Category: Repairs

Clean Contaminated Brake Pads

Contamination is caused by dust getting between the brake pads and brake discs with normal everyday driving. As the dust builds up it scratches the face of the brakes and wears away pads to a point where braking is difficult and requires more use of the emergency brake.

When cleaning the brake pads you can gently wipe away any residue that you can see using a soft cloth. Apply copper slip to the components to seal the damage. Copper slip is used in mechanisms and machines on static parts that should not move. Moving parts include bearings where lubrication is required. Copper slip also helps to prevent the squealing sound when you apply the brakes. It also helps to prevent a seizure. This can damage the system badly causing you to have irreparable brakes and discs.

Once you have applied the copper slip on both parts you should test it to see if your handy work helped. You can drive the car and slow down until you feel it braking hard. It is suggested that you wait for some white smoke to come from the brakes. This means that the excess has been removed thus you no longer have contaminated brakes and you can drive safely.

You don’t have to remove any components in order to apply the copper slip as this would require professional help and tools. It isn’t a necessary step as the copper is there to prevent oxidation.


Safely Drive a Car in Snow

Thoroughly Clear Off Windows and Windshields BEFORE Driving

It is vital to clear off all snow and ice from a vehicle’s windows and windshields. If a driver cannot see properly, there is no chance they can see and steer on an icy road. It is recommended to start your car a few minutes before you intend to drive it, to allow the defrosters to kick it. This will make it easier for the ice and snow to scrape and wipe off. Also be sure your windshield wipers are clear of ice and are still functional. You may need to buy new windshield wipers in the winter for better window clearing in snowy weather.

Always Drive Slower Than the Speed Limit

Even though the sign says 40 mile per hour, anyone who attempt these speeds in snow or on ice can be sure to lose control of their vehicle at some point. Accelerated speeds will cause the tires to lose traction on the road, sending a vehicle in a sliding motion, and possibly spinning out of control. This is a highly dangerous circumstance that can easily result in severe injury or death if the car strikes a tree or post. Subtract, at the very least, ten to fifteen miles from a speed limit sign when driving in harsh weather conditions, including freezing rain, snow, and ice.

Pumping the Brakes

If you are driving along the road and attempt to stop at a red light, only to discover that you have lost traction and the car is starting to slide; just pump the brakes, lightly and evenly, until control is regained and the vehicle is stopped. This does not work at high speeds, which is why speeding in snow and ice is so dangerous. Drive slowly, and pump the brakes to regain traction in your tires.

Vehicle Maintenance and Care

Be sure your car is well-maintained and in good condition before taking it out on dangerous and icy roads. You so not want to be stranded in a snow storm because your tires pop or your engine fails. It is highly suggested to get your tires balanced and rotated for the winter; as well as, your oil changed, filters replaced, and more. This way you know you can rely on your ride to get you from one destination to another, safely.


When Car Brakes Need Work

Pay Special Attention to the Brakes

One of the most important components to keep in a safe and functional condition is the braking system. This system requires special attention in order to keep you safe on the road and protect your investment. If you neglect your car brakes, not only can it cause extra damage to your vehicle, it can lead to your car being a total loss. That is because, in many cases, when an entire braking system needs replaced, the cost can exceed the total value of the vehicle. In this situation, a person’s best bet is to sell their totaled car to a junk car buyer, purchase another vehicle, and then stay dedicated to a routine brake maintenance agenda to avoid vehicular damage.

As soon as you start to notice signs of brake problems, bring your car into a professional automotive body shop for an inspection before the problem can cause overall car damage. Don’t know the signs that suggest your car brakes need some work? Continue reading to learn the most common ones to keep an eye out for while you drive!

Repair or Replacement?

To understand how to identify or look out for brake problems in your vehicle, first it is helpful to understand the basic components of a car brake system. There are four general parts: the hydraulic clamp, brake fluid line, brake pads, and brake rotors. Some may argue that brake pads and rotors are actually part of the wheel, but in this case, we will still include them because they can influence the need for brake repair. In most cases, the brake lines and hydraulic clamp will not experience much wear and tear; they are built to last a long time. On the other hand, brake pads and rotors are susceptible to wear and tear at all times and will need replacing every few thousand miles or so.

