Wednesday, November 17, 2010

11 Oil Change Tips

Oil change routines should be firmly established by an automobile's owner. If a car owner isn't sure how often to regularly perform this task, it's best to check the owner's manual for frequency requirements, as this will vary depending on the make, model and year of the vehicle. Here are eleven tips to remember:

1) Frequency increases with heavy duty vehicle usage, hauling trailers and hot or cold temperatures. Mountain driving uses more energy and causes more wear and tear on the vehicle, just like a human body running up a hill. Extreme temperatures can stress the oil, causing the vehicle to be operating hotter, which in turn causes the lubricant to break down, necessitating a premature oil change.

2) An oil change should always be accompanied with a filter change. Both components work in tandem to provide the cleanest oil available for the lubrication of the engine.

3) It's best to perform this maintenance ritual when the car is warmed up. Deposits sink out of the suspension when the engine is cold and may not be cleaned out during the process.

4) The dipstick should be looked at on a regular basis in order to monitor whether or not the vehicle is losing oil. In days past when gas stations pumped their customer's gasoline, they always checked under the hood to make sure the levels of fluids and lubricants were kept at satisfactory amounts. Gone are those quaint days of customer service, but a person can do it for themselves.

5) To check a dipstick, pull it out, wipe it off and replace. After counting to ten, pull it out again and look at it. This will give a driver a clear idea of whether there is an excess usage between changes.

6) Without regular changes, this lubricant will turn into acid and sludge which can quickly ruin a motor.

7) By performing this one maintenance ritual on a regular basis, the life of a car can last six to seven times longer than one without it.

8) Be sure to get the proper grade and weight for your vehicle. The options include multi-weights which are for newer vehicles and can handle wider range of temps and single weight which are typically for older engines. The single weight is more economical, light duty, but is fairly obsolete as most car manuals recommend the multi-weight.

9) Over the years auto manufacturers have come up with designations for cars called Service Codes to let consumers know which motor oils should be used in their cars. On the side of each can is a code written as S.A. to S.M. A driver must check the owner's manual or parts department in order to find out which one meets the requirements of their particular engine.

10) Never, never use "non-detergent" oil. Modern oil contains many additives which keep the inside of your engine clean and running well. "Non-detergent" oil is usually used for chainsaws, lawnmowers, and other non-vehicle motor powered devices. It is kept on the shelf in the store right next to the "detergent" type. It's cheaper, but make sure you don't use it or buy it by mistake.

11) Use the best filter you can find in order to get the optimum result from the oil change.

Tools for an Oil Change

Everyone knows that an oil change is one of the most important preventative maintenance tasks to be performed. This chore should be done on a regular basis, which is determined by the make, model and year of the vehicle as well as how it's driven. If a car or truck is driven on rough terrain or mountainous inclines, an oil change will need to be performed more frequently. If the weather in the region is extremely hot or cold, the lubricant will begin to break down more rapidly than in temperate climates. If the vehicle is used to haul large loads such as a camper for the family vacation or a utility trailer full of building products, it will burn more lubricant as well as gasoline. A car owner can take their auto in for this service call or learn to perform the duty themselves. If they decide to do it at home, they will need proper tools and supplies to complete the oil change job.

- Old clothes: It's a good idea to wear clothing that is designated for dirty work. Once these clothes are splattered with lubricant, they will never be the same. Reserve shirts and pants just for this regular maintenance duty.

- Gloves: Having work gloves will protect the hands from becoming stained with motor fluids as well. Gloves can also help a person get a better grip.

- Chocks, bricks or blocks: Chocks are devices which are placed in front of and behind the tires of a vehicle to keep it from slipping or moving in any way. Bricks or wooden blocks cut to the appropriate dimensions will work, too.

- Jack: Jacking the vehicle up a bit with an appropriate jack tool will aid in the oil changing process.

- Wrenches: The appropriate sized wrenches to tighten and loosen filters and lids will be necessary to properly complete this job.

