Category Archives: Car Care Tips

Safety Tip: Replace Wiper Blades

Old wipers can become a real headache when they are used. They make all sorts of sounds like screeching, chattering and scratching; these ineffective and noisy wiper blades are of no use in the rainy season thus putting the commuters at risk of an accident.  It is better if such wiper blades are replaced by new ones as it takes only a few minutes and the instructions are listed on the box.

Stop the wiper to the most convenient position by the help of the ignition key. Using the on-off wiper switch is not recommended as it stops the wiper in their parked location. Search for a rubber replacement to avoid purchasing the complete blade and holder. If the rest of the parts are fine then they can easily be installed and trouble-free wiping can be restored.

The average life expectancy of wiper blades is not more than 6 to 12 months. So replacing them within this time duration is for the better and good enough reason to do it yourself.

A/C Refrigerant Facts

Everyone cherishes the air conditioner especially the one in the car which keeps you cool and comfy in high temperatures but just because you cherish it does not mean it will go on forever. Air conditioners demand maintenance to function properly otherwise you will just end up with hot air flowing from the vents.

Air conditioners have seen quite a change in the past years. The R-12 refrigerant has now been replaced with the R-134A which is considered more environment-friendly. The R-134A has been the standard since 1994.

If you have an old vehicle with a completely inoperative air conditioning system, the repair may cost around a few hundred dollars. The repair usually requires a refrigerant fill up accompanied with addition of oil in the compressor and other older parts. Do not try to mix the refrigerants as they are not interchangeable, adding R-134a to old AC without flushing the system would prove useless. Make sure there are no leaks in the system; the refrigerants can easily damage the ozone.

Check the air conditioning system annually to help avert breakdowns. There are many workshops that offer AC inspections during summers but you always have the option of asking a service centre to check your air conditioning system before the arrival of hot weather.

Timing Belt : Timing is Critical

With automotive engines as with many aspects of daily life, timing is critical. One vehicle component often overlooked during routine maintenance is the engine timing belt. If it fails, the engine will stop and the car will coast to a stop. The lucky motorist will only have the inconvenience of being stranded on the side of the road until the car can be towed to a repair facility to have the timing belt replaced. On the other hand, the engine might suffer severe, if not catastrophic, damage to its internal components. This potential disaster can be avoided easily and relatively inexpensively by replacing the timing belt within the required replacement interval.

Timing belts resemble an engine accessory serpentine belt in appearance, only they typically have square teeth on the inside surface. They usually are constructed of rubber reinforced with nylon. The timing belt transfers the rotation of the crankshaft to the camshaft. The rotating camshaft activates the valves, which provide air and fuel to the cylinders and expel combustion gases to the exhaust system.

The valves and pistons are constantly moving up and down at very high speeds. When the pistons are down, the valves are open; when the piston is at the top of its travel, the valves are closed. Some engines don`t allow clearance between a valve at its lowest point and a piston at its highest. The timing belt, therefore, is the critical link to ensure that these components don`t collide. If a collision occurs, damage to the valves, pistons, cylinder head and cylinder walls can result. This can be an expensive repair.
Timing belts usually are protected from foreign objects by a cover, making visual inspection impossible.

Many domestic vehicles built within the last several years and the majority of imports are equipped with a timing belt. Other engines rely on a timing chain rather than a belt. Refer to your owner`s manual or take your car to a repair facility if you are unsure. The owner`s manual maintenance schedule is a source of timing belt replacement intervals, typically every 60,000 to 90,000 miles.

Timing belt replacement usually requires removal of the engine drive belt that operates the alternator, water pump, power steering pump and air conditioner. Consider replacing this belt, or multiple belts, when having a new timing belt installed.

Buying The Right Battery

The main component of a car which is responsible for all starting troubles is the car battery. A weak or dead battery causes various problems with the car and will make travelling difficult or totally impossible.

It just so happens sometimes those batteries die out after the end of their useful time. But even a new or good condition battery gives an only half output when the temperature drops to zero.

When buying your car battery always bear in mind that it is rated by cold cranking amps (CCA), it highlights the battery’s reserve capacity (RC) and power. The RC and power indicate how long your car accessories can run and still have the power to start the car.

Buying a battery with a higher CCA rating will benefit the car owner as cars require more energy in cold weather to start. Read the owner’s manual of your car and find the battery needed for your car. Remember, purchasing a battery with an excessive CCA might prove to be a waste of precious money.

While selecting your battery, buy one with more RC as it can be helpful in every situation. The size and number of plates in the battery specifies how many amps it can produce. A battery with large or more plates has increased life. RC differentiates three-year warranty from five-year warranty batteries.

Battery makers build their products to an internationally adopted Battery Council International (BCI) group number based on the physical dimensions, terminal placement (where you attach the cables to the battery) and terminal polarity. BCI and the battery producers offer application guidelines that contain the OEM cranking amperage requirements and group number replacement suggestions by make, model and year of automobile and battery size, CCA and RC specifications.

