In the old days, a tune-up was necessary about every 35,000 miles. It would usually consist of setting the ignition timing, replacing the mechanical breaker points in the ignition, cleaning and adjusting the carburetor and replacing the plug wires and spark plugs. Today, of course, the carburetor’s job is done by fuel injection and the ignition timing and spark are controlled by the engine computer. Few vehicles still have plug wires anymore either, as the distributor was replaced by the computer and a coil-on-plug design which delivers a spark at each spark plug.
But what about the spark plugs themselves, though? How often do they need to be replaced now?
Manufacturers tout an 80k-100k mile service interval on spark plugs now, thanks in part to improvements in plug design and materials. That might be stretching it, however. Remember that if you have a 100,000-mile spark plug, its electrode is worn down 4/5 of the way at 80,000 miles. A worn ...[more]
So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on…and doesn’t go back off again. You can’t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it’s on anyway.
What does it mean?
Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.
The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. When ...[more]
It can be a lot of work and attention to detail to get your car really clean…especially if it’s pretty dirty to start with…but here are some ideas for truly thorough cleaning that you may not have thought of!
--A cheap foam paintbrush can get into crevices (like A/C vents) that might be impossible otherwise. As you loosen up dust from these spots, keep a vacuum cleaner nozzle at work in your other hand to suck up the dust and prevent it from settling other places.
--A soft-bristled brush is perfect for cleaning around radio knobs and other buttons.
--While you’re cleaning, don’t forget to locate your cabin air filter and replace it. A dirty cabin air filter can lead to a lot of odd smells and stinks. Check your owner’s manual; cabin a ...[more]
Often, drivers are mystified by how their cars actually work. It’s to be expected. Even an older car is a complex machine with many sub-assemblies that all work together to move it down the road.
As a result, drivers tend to be a little intimidated by auto repair and often tend to not inform themselves by asking the necessary questions of a tech or a garage. Too often, that ends up being a big mistake. Here are some examples of the kinds of things you really should know before any auto repair work starts:
- Does your shop work on any kind of vehicle? Of course, most shops can service a product from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and the other leading makes. Some makes, however, require a lot more training and experience, o ...[more]
As a vehicle owner, you know that maintenance and repairs are worthwhile investments. Some vehicle repairs can be unexpected but easy enough to fix, a flat tire, a dead battery, or a blown fuse. However, some repairs require more time and more money to fix, a transmission problem, wear and tear to the vehicle over time, or a failed air-conditioner. Regular maintenance is key to prevent most repairs, but you never know what is ‘just down the road’ for your car or truck. Knowing how to make small repairs, and knowing when to take your car in for inspections, maintenance, and repairs is key to extending the life of your vehicle and getting the most out of your investment.
Outside of routine and seasonal maintenance, oil changes, tire checks, air-conditioning or winter-proofing, having a truste ...[more]
Did you know cold weather puts an added strain on your car battery? When temperatures drop into freezing levels, your vehicle must work harder upon startup and also run its cold weather functions like heating systems, wiper blades, and the defroster. There are simple steps you can take to winterize your car battery and ensure its best performance through this chilly season:
Check the Fluid Levels:
- Pull of the cap off the battery to get to the hydraulic fluid inside.
- Using a hydrometer extract some fluid to check the level and condition
- The hydrometer tool will give you a “low”, “fair”, or “good” rating
If a tune-up sounds like a simple thing, you’d probably be surprised that many car owners actually forget to have one done regularly. In combination with other preventative maintenance like transmission flushes and oil changes, tune-ups can extend the life of your vehicle by inspecting and restoring vital engine parts. Tune-ups should be done at regular intervals, about every 30,000 miles, and especially in older vehicles. Things wear out overtime, so even if it’s been a few years, you may want to ask yourself: When was the last time I checked my hoses and gaskets? Are my sparkplugs still in working condition? How long has it been since I’ve changed the air-filter or fuel-filter?
Tune-ups can not only replace worn parts they can save you time and money in the long run by preventing costly future repairs, and boosting the performance of your vehicle. If you’ve noticed any of the following, it’s probably time for a routine ...[more]
Your vehicle is a complex machine with many moving parts and functions. In order to keep those parts moving freely and to reduce damage as well as to keep out water and dirt, one of the most important things you can do is keep engine parts protected and lubricated with an oil change. Regular oil changes are vital to the life of your engine and can extend its performance for years, keeping the engines free of sludge. Most manufacturers recommend changing your oil every 3,000-6,000 miles, depending on your vehicle use and the type of oil you are using. Oil changes are one of the easiest, most affordable, and most reliable ways to keep your car running smoothly and problem free.
Oil Changes are essential to:
- Reduce engine wear
Many motorists do not take the time to schedule regular oil changes, but did you know something as simple as a seasonal oil change can have multiple benefits on your vehicle’s performance and overall longevity? A simple seasonal oil change, when done every 3 months, or 3,000 to 6,000 miles depending on your vehicle, can keep your vehicle running more smoothly, and for much longer. Oil changes are the most inexpensive way to provide quality maintenance to your vehicle and prevent many common issues due to age and wear.
For example, an oil change will remove old, dirty oil, as well as replace the old filter, keeping the engine free from harmful dirt and debris. Small particles like dirt, road debris, and even air pollutants can get into the engine and begin to corrode away the moving parts. If engine oil is dirty, it will not properly lubricate and protect all of the constantl ...[more]
Your mechanic or auto repair technician should possess the same qualities that you expect from your doctor and dentist; namely trust and reliability. Car owners have a lot at stake when seeking vehicle maintenance and repairs, it's very important to find the right auto repair technician. There are three categories of inquiries you should make about his business: the skill level of the workers, the price of the work being done and, finally, the policies and extra services. Let's take a look at the some recommended questions.
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