- Container for drainage: A container to collect the dirty lubricant that drains out will be necessary. It should be able to withstand the heat imparted by the engine onto the lubricant, and be able to hold four to six quarts.

- Plastic jugs to transport discarded oil to the local auto parts shop or recycling drop off site. Emptied and cleaned milk or water jugs are perfect for the job. They require cleaning or hauling home again, either. The discarded oil must be properly disposed of so as to not pollute ground water or the local environment. The local auto parts shops will be happy to take it off your hands for free.

- Filters: Filters must be changed at the same time. Be sure to purchase high quality products that won't tear or fall apart. Don't skimp on this item.

- Oil: There are different types of oil which are required for the varieties of vehicles. Check the owner's manual or auto parts shop to find out the proper type for your car. Be certain that it's not "non-detergent" as this is the type meant for chainsaws, lawn mowers, and tools rather than motor vehicles. It may be cheaper, but it's bad for your car.

Jump Starter - A Practical Device

A portable jump starter is considered very useful in emergency situations. With this particular device, you can easily activate the car. This is very useful if one is left alone in a remote area. At remote areas it is impossible to locate vehicles for providing a jump start. This is the perfect time when the starters come in handy way. One of the reasons which make it essential is you may always be not in a convenient location to get the benefit of a start up. In the urban places with so much of traffic, it is really difficult to place another car for the benefit of a start up. This particular start off device can give you peace of mind to a particular person. The peace of mind which one can have by having such devices is incomparable.

The jump starter also gives the benefit of a portable power. You will find a DC outlet feature present in this particular device. With this particular outlet power is supplied to the electronic device. It is important to recharge the laptops and cell phones when you are busy in the outdoor work. There are some models which consist of the feature of alternating current outlets. With the help of the alternating current outlets you can easily plug any type of appliance. With this particular feature, a portable power can be satisfied.

With this particular device, one can easily plug television, laptops, and stereos when you are going for camping. You can also use this particular device as a power back up. They are perfect for any kind of emergency situation where one demands portable power. They are considered perfect to use during occasional but emergency situations. Even if you never use this particular device, you can use them for helping your neighbor or friend. They may use it for inflating the tires with this particular device.

Car Repair and Rainy Weather Driving

This scary scenario has happened to so many drivers: fast, hard rain and suddenly you find yourself driving through foot deep water. There are different methods to rainy weather driving. Being aware and driving smart can help you prevent car repair due to rain and water damage.

When you are driving in the rain, keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel may be your only focus. With your windshield wipers going full speed, you are forced to concentrate fully to keep your vehicle on the road and out of the ditch. Spending time in the shop for car repair due to a rainy day accident is frustrating for anyone.

When it comes to rainy day driving, being educated and aware can make all the difference in keeping you and your family safe. Driving in bad weather is scary and extremely dangerous. It is important to avoid standing or rushing water, especially on bridges or raised roadways. Because you are unable to tell the depth of the water, it is best to find a different route.

Driving through standing water could damage your vehicle internally in multiple ways. One of the most common side effects of splashing water is forced car repair on the vehicle's computer system. Often, when a vehicle's computer takes on a lot of water, the electrical system occasionally shuts down.

Little things that can help you on a rainy day will also help you keep your vehicle out of the car repair shop. Driving with your lights on in the rain is an easy way to prevent fended benders. Even in light rain, drivers have difficulty seeing vehicles that do not have their lights turned on. This is a simple way to prevent major and minor accidents.

Teaching yourself not to slam on your brakes in the rain can also save you a lot of heartache. Rain wet roads can be extremely slick; especially in those moments right after the rain has started. Test the road slickness by tapping on your brakes. You may be surprised how just a little bit of rain affects your stopping distance.

To avoid hydroplaning, drive in the middle lane. Most people know that highways and roads are highest in the middle to help with water run off. That means that water occasionally gathers on the outer edges. If you do find yourself hydroplaning, do not panic. Hold the wheel firm and tap on your brakes. This will prevent your vehicle from accelerating and will keep you from traveling into the hydroplane spin.

