Category: Repairs

Minimizing Auto Repairs

  • Read the manual. Your vehicle manual will tell you things like how often to change the oil, what to watch for in how your engine is running and many other useful facts. Knowing and following them will save you a great deal of aggravation.
  • As soon as your engine light comes on, take it in for a diagnostic check. Taking care of small problems will prevent larger more costly ones.
  • Change the oil, add water, maintain the anti-freeze and keep up with any other liquids that need to be added to the car. This will keep its performance better and minimize risk of damage to other parts of the vehicle.
  • Keep your tires at the correct weight and amount of air. This information will be listed in your owner’s manual. Also, be sure to get them rotated as recommended. Failing to do any of this can result in a blowout.
  • Pay attention when you drive. Watch out for items on the road that can damage the wheels, or kick up into the workings of your vehicle.
  • Get your transmission serviced. Talk to the people who change the oil to find out how often this is recommended for your particular vehicle.
  • If you notice unusual sounds being made by your vehicle while you are driving, or if it seems to be shaking unnecessarily, take it in for a checkup. It’s always best to be told it is nothing to stress over than to ignore the sounds/shaking and find out there was serious problem or repair that could have been prevented.

When you take the time to maintain your vehicles, then you can minimize the time and money spent on auto repair services. To learn additional ways to get more out of your particular vehicle(s) talk to a local auto repair service team today.


UTE Maintenance

Checking your Engine Oil, Transmission Fluid, Power Steering Fluid and Brake Fluid levels

The first thing is to locate your dipstick, in a manual vehicle there is only one, but an auto will also have one for the transmission fluid so be sure the verify which one it is engine oil before filling. (It should say on the top). It is usually colored plastic knob that is formed into a loop or has a rounded top that your finger can fit through to make it easier to pull out.

Use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe the end clean so you can inspect it and tell where the fill and empty lines.

Insert the dipstick back into the engine, then pull it out again. The dipstick will go down into the engine sump and tells you how much oil is there.

You can then read how much oil is there. The ideal oil level is at the full mark. If the oil is above the halfway mark it is safe to leave it as there will be enough oil, but take note of this and check the level again after a few 100km.

If it is below the halfway mark, then add the recommended oil for your engine. (Diesel engine oil has special cleaners added to deal with any carbon build up. Petrol engines have different additives) It is best to add only 200ml at a time and then recheck and add a bit more if needed to ensure you do not overfill the engine (A very slight overfill is generally OK)

If you have your vehicle serviced at the manufactures recommended times and check the oil regularly and suddenly it has fallen it may be because you have gone past the service life of the oil and it is advisable to have it serviced and checked at a mechanic shop

Check the transmission oil in the same way and use the recommended transmission fluid.

The brake reservoir is on top of, or very near, the brake master cylinder, a clear white plastic screw top container with a viewing area so you can check the fluid level and top up if needed.

Cooling System

Check the coolant in the radiator (do not use plain water as an adequate anticorrosive is needed to stop electrolysis.

Check the visual condition of the rubber hoses around the cooling system and squeeze them to ensure the hoses are firm and have not gone soft.

Electrical System

With the assistance of another person who is outside the Ute to monitor the lights check their operation.

Check the indicators, park and brake lights as well as reversing and number plate light. It is also important to ensure your Headlights are working, both full beam and dipped as well as spotlights.

Check that all the instrument lights are working on the dashboard usually these will all light up when you turn on the ignition to the 2nd stage just before it activated the starter motor.

Check the horn and that all power windows operate correctly, it is important they work without the motor running in emergency conditions.

Engine Belts

Check the condition of the drive belts between the engine and Alternator, some vehicles have several belts, driving the air-con, pump the power brake pump, water pump. If your Ute is fitted with a back tray, not a molded body, it may have a hydraulic lift pump connected to the engine or a separate electric hydraulic pump, the fluids and any belts of these need to be checked as well.

