they also keep moisture and dirt from getting inside the tire. Once you are assured that the valve stems are in good condition reinflate the tire. Using soapy water sprayed on the tire is useful to see if there are any leaks in the new patch, around valve stems, or the beads.


Change a Car Fuse

Picture this. It’s a beautiful night and you and your sweetie are driving down a pretty country road. The bliss of the night is interrupted by a high-pitched scream. The scream wasn’t Sweetie; it was you because the car just lost all power to the headlights.

Since the car is running fine the only conclusion to make is there is a blown fuse. Luckily a few tips and tricks of the trade, not to mention knowing where to look, will fix the problem in a jiffy.

The first thing to do is be prepared. The Boy Scouts are on to something with that one. Being prepared means having the correct fuses for your vehicle on hand, not in the garage at home. They won’t help you there. Ten dollars or less spent at the auto store will provide your car with a spare set of fuses for any emergency.

It’s a good idea to store these in the glove compartment if your car isn’t equipped with a place in the fuse panel to store them. The glove compartment is an ideal location to keep the fuses clean and dry.

Newer model cars and trucks rely heavily on their electrical systems. Ask anyone who has worked on them. Some of these models have up to three different fuse boxes.

An easy way to determine which box to check and which fuse to change is using the owner’s manual. There should be a chart detailing those specifics included. If the chart is missing, the fastest way to find the faulty fuse is to test it with a test light or voltmeter.

Now, if the Boy Scouts’ rule has been forgotten, the option left for you is to check them by sight individually. To test if the fuse is blown, connect the ground wire of your test light or voltmeter to a chassis point, one with exposed metal is a good choice. Then touch the tool’s probe to the fuse’s conductor.

A working fuse will show voltage power on both sides. Obviously the faulty culprit fuse will be missing its charge on one side. Fortunately changing the fuse involves removing the bad one and plugging in a new fuse.

Pay attention here. Make sure the fuse you are using to replace the bad one is the correct amp. If you use a fuse with too high amperage it is possible to start an electrical fire in your vehicle and do more damage than a simple blown fuse is worth.

Fuses typically come in three sizes, mini, normal, and maxi. The fuses that are mini and normal are color-coded. The wrench thrown in is that the maxi sized fuses are color-coded differently.

This being the case it is imperative to check that the amperage on the fuse is correct for location. Don’t even trust a trained mechanic, they make mistakes too. Just because that was the last fuse put in doesn’t mean it was the right amperage.