Finally, make sure your windshield wipers are in good shape. If you have not replaced them in a while, buy yourself a new pair. They are relatively inexpensive and can save you a lot of trouble. Check with your vehicle's manufacturer's book to see what size you need. You may need two different sized wipers for your windshield.

Car Repair: Tips To Help You Avoid Getting Swindled

As anyone who has driven for enough time knows, not all car repair shops are equal. They are not equal in the service they provide, the prices they charge, or their honesty. Unless you like the idea of getting taken for a ride every time you bring your vehicle into the shop, you need to formulate a plan that will prevent you from getting swindled. This plan doesn't need to be elaborate. As long as you follow a few simple rules, you can drastically cut the chances of being conned by a dishonest shop or paying too much for a service you could have gotten for much less elsewhere.

One big tip when it comes to car repair is that you should always be willing to go get a second opinion. If your doctor told you something that sounded a little strange, you wouldn't hesitate to get a second opinion. Do the same when it comes to your vehicle. See what another mechanic or body shop has to say about what needs to be done for your vehicle. If the two stories match up, you'll have that additional peace of mind. It might not be something you had hoped to hear, but you'll at least know that it was the truth. If you get two different stories, go ahead and get a third opinion. It may seem like quite a bit of hassle, but you could be saving yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars in work.

Demand that your car repair shop tell you exactly what they are going to do to your vehicle and have them explain exactly why. If you don't understand the process or the explanation, have them explain it in more detail. Don't be afraid to appear ignorant in front of the mechanic. If you were an expert, you probably wouldn't have brought it to a shop in the first place. There's no need to give off an aura of aggression, but too many shops forget that the customer has a multitude of choices when it comes to where they will take their business. If you don't like what you are hearing or the personnel there don't seem interested in leading you through the process, simply take that business somewhere else.

One of the best tips you can adhere to is to find a good car repair shop before your vehicle needs maintenance. When your vehicle breaks down or you find yourself in an accident, the emergency nature of the situation often prevents people from using their best judgment. They may simply take it to the first place they can find and accept whatever it is that the shop tells them. If you do some research beforehand and have a place in mind, you will be much more prepared when the time comes to pay for repairs.

Oil Change - Which Tools Do You Need to Do It Yourself?

These days, a lot of people are adopting a more do-it-yourself attitude. Especially when the economy is bad, people try to save money wherever they can. Changing your own oil can save you upwards of $20 each time you do it. If you change your own oil every three months you can save $80 a year. It is little changes in your spending behavior that can really help stretch your paycheck further. The only downside to a do it yourself oil change is there are a few tools that you will have to invest in. However, if you plan on doing your own lube transfers from now on, this investment can quickly and easily pay for itself.

Jack stands: While doing any type of work on your vehicle that requires you to be underneath it, it is important to make sure that the car is sturdy. That is why you will need a set of jack stands. You should never ever do any type of work under your car while it is supported by the jack alone. This is not secure and you should not get under the car. Make sure to have these handy as they will come in handy with many other do it yourself car repairs.

Socket wrench: You will need this to remove the drain plug under the car in order to do the oil change. Usually the size of the nut is 3/8 - but check your owner's manual to make sure that you have the right sized socket. Most people will already have a socket wrench set in their tool box. It is a great investment and something you will use on more than just lube transfers.

Oil Filter Wrench: The oil filter wrench is a tool that you will most likely buy for the sake of doing an oil change and you probably do not already have one in your toll box. However, they are relatively inexpensive, but necessary to a do it yourself oil change. You can find them at your local auto repair center for between $7 - $10 for a decent one. That is less than half the price of one oil change at a mechanic's shop.

Drip Pan: You will need something to collect the oil after you have drained it from your car. You do not need anything fancy here. As a matter of fact, it can be an old bucket you found in your garage or an old bowl in the kitchen that you do not want anymore. Remember, this will ruin the item, so do not choose anything you will want to reuse for anything other than holding oil. If you like, you can always buy something at the auto repair store.