Filters; Fuel, Oil and Air

It is important to have a clean air cleaner, especially if you travel in dusty areas. Remove the cleaner and blow compressed air through it to remove any dust. If it is really soiled there are companies that clean them or you can purchase a new one. Many vehicles are now fitted with pollen and dust filters on the air-conditioning system so these also need to be checked and cleaned where necessary

The fuel filter needs to be changed regularly as it can become clogged from contaminants in the fuel and any moisture in your tank, see the manufacturer’s instructions.

The oil filter is best left up to your service center unless you have adequate facilities to collect and deal with the waste oil (this can be very messy).

Windscreen Washer and Wipers

Check the liquid level in the windscreen washer reservoir and top it up if necessary with a good quality windscreen washer solution. Over long dry periods the hot sun, the wiper blades can become brittle, so need to be checked and replaced as needed as well.

Tyres

Your vehicle tyres are very important and maintaining the correct tyre pressure will increase your fuel economy and your Ute will handle and brake better.

Checking the wear of your tyres is a good way to gauge the condition of your Utes suspension. It the tyres are wearing unevenly if probably means you need to have this checked.

Tyre rotation is where you change the tyres by placing the left front tyre on the right rear and the left rear on the right front about every 10,000k will help to extend the life of your tyres.


Different Types of Car Oils

  • Premium Oil
    This is the conventional oil that is available in different levels of viscosity. This type of oil is largely used in light-duty vehicles, and needs to be changed/replaced once in every 4 months, or at least twice a year. It is highly recommended that the oil is changed as soon as the oil-change indicator in the car lights up.
  • Synthetic Oil
    This type of oil is specially formulated for sophisticated engines, such as those found in Mercedes-Benz. They promise a high degree of performance in aspects such as protection against deposits and viscosity index. They are considerably expensive than the conventional oils but are completely worth the money spent on them as they perform well across a wide range of temperatures.
  • Synthetic Blend Oil
    As the name suggests, synthetic blend oil consists of a dash of synthetic mixed with the conventional oil. This type of oil is formulated with the aim to offer protection to vehicles enduring heavy loads and/or working in high temperatures, especially SUVs. Given that the synthetic blend oil doesn’t evaporate as easily, they reduce the loss of oil and increase fuel efficiency. Yet another benefit of this is that it costs much less than fully synthetic.

Now that you have a clear picture regarding the various types of car oils available, you must also understand that changing your car oil will require an oil-filter. Like everything else, even the oil-filter you chose must be based on the recommendation of your car maker. That being said, you must ensure that the filter you pick for your car isn’t oversized, or else make sure that you fill sufficient oil for it to function flawlessly.


Change a Flat Tire by Yourself

Steps to Change a Flat Tire

  • Put your vehicle on a flat surface- Make sure your vehicle is on a flat surface, or lifting the car may result in damage. Turn on the hazard lights.
  • Remove the hubcap and loosen the lug nuts- First remove the hubcaps, if any, and loosen all the lug nuts on the tire, but do not remove them. It is best to use an anti-slip lug wrench, as it will give a firm grip to loosen the nuts.
  • Place the jack underneath your car- Using the owner’s manual, place the jack in the proper location so that it won’t end up in damaging you or the vehicle.
  • Jack up- Lift the vehicle by cranking the handle of the jack. Lift the vehicle until you can easily remove the tire.
  • Remove the nuts- Now remove the loosened nuts and store them safely. Do not lose them, as you need them to attach the spare tire.
  • Remove the flat tire- Hold the tire and pull it towards you by lifting it slightly. Tires may weigh from 20 to 30 pounds or more depending on the vehicle, so be careful while lifting it.
  • Move your spare- Mount the spare on the hub, place the nuts, and tighten them just with your hands – not using wrench.
  • Lower the jack- Lower the car until it is in contact with the ground, and remove the jack.
  • Tighten the lug nuts- Now tighten the lug nuts that you previously tightened with your hands. First tighten one nut, then the nut most opposite it. Repeat this pattern, always moving to tighten the next most opposite nut. Once all the nuts are tightened to some extent, tighten them more securely one-by-one.
  • Repair the flat (or replace it) as soon as possible- You may not know when you will need a spare tire again.