They are exposed to deterioration every time you drive because the pad presses against the smooth metal rotor every time the brake is applied. Over time, this pad is worn down and will make a recognizable noise to warn you that they are low. Brake pads squeal or hiss when they get low. The noise is actually the result of the bare pad scraping against the metal rotor (the metal disk that spins on the wheel) and causing friction between them. It can start out as a faint squeak, and turn into a high-pitched squeal if neglected. If you hear grinding then the pad is most likely worn completely thin and is grinding against the rotor. This can really damage the brake rotors. The thickness of the brake padding, the amount of driving you do, and the way you drive all influence the amount of times you will need to replace them.

Selling a Junk Car for Cash

If you discover that your car brakes are shot and need to be replaced, but the cost exceeds the total value if your vehicle, you can still make it profitable by selling it to a junk car buyer. Choose a company that has premium electronic scales that can accurately assess the value of your junk car. Then use the cash toward another vehicle!


Avoid Expensive Auto Repairs

Follow the maintenance schedule as outlined in the owner’s manual.

The manufacturer of your car includes a maintenance schedule that is to direct you on how and when to touch up your car for maintenance purposes. This schedule is your best guide as it comes from someone who understands the car properly, and all its components and the needs of every one of them.

Fix problems soon enough

Pay attention to your car so that you can detect when something is amiss. And if at all you detect something wrong, get it checked out immediately. If you allow little problems to exist without getting fixed, they will escalate into something much bigger that will not only be expensive to fix but dangerous to your safety as well.

Change fluids, filters and spark plugs as recommended by the manufacturer

You might think you are saving some money by not changing these as recommended, but waiting longer than the time the manufacturer has stipulated only serves to damage your vehicle. So that in the long run you end up spending more money in getting your car repaired.

Inflate tires properly

Tires that contain too little air or too much of it are dangerous not just to your car, but your safety as well. This is because such tires are prone to excessive wear and tear which can result into a blow-out.

Synthetic oil

Consider upgrading your motor oil to a high-performance synthetic oil which will not only prevent certain problems associated with common motor oil, but improve your car’s performance as well.

Unusual noises

Unusual noises on your car might be an indication that something is wrong, and for this reason you should check the owner’s manual to ascertain what is usual and what is unusual. If the unusual noises persist, take your car to an auto repair shop where the repair professionals can check to see what is amiss.

Drive carefully

Avoid expensive auto repairs by driving your car carefully, so that you can minimize the chances of wrecking your vehicle, which would definitely necessitate extensive repairs. If someone borrows your car, make sure they are careful drivers and remind them to handle your vehicle well. This is especially important if you are lending your car to someone who has just started to drive.

Know what you can handle and what you cannot

If your car needs some repairs, do them only if you are sure you can adequately deal with them. Otherwise, let the auto repair shop deal with auto repair problems that are beyond your scope. Tinkering with your car when you are not sure about what needs to be done is only going to worsen the problem, and lead to expensive auto repairs.


Fixing Windshield Cracks

If you are going to use the kit these are the steps that will need to be taken.

  • The first step is to remove any loose debris in the crack and any glass. You can use a razor blade to scrape out the crack gently to make sure noting remains inside.
  • Wash your windshield to remove any leftover loose particles and shards of glass
  • After reading the instructions that came with the kit because each kit differs slightly. The main tool has suction cups, which are put over the windshield crack but make sure that you can still see the crack through the center of the tool.
  • Once you have the tool firmly in position apply resin into the center of the hole. The kit may contain an extra tool that will properly apply the resin and remove any air bubbles that appear after applying.
  • After filling in the crack it needs to completely dry. Do not remove the tool. You can let your car sit in a dry warm area to help harden the resin. The resin will be a clear thick mass after it has hardened that will stay firmly stuck in the windshield crack.
  • Once it has hardened you can remove the tool
  • Check the crack to see if you need to repeat the treatment. If it is a deep crack, you may need to do it again.
  • Once you are satisfied with the repair of the windshield cracks you should take a soft dry cloth and polish the area so the resin solution will match the glass around it as much as it can. If you were fixing a small crack it could become almost unrecognizable and appear new to the naked eye but if it is a large crack it could look slightly warped in the area where it was fixed.


How Much Should Inflate Tires

Short and simple, it is the amount of air, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) that fills a vehicle’s tires. The right amount of pressure in car tires is important for safety. Tires are a key safety factor in all vehicles, second in importance only to car’s brakes.

Correct tire pressure manages stability, braking and the capacity to take corners safely – all critical aspects of driving safety. On top of this, correct air pressure affects comfort while driving, the lifespan of the tire, as well as fuel economy.

When the pressure is too high, less surface area on the tire touches the ground and the car may bounce on the road. This impacts traction and the ability to stop quickly. All that bouncing also makes the ride more uncomfortable.

