Thursday, August 30, 2007

Car Check List Before a Long Trip

By Pauline Go

Even a small problem inside the vehicle during a long journey could make life miserable if the vehicle is not prepared prior to the journey. Listed below are some useful suggestions that can be taken as a checklist for preparing the vehicle for a long trip.

Checking the engine oil:

Most of the problems arising in the engine are due to usage of improper engine oil. It is always important to periodically examine the color and the level of the engine oil and replace it once the color turns dark.

Automatic Transmission fluid:

Another important aspect that can cause a great damage if ignored is the automatic transmission fluid. It is always better to replace the automatic transmission fluid prior to the journey. A normal transmission liquid is red in color. The color of the fluid gradually turns brown and loses its thickness under high temperature. Depending on the mileage covered by the vehicle and the speed, the oil might even turn black.

Engine antifreeze:

The antifreeze or the coolant level in the overflow tank should be between “min” and “max” levels so as to ensure a safe and comfortable ride without the engine getting heated up. Any possible leaks inside the tank are indicated by unusually low levels of the coolant. It is always better to get the tank checked for leaks from a maintenance engineer before filling up the reservoir.


Any new battery usually lasts for a period of 2-3 years. If the battery is more than 4 years old, it is better to get it replaced. Another option is to get the battery examined by a service engineer or else carry a spare one inside the car.

Other important things that need to be checked before going on a journey include the pressure in the tires, checking the brake fluid, power steering fluid, air filters, fuel level, loosened clamps, steering and suspension components, lights and windshield wipers. Certain emergency features that must be taken on a journey include a spare tire, a first-aid box, tool box, flashlight, screwdrivers, pliers, a spare headlight bulb, a bottle of engine oil and antifreeze liquid.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Basic Vehicle Maintenance Tips For Safety On The Road

By Lydia Quinn

SUMMARY: Learn basic auto maintenance tips for your vehicle for maximum safety on the road. While practicing safer driving techniques on the road is a key to road safety, proper care and maintenance of your vehicle also plays a crucial role in getting you safely to your destination.

While practicing safer driving techniques on the road is a key to road safety, proper care and maintenance of your vehicle also plays a crucial role in getting you safely to your destination. After all, proper maintenance may mean the difference between getting home safely or breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Here are some essential car maintenance tips for keeping you and your car safe and healthy.

Check The Oil

It may seem obvious, but the importance of checking the oil regularly cannot be stressed enough. Checking it and changing it often is probably the single most important thing you can do to keep your car's engine in good condition.

Check Your Lights

This is one of the easier maintenance tasks, as you'll often find someone, hopefully not a policeman, will tell you that one of your tail lights isn't working properly. Having working head and tail lights is absolutely crucial to your safety. Have them fixed as soon as possible whenever one isn't working and avoid driving with one light out, if at all possible.

Check Your Tires

Check the tire pressure, but also the alignment often. Invest in a tire pressure gauge. Keep the tire pressure as your vehicle owner's manual recommends. Tire pressure affects many aspects of your car, including the amount of fuel it uses, the handling and performance, as well as the comfort and smoothness of the ride. Rotate your tires after every other oil change. Proper tire rotation helps your tires to wear more evenly. Also, keep a check on the tread wear of your tires and get new tires when needed.

Check Your Transmission Fluid

Check your transmission fluid according to your vehicle owner's manual recommendations. Top it up if needed, but do not over fill, as overfilling can damage your transmission.

Check The Engine Coolant

If you don't have enough coolant, you run the risk of overheating your engine and damaging it. Keep the coolant level topped up, especially if you're going on a long trip during warmer months.

Check The Belts

There are numerous belts in your vehicle, including the ones involved with the running of your alternator, your air conditioning and other parts. Be sure to check the rubber and the belt when you are performing your regular, under the hood maintenance.

Check Battery Contacts

Make sure the contacts on your battery terminal are clean. Often dirt and grime can build up on them, affecting performance.

Pay Attention To Warnings

Any modern car includes warning lights for various parts of the vehicle should the onboard computer detect something isn't working properly. When you see one of these lights go on, don't ignore it. Check your vehicle owner's manual to confirm what you need to check if it isn't obvious.