Things to Take Care of When Changing the Flat Tire

  • Wait until you have a flat before you check your spare- Check to make sure you have the proper tools (jack, lug wrench and the spare tire) before traveling.
  • Changing a flat in an unsafe location- Try to move the vehicle off the road, away from the dangers of traffic, before attempting to change a tire.
  • Ignoring safety visible measures- Do not forget to turn on your hazard lights. Also try to keep the doors open, to provide a buffer to keep other vehicles away.
  • Forgetting to block the tire- Jacked up vehicles may move if the other tires are not blocked. Block the other tires using a brick or stone, and apply emergency brakes before jacking up the vehicle.
  • Lifting up without loosening nuts- Attempting to loosen the nuts when the car is raised ends up spinning the wheel, as you have to apply a lot of brute force. Loosening them before lifting is better, as the ground prevents the wheel from spinning.
  • Raising the car without removing the spare- Remove the spare tire from the vehicle before lifting it on the jack. Interacting with a vehicle that is on a jack can be dangerous, and you may lean or pull on the vehicle while trying to remove a spare tire from the trunk.
  • Take a jack for granted- Be careful while handling a car jack. They can result in serious injuries or death, as the weight of a car can be very dangerous.


Taking Care of Car and Brakes

Overall, you should take care of your car as whole, from the outside to the inside. Keep the body of the car clean and dent free. Wash the car as often as you can, vacuum the inside and polish the dashboard and tyres. Be careful where you drive and park to avoid bumps and dents from occurring on your car’s body.

Look after the engine too. Avoid opening the bonnet unnecessarily so that it doesn’t get exposed to too much dust. Check the oil and water to ensure that it remains topped up for the efficient functioning of the vehicle. If you suspect that there is something wrong with the engine don’t be tempted to repair it yourself. Rather let a qualified mechanic check it and repair it for you.

Take care of the wheels and tyres. Make sure that you have the tyres inflated regularly to prevent it from running flat. This also optimises your driving if the tyres are sufficiently inflated. If you notice that he tread is low, then change the tyres. Don’t drive with them for long as this could lead to the car not being able to come to a stop as quickly as it would with new tyres.

Check the brakes often especially when you notice something unusual. If you hear the brakes squeak or whistle, or feel that the brake pedal is spongy, then get it checked. There could be a problem with the brake elements such as the brake discs. Rather be safe than sorry when it comes to this car part.

In general, you should take your car for a service every year or when the set mileage is reached for your particular vehicle. During a service all the parts of your car will be checked to ensure that it is roadworthy and safe to drive. Keep a record of the car’s service so that you build up a good history. This will serve you well when you want to sell the car. It will increase the value of your car, especially if you take good care of it.


Buy a Quality Power Brake Booster

The brake booster starts its job as soon as you hit the pedal to reduce the speed of your vehicle. If you open up this device, you will see two chambers divided by a strong diaphragm. When you hit the gas pedal, the chambers become free of air. What happens is that the system sucks all the air out based on how hard you hit the brakes. The higher the pressure, the higher the amount of air that is sucked out of the chamber.

If you are interested in buying this device for your car, know that they come in two types: hydraulic and vacuum. If you are a beginner and have no idea about which one is good for you, we suggest that you follow the tips given below. They will make it easier for you to choose the best device to meet your needs.

These devices can be seen working in engines that are fueled by diesel and comprise a steering pump. This pump is full of a hydraulic fluid that is put in an accumulator.

As soon as you put pressure on the pedal, air pressure gets released. This process generates a tremendous amount of pressure, which can be as high as 2,000 psi. However, there is a disadvantage of this system. This system cuts down on the horsepower as it makes use of a good deal of electric power to work optimally.

Another type of brake booster is known as the vacuum power brake booster. When you step on the brake pedal, the air inside the diaphragm is forced out. As a result, your vehicle slows down to prevent a possible crash or accident. So, they can be a great choice for your vehicle, especially if you own a large vehicle for commercial purposes.

The biggest benefit of using a vacuum power brake booster is that if the engine of your vehicle stalls, you can still use the brakes. However, in this case, you will have to push with more force. You may want to ensure that your units are tested for vacuum for reliability.

