Automotive Repair Tips

Many times in the past as an automotive technician, I would be given a car to diagnose that either had a problem that prevented the car’s engine from turning over or that prevented the car’s engine from starting. These are two completely different scenarios and these problems are approached differently. Sometimes when the service writer would create a work order, he wouldn’t convey the REAL problem that the customer was experiencing. If the customer or the service writer would make sure the correct explanation of the problem is written, some unnecessary trips out to the car with the wrong tools would be avoided. For instance if the car doesn’t crank over at all, I would need to take my jump box with me. And if the car cranked over but didn’t start, I would want my scan tool and some starting fluid.

A car that cranks over but doesn’t start, in many cases will be due to a bad fuel pump, a broken timing belt, an inoperative cam sensor or crank sensor. The first step in diagnosing a no start is to scan for codes with a code reader or scan tool. Approximately 40% of the cars towed in that I worked on in the last 25 years, either had a bad fuel pump or the fuel gage read incorrectly and the car was just out of fuel. Yes, some people actually have their cars towed in when all they need is some gas! If the fuel gage indicates that there is fuel in the tank, most people will assume naturally that the car does have fuel. But if the fuel sending unit or gage is off slightly, the car’s gas tank could actually be empty. One of the easiest ways to check for a fuel pump related problem is to spray a little starting fluid into the air intake while trying to start the car. If the car starts momentarily, then there’s a good chance the fuel pump is not working or the car is out of gas. You can also listen for the fuel pump’s humming sound when the key is first turned on. Also if a inoperative fuel pump is suspected, a good technician will always check to verify there is power and ground being supplied to the pump, to eliminate the possibility of a bad relay or electrical issue. Fuel pressure can be checked with a pressure gage and if there is pressure, pulse can be checked at the fuel injectors in several ways including the most common, with the use of noid lights. If the injectors don’t have pulse the engine won’t start.

Broken timing belts also caused about 40% of the tow ins in my experience. A broken timing belt can fail causing the car to seem as if it ran out of fuel while driving. When trying to start the car though, the engine typically spins over faster than normal due to the engine having low compression from the timing being off and the valves being open at the wrong time. If the timing belt breaks, there sometimes could be a code set in the vehicles ECU (Electronic Control Unit) for no signal from the cam sensor. If this code is present, you can sometimes check to see if the cam is moving by removing the oil cap while someone engages the starter. Also the upper timing cover can be removed to allow access to the timing belt for inspection. Most of the time when a timing belt breaks the teeth (or cogs) are stripped down at the crank pulley the bottom sprocket preventing the belt from turning the camshaft.

Lack of pulse from the fuel injectors as stated before can prevent a car from running. This brings me to the third most common cause of a car that cranks over but doesn’t start, approximately 20% of the tow ins that I worked on had the following problem. Many times the cause of lack of pulse is because of a bad cam or crank sensor. If the computer doesn’t see either the crank or the cam turning, the fuel injectors won’t be commanded to pulse. One quick indication that a cam or crank sensor may be bad is to check for RPM movement on the tachometer (if equipped) when trying to start the engine. If you have a scan tool not just a code reader, the cam and crank sensor data can be checked on many vehicles by accessing the appropriate screen. If no revolutions are shown when attempting to start the car, the respective sensor could be bad.

Obviously there are many vehicle makes, with different ignition and fuel delivery systems that may require a service manual to properly diagnose or to delve deeper. But with the above tips and tricks that I’ve used over the years you’ll be checking the most likely causes, that hopefully will send you in the right direction.

Winter Car Maintenance Tips

Winter is one of the hardest seasons to drive in, with all the snow, icy roads, and cold weather. The cold weather can make the pliable materials stiffer and more brittle, and it can also make fluids thicker. Additionally, the roads can be more dangerous due to the icy and snow-covered roads. For this reason, you must make sure to have your car ready for winter by doing some basic car maintenance checks. Doing so will help you save money and time as the season turns for the worst. Here are some simple car maintenance tips to help you get through the winter.