A funnel: This seems like a very simple tool. However, some people do not think of this as a tool and therefore neglect to get one. You are going to want to get a funnel that is larger and more heavy duty than your run of the mill kitchen funnel. This funnel is going to need to get a lot of oil into a bottle. You want something that can hold a lot of oil and is sturdy. Funnels are also sold at the local do it yourself auto repair shop for a couple of dollars.

Car Repair and the Role of Car Accidents in Technological Innovation

Technological evolution includes both successful innovations as well as catastrophic failures. If we look at the history of technology as contingent -- in other words, just one of many possible outcomes -- then every event, whether intentional or accidental, affects the outcome. Instead of beginning at the global level, sometimes it benefits us to focus on one specific technological object or event and work outward from that point. The automobile has many systems that support its existence. Sometimes, a car breaks down, and sometimes aspects of the system itself break down.

With the constant movement of vehicles on the road, it is a statistical inevitability that accidents will occur. The car accident is one event in the wider technological system that can be focused on to derive insights about technological progress and technological failure. The direct followup in the sequence of events following a car accident is the need for car repair. To look at the overall system like an ecological system, we can see that the need for car repair results in the emergence of a car repair industry.

The focus on car repair is helpful because it allows us to see a relationship in which the car accident and car repair interact with each other. Automotive repair is but one component of the overall support system for the vehicle, but its emergence shows us that large technological systems form organs for repair and maintenance much like in living organisms. From the relationship between car accidents and repair, one should next move to the larger "organism": the automobile itself.

From where does the automobile emerge? What does the car's ubiquity tell us about ourselves? The car (and the internal combustion engine) can be said to be a combination of two of our earliest technological leaps: the wheel and fire. A car, in a sense, is also a projectile, like an arrow hurtling toward its target. The automobile is a combination of speed and vision. The car does not stand alone; it is always connected to other technologies. Entire industries are based around fueling it. Networks of roads and highways are constantly maintained and improved to support it. It presents us with a number of unsolvable problems: the accident, the traffic jam, the unexpected vehicular malfunction. The automobile has changed the way we live and view ourselves in relation to the greater global community. The changes that the car and the "car accident" have brought into the world are many, and our lives as we currently live them would not be possible without the existence of the automobile.

Rear Brake Caliper Replacement

Being able to handle the rear break mechanism replacement including the caliper and rotor replacement may actually save you a great deal of expenses. On the other hand, if done improperly, this will result into a greater expense than if a professional auto workshop is employed. Therefore, it is important that you adhere to some specific guidelines before you put on the gloves to replace your caliper, brake pads and/or rotors.

There are some indicative symptoms that may tell a driver that the brake pads should be replaced immediately and the rotors be taken care of as well. It is the specific pulsation and shaking that takes place when you quickly drop down your speed or doing the side runs when changing the lanes. There is an option by which the brake pads may be replaced without the need to resurface your rotors, however all of my experience tells that both should be taken care of simultaneously in one session to avoid the repetitive insisting issues soon after the brakes are replaced.

Still, if you are going for the sole brake pads change, the procedure sequence will be somewhat different. First you will need to have your wheels removed to see the bolts holding the caliper and the caliper brackets. If no rotors are being changed, then you will likely have to cope with the two bolts holding the caliper itself leaving the bracket bolts and the brackets intact. You may use some plastic insulated flexible wire to hold the caliper when both bolts are set loose. The caliper brackets, however, will need to be taken out if you decide to resurface your rotors along with the brake change. In any case you will probably have to leave the wheel bearings intact without attempting to change or repack those which is a part of the recent designs.

Oil Change: What Is Viscosity?