So, these are two types of power brake boosters for a vehicle. If you are going to buy one, make sure you know the type of device your vehicle needs. If you have no idea about it, you can consult an expert. Lastly, if you want to maintain your vehicle, make sure you keep the power brake booster in the best condition.


Diesel Fuel Injectors Work

Fuel injectors are small electrical components that are used to deliver fuel via a spray directly into the intake manifold in front of the intake valve in a diesel engine. Diesel fuel injectors are quite complicated; the injector has a high micron filter on the top inlet side which corresponds to small hypodermic sized holes on the bottom for the atomizing of the diesel fuel. The diesel fuel acts as a lubricating source for the injector’s internal parts. The main source of failure for injectors is water in the fuel. When water in the fuel displaces the lubricating properties the internal parts wear down quickly and the injector as a whole can fail rather quickly.

Injectors are an extremely important engine component. The injector valve opens and closes at the same rpm as the diesel engine. Typical RPM for diesel engines in North America is around 1800. This equates to roughly 140,000 times per hour! In addition to water in the fuel, injectors are subjected to carbon and dirt particles introduced into the unit via a bad air cleaner element. The type of fuel, grade and additives used also has a significant impact on the life expectancy of the fuel injector. The ECM (Engine Control Module) controls the fuel injectors in most electrical diesel engines. The diesel injectors constantly have power when the key is turned on regardless if the engine is turned over. The ECM grounds the injector, completing the circuit and causing the injector nozzle to open. The ECM after receiving information from various control sensors determines the length of time the injectors need to be grounded to inject the exact amount of fuel given the horsepower output demand from the engine.

The process of diesel injectors opening, closing and dispensing the correct amount of fuel happens in milliseconds. Injector cycle firing is on average completed in 1.5 to 5 milliseconds. Diesel fuel injectors come in different shapes and sizes depending on the engine make and model as well as power demand. Automotive injectors are quite a bit smaller than heavy-duty diesel applications and are measured in cubic inches. There are two types of diesel fuel injectors: the first is called throttle body injection where 1-2 injectors are located in the throttle body itself in the diesel engine and supply a metered amount of mist fuel spray into the intake manifold. This delivery system essentially charges the intake and the intake valve draws the fuel into the cylinder of the engine. The second delivery system, known as individual port type fuel injector, is newer and more fuel efficient. Port type of injection is more efficient than a carburetor since it adjusts to air density and altitude and is not reliant on the manifold vacuum.

With throttle spray injection inefficiency comes when the cylinders closest to the injectors having a better mixture than the ones furthest away. With port type of injection this flaw is eliminated by injecting the same amount of fuel to each cylinder in the engine.

Each fuel injector is a little different but they all have 15 main parts including the filter, guide ring, core spring, seat spring, seat, pole piece, stop, solenoid coil, solenoid body, core ring, core, spray tip housing, director and spray tip. The fuel flow is regulated by the ECM by raising a ball off its seat. This allows fuel flow through the seat orifice and then out through a fixed director plate with several holes. The director plate serves to direct the fuel spray pattern. This type of injector has 10 to 15 degree angle spray pattern. The fuel atomization of this type of injector is similar to the disc type injector. Disc and ball type injectors by design and less susceptible to clogging.


Collision Repair

Genuine

Some collision repair services try to use genuine parts in all their restoration work. These pieces are what originally came in the vehicle. Typically, they come in a box with the carmaker’s logo, so you know it is a genuine part.

When it comes to cost, genuine parts are among the most expensive types you can buy for your vehicle. For this reason, it is best to only use these items if they are still under warranty and you don’t have to pay any out of pocket expense.

Despite popular belief, choosing to go with something other than manufacturer parts will not void any remaining warranty. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s “Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act,” it is illegal for any manufacturer to void the warranty solely based on the type of part you choose to use. The act also allows you to have the work completed anywhere, even at home, without voiding the warranty.

Original Equipment Manufacturer

During your collision repair, you may choose to have Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts installed. While not a genuine piece, it is the exact same as what came in your vehicle because it was created by the same company who built the part for the car company. The difference is it doesn’t have the car company’s logo on the box.