1. Tune-up your car

Before you use your car, you must take it to your car service center for a tune-up. A tune-up will help keep your vehicle running longer, and it will also help you save money by detecting and preventing problems.

2. Get the right tires for winter

There are different types of tires available for different driving conditions. When choosing the right tires for winter, you must first consider your needs. The all-season tires are not usually effective during winter where there are lots of snow and icy roads. For instance, there are winter tires with new tread patterns and rubber compounds which make them quieter on dry roads, and very effective on icy roads. Choosing the right winter tires will help you avoid slipping off the road or other accidents.

3. Check your oil and other fluid levels

You have to check that your car’s transmission, power steering, brake, and windshield fluids, as well as the oil, and coolants are filled to proper levels. You also have to remember that there are certain engine oils that don’t perform well in the cold weather. Make sure that your oil is good for your location, and change it when necessary. If your fluid levels are at proper levels, your vehicle will run better and you will be less susceptible to road problems.

4. Check your battery

Since you will be driving your vehicle on testy roads, you must pay close attention to your car’s battery. You have to realize that winter puts more stress on your car battery, especially if you park outdoors. You can consider a load-test for your battery since this is cost-effective and can save you from problems down the road. If you find out that your battery is not doing well, you can replace it when you need to.

5. Prepare a winter emergency kit

You must always bring with you an emergency road kit. In addition, you must also have a special winter emergency kit which includes: sand for tire traction on snow, and an ice scraper and de-icing liquid.

Basic Car Maintenance

Having a car of your own is probably one of the most convenient things imaginable, especially in this increasingly hectic world. It helps you get around faster, getting you where you need to go as fast as possible. However, it is of crucial importance for all car owners to know that having a vehicle of your own also comes with its own set of responsibilities.

Performing regular car maintenance is crucial to ensuring that your vehicle is able to perform in optimal capacity. The following are some basic car maintenance tips that all car owners need to know. These tips go a long way in terms of making sure that your car is safe and road worthy.

Perform Regular Car Tune-Ups

Car owners should have their vehicles tuned-up no less than once a month. You have the choice of doing it yourself or having it done at the maintenance garage. This not only ensures that your car performs at optimal efficiency, but it also goes a long way in saving you money. This is because poorly tuned-up cars consume at least 30 percent more gasoline annually.

Regularly Check Your Car’s Fluid Levels

The car’s fluid levels should be checked at least once a week for new cars, and every day for older models. The vehicle’s brake fluids, radiator coolant, clutch fluids, automatic transmission fluid as well as its battery water levels are just some of the things you have to be on the lookout for.

If it reaches a point wherein any of these fluids run low, then you should expect your car to start malfunctioning. For instance, your car’s battery life may be dramatically shortened once the battery water levels run low. You are also putting yourself at risk if you do not keep your clutch and brake fluids in check. You have to ensure that they are of the right viscosity to ensure that you are traveling safe.

Regularly Check Your Car’s Tire Pressure

The vehicle’s tire pressure levels should be checked monthly. Failure to do so will result in your car not being able to perform its best. For instance, studies have shown that for every pound of under-inflation a vehicle can lose at least 4 percent of its fuel efficiency and gasoline mileage. This is a direct result of the drag that low pressure tires create.

These are just a few of the car maintenance tips that all car owners should know about. The importance of performing regular maintenance on your vehicle can never be stressed enough. It is crucial in order for you to enjoy the benefits that your car brings into your life. All of the tips presented above ensure that your vehicle is kept at its prime.

You can either do these things yourself, or you can have professional mechanics do it for you. It doesn’t really matter who does these tasks for you as long as it is done properly. Either way, car owners will most definitely save more money in the long run by following these car maintenance tips.

Finding a Quality Repairer

Sourcing a reliable and trustworthy car repair service is an important part of owning a car. Most of us know how to drive our cars but know little about the complex workings that go on under the bonnet, or in the computer systems of our car.