On the other side of the spectrum, when tire pressure is too low, more of the tire’s surface area touches the ground than necessary. This generates friction and can cause tire to wear much earlier than normal. They may also overheat.

The worst case scenario with over and under-inflated tires is tread separation. That is when the tire tread separates from the tire’s casing or body. Though this is most common with large cargo trucks, it can happen with standard vehicles as well and often leads to accidents.

Filling vehicle’s tires to the recommended pressure and checking them monthly is important. The recommended pressure is set by the car’s manufacturer and takes into consideration safety, comfort, and wear and tear on the tires.

“Experts agree that keeping the correct air pressure in your tires is as important as giving your engine a tune-up. In fact, the economic benefits may be even greater. With the right amount of air pressure, your tires wear longer, save fuel, enhance handling, and prevent accidents.” – Discount Tire

Find and seek

Finding the recommended pressure for your vehicle can feel like a game of hide and seek. When looking to check and fill their tires, most people locate the number listed on the sidewall of their vehicle’s tire quite quickly. However, that figure is the maximum PSI, not the recommended inflation amount.

The maximum PSI is the very maximum amount of air a car’s tire can hold. That is not necessarily what is best for your car’s tires, or your car.

Recommended PSI

Car manufacturers establish the recommended PSI for vehicle’s tires. The recommended inflation amount is determined by the load the vehicle is meant to carry and the tire size.

Unfortunately, no international organization oversees the standardization of vehicle tires. With no mandated or regulatory requirements in this area, it has fallen on the shoulders of the world’s largest tire organizations to set standards voluntarily. All vehicle and tire manufacturers use these numbers. The recommended tire inflation pressure for most vehicles is 32 psi to 35 psi when cold, which means the car hasn’t been driven in a few hours.

Filling your tires

When filling your tires, remember that the recommended PSI for your vehicle is very likely lower than the maximum pressure listed on your tire. The owner’s manual of your car is the best place to look for the recommended PSI for your car’s tires. If it isn’t in the owner’s manual, check for the tire placard in the glove compartment door, inside of the gas door, or on the inside of the driver’s door.


Preparing Car for Winter

Take your auto in for a tune up before the first snow fall. Having the peace of mind of a well maintained vehicle all year is an excellent idea, but it’s particularly essential during the winter when driving conditions are impaired.

Ensure you have the right oil for your vehicle. In general, thinner oil like 5W30 works better in cold winter conditions than 10W30 or 10W40, which are thicker. Thinner oils circulate easier, which makes lubrication of your engine easier in cold temperatures. To find the right oil for your specific vehicle, check your owner’s manual.

Keep your gas tank full. A full gas tank lowers the chances of running out of gas and being stranded. In addition, it brings down the possibility that your gas lines will freeze up because of condensation or water vapor buildup in extremely icy climates.

Ensure your battery is in great condition. Being stuck in remote areas and being unable to start your car is dangerous. Check that your battery’s connections are corrosion free and for batteries older than 3 years, consider testing its capacity to hold a charge.

Ensure you keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. A well thought out kit can be a lifeline in the event that you are stranded in the middle of nowhere, or on a highway. A high-quality winter kit for your car should include:
No less than one warm blanket.
A flashlight.
A shovel, in case you need to dig out of deep snow.
Additional warm garments, including boots, gloves and caps.
A well stocked first aid kit.
A bag of salt or sand to give you extra traction if you get stuck.
Food and drinking water. Foods with high sugar content are excellent choices.
Jumper cables.
A flare.
Spare windshield wipers.
Extra windshield washer fluid.

Test your tire pressure. Because of the colder air, your tire pressure tends to drop a small amount in the winter. Keeping your tires at the maker’s prescribed pressure makes your vehicle simpler to handle, making you more secure on the road and will even improve fuel economy which will save you money!

Check that your anti-freeze mixture is correct. Your coolant should have a 50-50 mix of anti-freeze and water. If you’re uncertain, you can purchase a reasonably priced anti-freeze analyzer at most automotive part stores. Keep your anti-freeze levels above 50% to prevent leaving your engine susceptible to freezing up.

Think about snow tires. If you tend to get heavy snowfall in your area, it might be worth getting snow tires for your vehicle throughout the winter months. The deeper grooves on snow tires provide substantially more traction on snow covered surfaces, which makes them able to stop your vehicle up to 40% more rapidly than all season tires. As well, snow tires are constructed with a specific type of rubber which lets them to preserve their flexibility even in coldest winter conditions.