Like genuine, OEM can be more expensive than aftermarket. However, it will cost less than genuine. It is a good way to save a little money and get the same part that was originally in your vehicle.

Aftermarket

Aftermarket pieces are quite common. They look and work in the same manner as the originals. The big difference is a company other than the manufacturer builds it. The structure is designed to fit and perform just as well as the original.

In some cases, aftermarket designs outperform their more expensive counterparts. This is because these companies analyze why the products fail in the first place. Once they know what the underlying problem is, they can make theirs without these flaws. In some cases, it may be as simple as the material was not made to last, and the aftermarket builder chooses something a bit more robust.

In the event that the part is not under warranty or your insurance company is not as concerned about what replacement type is used, you may want to settle for an aftermarket product.


Auto Glass Repair

Gone are the days when even a small crack in the windscreen would demand a whole replacement of the windscreen along with leaving a hole in your pockets. However, with the advancement in the modern technologies, not only has it become possible to repair the windscreens with perfection, but the process is cost-effective too.

However, if your windscreen faces a major damage, which can be a considered as a length of more than 3 inches, most of the service providers might advise a replacement. Moreover, along with the extent of damage, the factor that might affect the repair of the glass might also be the location of damage. Damage at particular places might not be able to be repaired or might have chances of spreading rapidly. For the exact repair information, consulting a professional might be the best option.

Unlike the replacement process, which includes the removal of the entire glass and installation of a new one in its place, the repair process includes the curing polishing of the damaged portion. If the crack is small, the repairs are mostly successful along with providing efficient strength and clarity, making the glass as good as new.

In terms of cost-effectiveness, a repair is much cheaper than a full repair, and for small damages, for the same reason, a repair is advisable. However, if the damage is big or there is a chance of re-occurrence of the crack or damage, going for repair would cost you double fold as you would be required to replace the glass anyhow.

However, if you have decided to go for a repair for your damaged windshield or glass, do not wait till the damage actually starts to become an issue. If the minor damage is not treated immediately, it is most probable that the condition will worsen and even might make the repair not possible and you would be forced into going for a replacement and paying much more, even if when you could have had it done for much less money. Moreover, there are several service providers that might provide a mobile service and come up to your home space or office to repair your damaged windscreen, without you, having to take out time from your busy schedule.


Basic Oil Change

When it comes to changing the oil in one’s car, the first thing needed is to consult the owner’s manual to find the type of filter and how many quarts of oil are needed. Other items are a good drain pan, and funnel. These can be purchased at the auto parts store. It’s a good idea to have a basic set of tools. An extra tool that makes oil changes easier, in my opinion, is an oil filter wrench (specialty tool). I use a socket and ratchet set when I change oil. I’ve also known people who would use an adjustable wrench. I don’t consider this a good idea because you can slip off of the drain plug and damage the flats.

At the auto parts store, you can look up the type of filter required for your car. I would recommend buying the oil in a five quart container so you can pour your used oil into it after the new oil is poured into your car’s engine.

Once you’ve got your supplies and tools, it’s time to get under the car. You might not fit and you’ll have to jack the car up. One other good investment would be ramps. I always save a big piece of cardboard to lay on when I’m under a car. I have a creeper too, but it sets to high for some cars I’ve worked on. Start your car and let the engine idle for about 5 minutes. That way the oil is warm and will drain much easier.

Crawl under your car and make sure the drain plug, you’ll be removing, is on the engine pan. Some new cars have a transmission drain plug. Have your tools with you when you get under the car, and select the proper socket to use. It may be metric or standard. Make sure to have your drain pan close by when you remove the plug. When the oil from the plug hole is down to a few drips, re-install the plug. Locate the engine oil filter. If you’re not sure what it looks like, take the new one out of the box. Some filters are easy to get to, to change, others are not. Use an oil filter wrench, if you have one, and turn the filter counter-clockwise to remove it. Make sure the drain pan is under the filter, if possible, to catch the oil spilling out. Next wipe some oil on the seal of the oil filter and install it, turning it clockwise until it’s tight, then turn it 3/4 of a turn more, this insures it won’t leak.