The cost of major repairs is much greater than the relatively small expense of having a minor car service once, or twice a year, depending on how frequently you drive you car.

We rely heavily on the expertise and knowledge that our car repair mechanic provides, thus having a service that you can trust and ask questions, no matter how simple they might seem, will help you to maintain your car, and extend the life of your cars parts.

Keeping your car running reliably and even extending its life can be achieved by finding a quality car repair service mechanic and maintaining regular servicing. Your mechanic is there to look out for potential issues, and to undertake any repairs to make your car safe.

Regular servicing is the best preventative as it means all of the major systems within your vehicle are being assessed by a professional on a regular basis, and the moving parts are keep well lubricated to reduce wear and tear. This can actually extend the life of your vehicle, as well as helping to maintain its value and reliability.

As well as being able to perform standard repairs on your vehicle, a car repair business can also offer many other car services including:
– safety checks
– LPG gas conversions
-diagnosis of electronic problems
-log book servicing
-tune ups

Look for a repairer who has been recommended or approved by your local motoring body. This means the business will have been reviewed to ensure that it meets standards for both service and experience.

A further level of assurance can be achieved by selecting a mechanic who provides guarantees, or warranties on work performed. Usually these warranties will cover both repairs as well as parts for a given period of time, or for a certain number of kilometres, whichever occurs first.

Choosing the Right Car Repair Service

Car repair service is an inevitable part of owning a car as you may encounter unexpected breakdowns and repairs quite often. Maintenance and repair services are essential to keep your car running reliably and to extend its life.

What a Car Repair Service Can Do?

A car repair service can make sure that your vehicle lives long and performs well on the road for an extended period of time by offering the following repair services:

  • Maintenance and servicing
  • Electrical diagnostic work and repairs
  • Mechanical diagnostic work and repairs
  • E.C.U. Fault code reading (Dash board warning lamps on)

Choosing The Right Car Repair Service: Tips

You can find numerous car repair service providers in your locality. And finding the right one is really very important as it means you get the best service available with the least amount of. But how can you identify the best one among them. Here are some useful tips that will help you identify the best service provider in your locality.

  • Look for a service provider who offers quality service at affordable rates
  • Choose a firm with necessary licences
  • Select a firm with honest and customer friendly technicians

Finding a Car Repair Service: Things to Consider

These are the few things you need to keep in mind when choosing a repair firm.

You can start the hunt by making a list of all the nearby car repair shops in your area. Once you have a list, you can easily pick the right one from among them by looking at their pricing schemes.

The next step is to find a firm with necessary licences is important as safety is involved. Poor service can not only affect the performance of your car, but also put your safety at risk. It is recommended to go for a firm that has ASE certified technicians. They can provide the highest level of qualified repair and maintenance services in the automotive repair industry.

The quality of their service can be verified by checking out the shop. Shops with well maintained equipment as well as returning customers are sure to offer you top-quality service. If you know people who sent their car over to one of your prospect shops for repair, don’t hesitate to ask them about the servicing quality.

Keep these facts in mind and get the best repair service provider to repair your cars so that you can enjoy a safer drive.

Tips for Selling Your Car

If you’re ready to sell your old car and upgrade to a new one you have probably already looked at the going rate for your particular car based on the Kelly Blue Book value. You’re probably also already aware that if you really want to get top dollar for your car, you may need to do some of those repairs that you put off doing before. While you may be willing to live with a cracked windshield or a faulty heater, those little car repairs left undone, can keep your car from selling in a very competitive and sluggish car market.

When you’re trying to decide what repair jobs you can skip and what ones you are absolutely going to have to get done, you should look at your car from the perspective of a potential buyer. If you own the car out right and you don’t want to put money into car repairs, the likely hood that a buyer will pay for the car and then put that money into repairs is even more minuet.