Consider replacing your windshield wipers if they are not in good condition. Defective windshield wipers can essentially debilitate your capacity to see in wet and icy climate conditions. If your windshield wipers are not making good contact with the windshield and are not clearing it properly, they should be replaced.

Check your brakes. On the off chance that it’s been over six months since your last brake check, have them checked again before the winter driving season. With the dangerous conditions that winter brings, having the capacity to stop quickly is much more critical than in warmer climates.


Car Noises

Because vehicles are composed of many different complex systems, they have the potential to make a wide range of sounds… “clicks”, “ticks”, “pings”, “bangs” and “pops”… to describe a few. Some are more serious than others. There are a few questions to ask oneself in this situation; where do I hear the noise? What sound is it making? Does it continue when you stop driving? Does it occur during braking or acceleration? Does it happen then the vehicle is motionless? These are good starting points which can point to certain issues – or at least help you to identify which system is in need of a repair.

Exhaust sounds. In most vehicles, the engine is located in the front of the car but the engine’s exhaust travels the length of the vehicle so anywhere along that system, noises can be created through defect or vibration. The further back you hear the noise, the less serious the problem is said to be. So with today’s front-wheel drive vehicles, any noise from the driver’s door to the back of the car (while the car is motionless) would not hinder you from driving to a service station, or home for that matter. Second, if it were an exhaust issue, you would expect to hear low-pitched or high-pitched sounds if the exhaust has a hole or crack leaking exhaust somewhere throughout the system. There may also be a bit of a thump at the same time in a repetitive pulse (due to the opening and closing of the exhaust valves in the engine). If you looked under the car where the leak was emanating from it would be more pronounced. You can drive home, but get it fixed. Leaky exhausts only get worse and believe it or not, can diminish your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and performance, depending on the location of the leak.

Engine sounds. Maybe you’re hearing sounds related to engine issues? A popping sound coming from your car’s tailpipe is a signal that something isn’t exactly right with the engine. It could mean a dirty air filter, dirty or worn spark plugs, bad spark wires, an ignition problem, a clogged fuel filter, water in your gasoline, a bad accelerator pump or power circuit in your carburetor or a clogged catalytic converter. Similarly, if you hear a rattling noise when sitting at a stop sign or stop light that sounds a lot like a box of rocks shaking, then that is another good sign that your catalytic convertor is bad. Also, a popping sound coming from under the hood or the engine could also mean your vehicle could benefit from a tune-up or a sensor might not be working properly. Get to a service station and do not ignore this. Allowing your engine to burn fuel improperly over a long period can cause damage to your engine’s components which can lead to significant repair costs.

Braking noises. Brakes are the most important safety feature on your vehicle, so ignoring any sounds that occur when you’re braking could put everyone in danger. When you have brake issues, you’ll usually hear screeching, squealing or squeaking noises. Do you hear a “clunking” noise? This could signal problems with worn steering system components, the disc brake caliper is not mounted properly or brake hardware is damaged or missing. A squealing noise when braking could mean several things; dirt on the brake rotors, drums, pads, and/or shoes, brake pads and/or shoes are worn, brake pads were overheated and are now glazed, disc brake calipers were mounted incorrectly or have come loose or wear indicator on the pads are contacting the rotor. You may have to install new brake pads, and resurfacing or replacing the brake rotors if necessary, will help ensure you’ll be able to stop safely and quietly without causing further damage to your vehicle.

Squealing noises can also signal other issues, not just brakes. For example, engine belts are considered a “wear item”. This is because they are attached to moving components such as pulleys and suffer a fair amount of friction over time. They also dry out and crack under heavy use or being left to the elements, particularly in dry states like Arizona. The serpentine belt, a drive belt that transfers power produced by the engine’s revolutions to multiple accessories like the air conditioning, power steering and alternator could also be signaling for help. After you drive over time, this serpentine belt can simply wear down and start to slip which causes this obvious squealing sound.

You may also hear noises like pinging or knocking. Although rare, they are not impossible and this usually means an issue with your ignition or fuel system. It could be as simple as the quality of fuel you pumped in the tank which could contain water or an engine in need of a tune-up which is sometimes referred to as “pre-ignition”. To deal with this issue, experts recommend that you not only start filling your tank somewhere else with better quality gasoline, but if the problem persists to get a tune-up (new spark plugs, air filters, etc.) and run a fuel injection cleaner fuel additive through your engine.