When changing engine oil, you have probably been asked about which weight or grade you prefer. The property called "viscosity" relates to the internal friction of a fluid. A low viscosity will flow more easily while a high viscosity is associated with a heavier fluid meant for specific driving conditions. The system of numbers assigned has to do with which weather conditions you should use the product in. It is important for you to know if you need to switch viscosities when getting an oil change. If you're from out of the area, an oil change specialist cannot immediately determine what kind of conditions you drive in on sight of your vehicle.

The number assigned to types by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has nothing to do with quality. It is simply an indicator for what type of weather it was designed. For example, SAE 10 is recommended for cold weather operation while SAE 30 is for those vehicle used in warm weather climates. There are single viscosities, such as the aforementioned, and multi-viscosity numbers. Sometimes a single viscosity is referred to as a straight weight, and is used in areas where the temperature is consistent. Multi-viscosity oils are used in areas that experience extreme seasonal changes.

The letter W that often accompanies the number assigned to the weight stands for "winter grade." The absence of a W by a number indicates a warmer weather grade. SAE 5W-30 therefore is a multi-weight that is suggested for vehicles that are operated in extreme winters and mild to normal warmer weather. 20W-40 is for mild winters but extreme summers.

Most vehicles purchased on a car lot will be equipped with the weight that is suggested for the weather conditions in which the car is sold, and it is important to remember that the weight has nothing to do with the type of car; it has only to do with the weather condition in which the car is driven. If you purchase a car from a lot in Texas but you live in Alaska, you will need an oil change to address the change in necessary viscosity once returning home to Alaska.

It is not the responsibility of nor is it possible for a specialist to predict what type is best for you and your driving conditions, so make sure to initiate the conversation with the technician with each maintenance check. You may even need to choose and change to a different weight before your traditional interval has been met.

Car Repair During Winter Months

There are some simple things that you can do before winter arrives to help keep your vehicle out of the car repair shop. In the end, taking the time to winterize your vehicle will save you time and effort when the temperature drops. You could save yourself money by catching a small problem before it becomes a large one.

Everyone thinks about winterizing their vehicles in terms of safety. We all know that winterizing is safe, effective and helpful to easing your worry and stress when you find yourself driving in inclement weather. Did you know, though, that winterizing also reduces stress on your automobile? Winterizing will increase the life of your vehicle. Even the small winterizing tips, like replacing windshield wipers, can keep you from spending time and money on major car repair.

There are numerous tips to get your automobile prepared for winter. It is important to take the time to record which ones you perform. If you are careful and keep proper records, you may find that you can switch up the different winterizing maintenance rituals. It is possible that you will be able to replace certain things like tires every other year.

Which maintenance tips should you take the time for this year? One of the first things you can do is replace your windshield wipers. Your windshield wipers get constant use each winter as you drive through the snow, salt and grime. That same salt that is used to melt the snow on the highways will corrode your windshield wipers, eventually making them useless. No person wants to find themselves cruising down the highway in falling snow with non-working wipers.

You may also want to check your windshield wiper fluid. Because of the salt, snow and grime, you will be using more windshield wiper fluid during the winter months. It is necessary to use it to keep your windshield clean. It is very likely you will go through double the amount of fluid during winter and you will want to keep extra washer fluid on hand.

Another very important tip for cold weather conditions that can keep your vehicle out of the car repair shop is checking the brakes. Take a minute to check your brakes yourself or make a quick appointment with your local mechanic to have your brakes checked. If your brakes are fine, you will rest assured knowing that you and your family is safe on the road. If your brakes need a little updating, it could save you money by catching them early.

Your Clutch Is Going! Don't Ignore These Car Repair Warning Signs!

Here is how you know something is wrong and you need car repair: you let out the clutch and the car just revs, accompanied by a burning smell that makes you think your car's about to give up the ghost. This happens more and more until one day, your vehicle will be nothing more than a driveway decoration -- unless you get it fixed.

What this means is that your clutch is going. You need some car repair action fast. It's not a major problem, but it's a common one that strikes fear into the hearts of drivers.