The first impression of you car will be cosmetic. You may not be able to repaint a car with a worn out paint job and repair every dent and scratch, but you can vacuum the car’s interior and shampoo the seats so they present nicely. Many consumers will judge the mechanical condition of a car based on the cosmetic condition of the car. After all if you can’t bother to pick up the trash and keep the interior clean, you probably didn’t bother to change the oil or rotate the tires either. Hopefully if you care about the appearance of your car it is a good indicator that you care about how it runs also.

Even if your not prepared to do the needed repairs yourself it’s a good idea to take the car to a mechanic for a once over. If you know what repairs your car will need down the road, it may be a selling point to potential buyers on a budget. You might also be surprised to discover that your car is in better condition than you originally thought. All of this information will come in handy when its time to show your car and the first question most buyers will ask is about the mechanical condition of the car.

So if you’re ready to sell your old car, make sure you know what car repairs need to be done and what they will cost so you can either do them yourself or calculate them into the selling price of the car.

Car Repair

In a tough economy, everyone is looking for ways to save money. One of the expenses we simply cannot avoid is that of car repair. However, with some understanding of the industry and your particular vehicle, you can lower the costs of repairs for your vehicle over the course of the year.

First, do not forget about your routine maintenance. Regular tune-ups, oil changes, and fluid flushes will keep your vehicle running at its best and avoid potentially avoidable expenses. When you notice a problem, take care of it right away. It can cost a couple of hundred dollars to fix your engine’s cooling system, for example, when you notice a leak. Ignoring the leak could cause you to fry your engine, and that repair will run in the thousands of dollars. By taking care of the little things when they come up, you can avoid big car repair bills in the future.

Next, check your car’s owner’s manual to ensure you are not getting oil changes you do not need. The rule of thumb is to have your oil changed every 3,000 miles, but some newer model vehicles are created to run longer. While you do not want to ignore your oil change, you don’t need to be paying for oil changes you don’t actually need. This can add up to significant savings.

One of the most important ways you can save money on car repair is by finding an honest mechanic or shop. Learn what the mechanic charges per hour, and find someone you can trust not to add hours on to your bill that are not actually spent servicing your vehicle. You may find hourly prices to be higher at dealerships, so consider choosing an independent shop you can trust or a non-dealership chain store. Of course, if your vehicle is still under warranty, you may benefit from working through the dealership, but otherwise you will likely save money going elsewhere. Chain stores typically have set prices across the board, making it easier to trust their quotes, whereas independent shops require you to take the word of a mechanic you may or may not know or trust.

Another way to lower the cost of your car repair is to choose the right vehicle. Research the average costs of repairs for the vehicle you are considering. Some vehicles are known for their costly repairs. Hybrids, for instance, may help you save on fuel costs, but when you need to replace or fix something, be prepared for a large bill.

In these difficult economic times, we are all looking for ways to cut expenses. The good news is that car repair doesn’t have to break your budget, if you do it right. Pay attention to your routine maintenance, and take care of problems as soon as they surface. Take the time to find a shop you can trust, and avoid paying for maintenance, like oil changes, before you really need it. Purchase a vehicle that is affordable to fix. By following these tips, you can keep your vehicle running well without spending a fortune.

Car Care Tips to Protect Car’s Resale Value

Car Care TipsGetting things done in life is all about the small things; and nowhere is this truer than with car maintenance. The Department of Transportation reckons that on average, the cars that run on American roads are about ten years old. On average, a car is not scrapped before it turns 13. This isn’t as pathetic as it seems to sound. Cars these days are built to last; you usually wouldn’t have to scrap a car before it hits 250,000 miles. And even then, it’s usually scrapped only because the cars’ incidental components, door handles, the seats, and such, begin to fail – not the car itself. We believe that if you could practice all the car care tips you ever read and keep it healthy and running for as long as all this, you could actually save a quarter of a million over your lifetime. You won’t have to deal with car payments as much or high insurance costs either. And if you start saving for a new car early on, you could even have enough cash to buy a new car outright when the day comes around.