Car Interior Cleaning

Keeping a neat and tidy car reflects the personality of an individual. Interior cleaning of the car when done at proper intervals gives it an impressive look. This article discusses some helpful tips regarding interior car cleaning.

Vacuuming

Vacuum the seats and carpets after removing the floor mats. Then, start vacuuming under the seats, near the pedals, front seats and central console. The floor mats are to be vacuumed separately.

Use a brush implement to do the dashboard and doors. Do not damage the knob vents or sticking parts. Leather seats are quite easily damaged. So be careful when vacuuming.

Cleaning fabric seats and door upholstery

Use a good cleaning agent while cleaning seats and door upholstery. The operation is simple just spray on the targeted area and rub robustly. Then, wipe it properly with a dry cloth.

Laundry detergent may also work fine if the cleaning agent is not available. Mix detergent with some warm water and submerge a clean cloth into it, then wipe the seat after getting rid of the extraneous water. Rub harder on dirty areas and then use a soft and dry cloth to dry it. Never saturate the seat with water as it causes stains and mould smells.

Cleaning the carpet

Clean the carpet the same way you cleaned the seats and upholstery. Spray the carpet cleaner and rub forcefully; wipe it with dry cloth when done. Again, if the carpet cleaner is unavailable the laundry detergent will work fine. Don’t soak the carpet in water.

Cleaning and polishing the dashboard

Use a slightly damp cloth to clean the dashboard, central console and other parts. Remove stains by the help of a little laundry detergent. You should spray plastic polish to make the interior shiny. Polish protects the plastic from wear while also making it glisten beautifully. Simply rub with a dry cloth periodically to keep it that way.

How to get rid of the musty smell from the air conditioner

If you experience strange musty smells from the air conditioner then buy an odour treatment from any local shops. It kills the bacteria and removes the mildew smell. Clogged air conditioner drain tube and accumulation of leaves and other debris under the cowl cover also may cause damp mildew smell. Ask the mechanic to check it when you do your next oil change.

Car Battery Trouble and the Hot Weather

Majority of the people feel that it is a cold season that damages and shortens battery life while actually, it is the heat which causes major battery problems. Heat makes battery fluid vaporize, causing damage to the structure of the battery.

Overcharging also badly affects battery life; this is usually because of a flaw in a component of the charging system. Overcharging is actually a slow killer of the battery.

It is, however, true, that there are more people complaining about their batteries in winters than in colder weathers. It is due to the slow electrochemical action that provides the battery with its power. The thickness of the engine oil also increases, which makes the engine harder to turn over. All these factors combined definitely cause lots of battery and starting trouble.

  • To make your battery last longer, follow these helpful tips;
  • Ensure the charging rate; undercharging and overcharging can drain battery life.
  • Check if battery fluid is topped up especially in hot weather; pour distilled water in the battery when required.
  • When replacing a battery, make sure it is the right specifications.
  • The battery should be kept superficially clean, do not allow corrosion or dirt to accumulate on the battery terminals and surface, it inhibits current flow.

Engine Maintenance Tips

Before reading the contents of this article, you must be notified that this article is written for learning purposes only. Please do not perform the task mentioned below if you have no idea about the following procedures. Take your car to a professional mechanic or repair shop for proper check up and maintenance.

Everything in this universe is meant for a short period of time and cars are no exception to this rule. There are cars which can go a hundred thousand miles without any trouble while there are others which start giving problems from the start.

There are several reasons why cars start producing trouble. It may be because of accidents, factory defects, design faults or because of driving styles. Rusting and corrosion can also cause a variety of problems. A car parked in a humid area for a few months compared with a car driven in the same weather will give more trouble. Still, lack of maintenance is the common cause of why cars breakdown.

Low engine oil level and bad quality oil can badly affect the running life of a car. Even if it has only been driven for relatively low distance, it may require serious repairs. Comparatively, if an engine is well maintained, it will go over 150,000 miles without any trouble and needing no repair at all.

The remedy for the problem

There is a simple solution to this problem and it is not something new.

Try to regularly change your car’s engine oil and if possible do it before the manufacturer’s schedule. It will prolong your engine life. Secondly, refrain from overheating the engine and make necessary changes like spark plugs, timing belt and other items before time. And finally, make ‘a stitch in time to save nine’, solve any minor problem before it converts into a disastrous, persistent and costly major problem.

Consumers Can Avoid Problems by Watching for Warning Signs

When it comes to your car`s safety, brakes top the list of systems that need monitoring. However, many people are unaware of the signs that indicate a car`s brakes may need maintenance or repair.

For routine maintenance, it`s important to check the vehicle`s breaking system at least once a year. A thorough inspection should include brake lining wear, brake fluid level, rotor thickness, condition of hoses and brake lines, brake and dash warning lights, as well as taking the car for a test drive to detect other potential brake system problems.

It is important to be alert and recognize the danger signs of brake problems. Other warning signs include an illuminated brake warning light, brake grabbing, low pedal feel, vibration, hard pedal feel and squealing.

Sometimes it`s only a few miles between a soft brake pedal and a pedal that goes clear to the floor, but consumers easily can protect themselves from brake failure by watching and listening for a few simple clues.