Hear more of a gurgling noise? It is one of the stranger sounds, we agree! The majority of the time, your cooling system isn’t doing it’s job. Boiling coolant can be heard from the coolant reservoir and even through the hoses so let your engine cool and check your reservoirs level indicator which will indicate if you need coolant.

When you’re hearing noises is important too. If you only hear the noises while the vehicle is in motion, then you could be dealing with suspension or steering abnormalities (clunks, banks and pops) or possibly drive train issues such as bearings (grinding and vibration). Again, as mentioned above, brakes will make lots of noises when they’re going bad or failing.


Safely Drive Through a Tire Blowout

Prevention

A tire blowout is a special kind of flat tire. The side wall has ruptured, leaving a huge tear in your tire that cannot be repaired. While many believe that a blown-out tire is caused in part by over inflation, the true culprit is actually the opposite: tires that are underinflated. It’s not the rubber and steel that makes a tire able to carry the weight of a car and its passengers. It is the air. Without enough air, the components inside the tires flex and heat until it all snaps and a blowout occurs. If the car is carrying a heavy load, then the likelihood of a blowout is compounded. This is why it’s important to regularly check tire pressure. The proper pressure for a car’s tires is listed in the driver’s side door jamb.

Another common way to get a flat tire is by driving on very worn, very old tires. After a while the rubber starts to thin, and a blowout becomes more likely. To see if your tires are too worn, use the penny test. Stick the edge of a penny into your tire’s tread so that Abe Lincoln’s head is hidden by the tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then your tires are too worn to drive on. However, if you cannot afford to replace the tire, then try rubbing it with vegetable oil. The oil will moisturize the rubber, allowing it to be more flexible and decrease the chances of a blowout.

What to Do During a Blowout

When your tire blows out, what you absolutely must not do is apply the brake. Because one of your tires is now effectively useless, the brake will be applied unevenly, causing your vehicle to veer. If you’re driving a van or SUV, then it’s quite possible to flip your car by braking during a blowout.

Instead, you need to press on the accelerator after a blowout. This may seem counterintuitive, but when a tire blows out, your car’s speed may suddenly drop due to the drag caused by the flat tire. You must step on the gas for only a moment, so that any cars behind you won’t be surprised by your sudden drop in speed and ram into you.

After you have quickly pressed on the gas, you’ll notice that your car will want to veer in the direction of the blowout. Keep your car steady, let it lose speed gradually, and only when you are going slower than 30 miles per hour should you steer the vehicle to the side of the road.

What to Do After a Blowout

Once you have successfully steered your car to the side of the road, you can start thinking about what steps you need to take next. You should always have a spare tire on hand. Now is the time to change out the flat and continue to the nearest service station. However, you need to make sure there is enough room around your car to freely work in.

Don’t try changing the tire if doing so will put you on the road, and in a dangerous situation from oncoming traffic. If you don’t have enough room to change the tire, or if you don’t have a spare, you need to call a tow truck. Depending on where you are, you may decide to have the truck drop off your car at home or at the nearest mechanic.

A blowout is likely to happen at least once in a person’s life. The important thing to do, above all else, is to remain calm. A blowout is usually accompanied by a loud bang. Don’t let this unnerve you. Follow the correct safety procedures and you’ll be on the road again in no time.


Gear Issues on an Automatic Car

Sometimes your car will leak fluid from the transmission. This might be one of the serious problems because if it doesn’t get sorted out you could have a problem shifting gears. Irregular shifting could destroy the gearbox because the incorrect gear could be engaged during the wrong speed. For example, if you are driving fast on a highway and your car changes to the first gear, you could break the teeth because it cannot handle that speed. The first gear is always bigger in diameter because of the force required to do the initial movement.

The transmission can also experience oil leakage. This fluid looks red. It comes from the filler tube base that is located between the engine and transmission, the drain hole, the selector shaft, or the radiator. No oil leakage is good as it means that there is a hole somewhere allowing air to move into the car. Oil is also the source of lubrication inside the engine and keeps the mechanisms cool.

The filter could get clogged at any time. The filter inside the car keeps the oil clean keeping any dust or particles out of the engine. Oil supplies the car with lubrication so that there is no friction. Friction is what causes overheating and worn out parts. If you are experiencing delayed shifting and oil leaking it is likely that the filter has been clogged. This filter also keeps the dust away from the gearbox whilst it shifts. If you experience delayed shifting it could mean that there is something blocking the system from making smooth motions.

Shifting gears incorrectly can be easily felt. It often sounds like the engine is groaning if it has gone up one gear too many. This will lead to a slow pulling motion which will not allow the car to move faster until it regains its speed again.