If you want to see if your car will last as long as all that, here are car care tips to start you on your way:

The first one, the granddaddy of all car care tips, would be to read the manual thoroughly and then stay in compliance with the maintenance schedule. Now this would seem pretty obvious, and barely worth mentioning; but people just can’t seem to believe that what they can’t see under the hood could actually matter at all. To begin with, not following the maintenance schedule can void the warranty on your car when it’s new. If you need a little help with your maintenance schedule, try the maintenance feature that will map out all the maintenance milestones for your model of car, and tell you what it should cost. Remember, if you happen to like to use your car for towing purposes, for driving through dusty off-road routes, or for driving in really cold climate, you need to follow the severe use maintenance schedule they publish, which typically requires that you bring it in once every 3000 miles. It would help if you set aside $1000 each year for this.

A part of a responsible maintenance schedule would be to never let a chance go by for a free problem rectification – via a free recall. Most car care tips try to not overextend, and limit themselves to giving you tips on oil change and routine maintenance. But there is more to it than that. The way you use your car has a lot to do with what you need to get done, come maintenance time. Consider the kind of stress you place on the engine. When you first own a new car, the way you drive over first thousand miles or so is critical. That’s the break-in or run-in period, and it’s the time when all the brand-new parts of your engine really settle into one another groove. You need to make sure that you drive below 55 miles an hour, that you don’t pull any sudden acceleration moves, and that you expose the engine to a variety of driving speeds. If your car has a tow package, make sure you don’t use it any more than you absolutely have to – to avoid the stress on your car.

You need to make sure you follow the maintenance schedule for oil changes; the usual is once every 3000 miles. If you don’t drive all that much, you could probably get by on no more than one oil change a year; just make sure you use synthetic oil, and all should be well. Each time you drive your car in for an oil change, consider it your excuse to tighten the hoses, belts, fans and to take a look at all the fluids. The mechanic will probably go through all the basic points for an extra $10.

With enough car care tips, you could become a pretty fair mechanic yourself. And that is about the best way to care for your car. Have a routine: make sure your battery is clean and free of bulges or corrosion; check your tire pressure (you get a gauge for about $25), and learn how to hit all the points that need tightening. Learn your car’s manner; walk around your car at least once a week to check for strange smells, and strange noises.

It may be hard to believe, but keeping a car clean can actually extend the life of the car. A clean car not only looks better, but it is also more valuable. Many people lead busy lives and washing the car is the last thing on their mind. It really takes only a few minutes, once a week, to keep a car clean and protected. It is important to consider that keeping a car clean should include both the interior and the exterior. This will ensure the appearance of the car is in the best condition possible.

There are many reasons that cleaning the exterior of a car can extend its life. The number one reason is that washing a car prevents rust. Rust can cause serious damage to vehicles. It can cause parts of the vehicle to fall off completely. It is very unsightly to see a car that has rust damage. The damage obviously causes the value of the car to greatly decline. Dirt and dust that builds up on a car can scratch the paint. Regularly washing the car will keep this from happening. Even small scratches can cause a decrease in the value of a car.

During the wintertime, people often go for months without washing their car. After all, the temperature is freezing, and the snow continues to come down. This is a big mistake. During the winter, cars need to be washed at least once a week. The salt that is on the roads to melt the snow and ice can attack the sheet metal and undercarriage of the car. It can eat away at the area and cause substantial damage. Car wash bays are available even in cold temperatures that are equipped with drying mechanisms to help reduce the chances of doors and windows freezing due to the cold weather.

Keeping the interior of the car clean is also important. Regular vacuuming will help keep the carpets from looking old and dingy. Rubber floor mats are also a good way to protect carpeting and the mats can be taken out and washed. Placing towels or plastic lining under child seats helps protect the seats and avoids stains. Leather cleaning pads are available to clean leather seats. This helps keep leather looking new. Covering windshields on sunny days protects the dashboard from cracking. These easy cleaning tips keep a car in excellent condition, extending the life of the car and keeping the resale value high.

Not to leave out the exterior, make sure you wash off the road salt around the tires, and that you wax it up nice and good. It should protect your resale value for the day you need it.