Noise is one of the leading indicators that something is awry with brakes. Any out of the ordinary sound is often a sign that brakes have worn to the point they should be checked, watch especially for a grinding noise, and if your brakes typically throw off brake dust on your wheels, look for a sudden increase or decrease in dust. Finding small metal flakes on the wheels is also a sign that brakes should be checked.

If the car pulls left or right when braking, or if the front end shakes, those are both signs of excessive brake wear. If the brake pedal begins to feel spongy, it could be a sign that air has entered the brake system or fluid is low.

A mushy brake pedal, along with a decrease in brake fluid, could also indicate brake wear, check the brake fluid reservoir to make sure it`s topped off. If not, then brake fluid is likely remaining at the wheel to fill the space caused by wear.

Many cars now have ABS (Automatic Braking System) that initiates a rapid-fire pumping sequence to the brakes to keep the car straight during sudden or hard braking. If the ABS light illuminates on your instrument panel, then it`s likely that the wheel sensors have detected the excessive build-up of metal particles from the brake system, most cars are designed to shut down the ABS when excessive particle build-up occurs. A shutdown ABS does not prevent you from stopping, just that the ABS feature isn`t working.
Other tips:

car junction Wheels should be pulled and brakes checked once a year by an ASE- Certified technician. It`s not uncommon to replace brakes after 12,000-15,000 miles. An inspection typically includes the rotors, callipers, drums, pads, pistons and brake lines.

car junction Brake systems should be flushed and brake fluid replaced every two years. Brake fluid absorbs moisture in the system and becomes acidic after two years or 30,000 miles.

car junction Check your owner`s manual or ask your ASE-Certified technician to see what kind of brakes your car has and how they are adjusted. For example, most drum brakes are self-adjusting by backing up or engaging the emergency brake.

car junction Regardless of care, brakes should most likely be replaced every 20,000- 30,000 miles. Of course, how and where someone drives will greatly influence when brakes should be replaced.

Essential Tools to have in your Car

Emergencies and accidents do not occur with a prior warning but there several ways to be prepared for such situations if they ever occur. Carrying a few extra tools in your car can help you cope with any unforeseen circumstances.

You do not need to carry a whole toolbox in your car but it is just a few essential tools that need to be with you while travelling. A few simple tools can help your car get out of sticky situations. Following is a small list of tools that are recommended by Car Junction.

Engine Oil

Keep a litre of oil. It will be helpful if your oil gets dangerously low. Lack of oil in the engine can cause it to cease. You can also utilize the oil to lubricate nuts and screws which can possibly keep your car going longer distances.

Screwdrivers

Choose a high-quality screwdriver, you don’t want the screwdriver to possibly break or scuff up the screws. Keep a Phillips crosshead and flat screwdriver; they fit most screws in a car.

Swiss Army knife

These are very effective and handy multi-tool kits; they have a variety of blades and tools compiled in one mega tool.

Socket Set

Cars only have 2 or 3 main bolt sizes, make sure you carry the specific sizes. There is no need to carry small and large socket sizes which will just waste space.

Metallic tape

It is useful in sealing leaks in hoses, applying a double wrap around the leakage will stop it. It is also helpful in fixing exhaust fumes and disallows dangerous fumes to fill up in the car. Elephant tape might also do the trick, but it is not that reliable.

How to Connect Jumper Cables

Emergency and difficult situations do not always take place with a prior warning. Everything and all procedures should be performed by taking all safety measures into account. Same must be done when changing a tire or connecting jumper cables, these are the most common known emergency protocols.

This particular article deals with the attachment of jumper cables. It is a general problem during the winters or in cold weathers that car batteries tend to die down and in order to boost them, we require Jumper cables or a portable battery booster. But when boosting a battery with jumper cables, one must look out for potential accidents; an incorrect connection can critically damage expensive electronic parts.

The steps of connecting Jumper Cables

Attach the positive (+) clamp to the positive terminal of the powerful battery and the other positive clamp to the corresponding terminal of the dead battery.

Next, the negative (-), or ground, terminal on the better battery and, the negative clamp to the engine block, frame or other grounded metal as distant as possible from the battery. You want to avoid sparks in the area of the explosive hydrogen gas that emits from the battery. Do not connect it to the ground terminal (negative).

When via a portable battery booster, the process is quite similar.

Join the positive clamp of the booster cable to the positive clamp of the dead battery. Then attach the negative cable to the engine block or other grounded metal away from the battery.

Car Junction offers a further suggestion: if you are buying jumper cables or a portable battery booster, buy the best quality you can pay for. Look for well-insulated clamps and 8-gauge wire. (Note: the lower the wire gauge number, the heavier the gauge.) Under the heavy electrical load of boost starting, lightweight cables may not be able to carry enough current to start some engines. In fact, they have been known to melt in the user`s hand.

Car Junction proposes that, if your battery’s age is three-years or older and you haven`t had it inspected, it`s an excellent precautionary measure to do so. A battery`s power is reduced as the temperature drops. And that`s when the engines begin to produce the starting problem.