What Happens If You Don't Get It Fixed

There's still some juice in it and it works most of the time, so why not just let it go? If you're not too bothered by having to try a couple times to get into first gear, here's what you should do: get a good auto repair club membership quickly or find some good tow services. You're going to need them when your clutch totally gives out and you're coasting to the side of the road wondering why you didn't just get it taken care of! In other words, let's take it into the car repair shop.

Clutch Replacement

Although you can do your own clutch replacement, if you're not experience with it you might want to take it to a car repair specialist. Otherwise, your vehicle may be out of commission for a while as you figure it out. Unfortunately, replacement can put a pretty good dent into your paycheck. You can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000. Because it's expensive, make sure they replace everything, including the plates and bearings. It's a pretty big chunk of change, but it will keep you on the road.

Tips For Making Your Clutch Last Longer

Ouch! After forking cash over for a new clutch, you want to make sure that baby will last as long as your wheels will. If you like that idea, here are a few tips for keeping it happy and healthy while you're driving.

- Don't let your foot rest on your clutch pedal while driving. It's an easy bad habit to get into, but it puts unnecessary pressure on it. Make sure your foot's not leaning on that pedal while you drive!

- Make sure you're not in gear at stops. When you're waiting for the light to change or stopped anywhere at all, make sure you haven't left your vehicle in gear, because this will put wear and tear on the clutch that it doesn't need.

- Before a long trip, have a mechanic look at your clutch to make sure it's alright. Sometimes, there are maintenance issues that you won't know about, like things might need to be cleaned or replaced. Keeping it in good shape will make it last longer.

Manual transmission vehicles can take lots more miles and abuse than their automatic transmission cousins. You've just got to keep an eye on your clutch and this will let you avoid major car repair issues in the future.

Brake Repair - How To Find A Good Shop For Repairs

Your brakes need to be serviced when they have a problem. It is very important that you listen to the sound they make from time to time. If they are noisy, than you may need to take your vehicle to a mechanic. If your pads are worn out, the brakes are probably very noisy, so the pads will need to be replaced. If you wait too long, you may damage your rotors. Brake pads wear out after a while, and that's perfectly normal. The brake pads keep the braking system functioning properly.

You should ask a mechanic to inspect your brake system and let you know what the problem is. If you have a problem with the system, your mechanic can also provide you with an estimate for what the repairs and parts will cost you. Your mechanic may give you a print out that lists what the costs will be. A mechanic can also check your braking fluid and the cables in the system. Most auto repair centers have affordable prices when it comes to brakes, so if it's outside of your area of expertise, you should take your car to a professional.

Your brakes also need to be inspected twice a year because eventually, you will need to replace your rotors. The rotors get worn out after a while. You may hear a loud noise or a high pitch noise when the rotors need to be replaced. Keep in mind that one brake pad usually costs about 10 dollars or less, but you should always purchase a pair of brake pads. Together, brake pads and rotors will cost you less than $99.

You can find a good auto service center or brake repair mechanic by looking in the phone book, online directories, or talking to people you know. Make sure the mechanic you choose offers brake repair service and make sure he is certified. You can find out how good an auto service center is by checking the Better Business Bureau website.

Make sure the auto repair shop offers a warranty on their work if you want to have peace of mind. If you have a warranty and your brakes fail on you, the auto shop will fix the problem for you for free. If the auto repair shop offers a warranty, find out how long it's good for. Some auto repair shops offer 6 month warranties and other places offer 90 day and 30 day warranties. You should also find out if the warranty covers labor and parts.

When you find a good auto repair shop, find out what their hours are and find out how long it will take for the brake repair job to get done. You should also get a full explanation of what's going to be done to your car. Unexpected work may sometimes be necessary, but only consent to its performance if you trust the mechanic's diagnosis.

You should never choose an auto repair shop based on their prices. The best auto repair shops may charge higher prices, but they will do quality work and give you the best service. If you follow these tips, you will find a good maintenance garage and you will be driving comfortably for many years.