Be sure to read your vehicle owner's manual, the manufacturer will give you many recommendations for proper care and maintenance of your vehicle and often provide you with a checklist and recommendations for when and how to perform maintenance. Also, get yourself a copy of your vehicle's auto repair manual. If you need to do a repair yourself, these manuals will walk you through step by step, making it possible for even the least mechanical people to repair their own vehicle. If you have no confidence to make your own repairs, don't hesitate to take it to a professional.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

How to help diagnose your automobile problems

by Guenter Hohmann

If you go to a doctor you don't just say "my body hurts". Of course not, you would be more specific. How about going to your bank and say "there's a problem with my money". They will look at you as though you had two heads. If you take your automobile to a repair shop and say "my car doesn't run right", what are they supposed to do with that lack of information?

I guess by now everyone should have gotten what I am driving at. If you want something corrected you must give as much detailed information as possible to expedite the matter as quickly as possible. No where is it more important to be specific about a problem than in today's complex automobiles. The better one can explain the problem the better your chances are of getting them corrected the first time and not wasting money on misunderstandings. Most people are in too much of a hurry and just scribble a quick note when dropping their cars off for repairs and not even taking the time to talk to the technician or service writer. Bad mistake! This leads to poor communications and the necessity for several phone conversations that may end up being misunderstood. To make the problem easier to understand, follow some of these guidelines.

Don't say "my car will not start" Specify; Does it crank but not start. Does it just click or buzz when turning the key. Is it just dead with nothing happening? Forget about that "it won't turn over" statement, it is most often misunderstood as to what symptom this pertains to.

Don't say "my car shakes" Specify; Does the steering wheel shake at high or low speeds, does the steering wheel shake when stepping on the brakes, is it the steering wheel shaking or does the whole car vibrate.

Don't say "my car stalls or quits" Specify; Does it stall after starting, does it stall coming to a stop, does it stall at idle, or does the engine just quit while cruising or accelerating.

Don't say "my air conditioner or heater doesn't work" Specify; is the air conditioner blowing warm, or the heater blowing cold. Many times people say their ac or heater is not working when they really meant the blower motor was not working. Again be specific.

Don't say "my car has a strange noise" Specify; the noise is a rattle, rumble, squeal, knock, vibration, ticking, and so forth. Specify; this noise is coming from the front, right or left. Rear, right or left. At highway speeds, or coming to a stop. Only happens during a full moon or total eclipse (just kidding). You get the picture.

I could go on and on but by now you can see how important the right information can be towards a speedy diagnose and save you some money by not having misunderstood symptoms worked on. Did I mention "Specify"?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

How To Properly Test Drive A Vehicle

By Joshua Rose

SUMMARY: Don't let the stress and heat level produced from the car buying process keep you from performing the kind of test drive you'll learn the most from.

It doesn’t matter where you found the car, whether at a Dealership or from a private seller, the time will come when you need to drive the car with a critical eye, ear and feel. And you may not be totally comfortable with the prospect of doing a “test drive” because it’s obviously something most people don’t have to do very often.

So let’s do a trial run here. Some of this may seem painfully obvious, but you may be surprised by what many car buyers forget to do when in the heat of the buying process. So, try to stay calm and cool. You may even want to do a dry run on your own car first just to help the learning (or remembering) process.

Before starting the vehicle, inspect the interior and sit in each seat. Are the seats comfortable? Is there enough room for the passengers you are likely to have in the vehicle? If it’s a factor in your life, will passengers be comfortable on a long trip?

If you’re looking at a minivan or SUV (especially one with a third row), remove the seats to judge their weight and the ease of doing so. This will also help you evaluate the total space available for your cargo needs. Also, flip and fold the seats into their various configurations to measure how flexible the interior is.

Next, open the trunk. Think about the kind of vehicle use you anticipate. Imagine loading groceries, luggage or other bulky items you’re likely to transport. Also check the spare tire compartment. Is it accessible and easy to open and close?

Then, sit in the driver's seat and adjust the seat, steering wheel, and mirrors to your specific driving position. Does your body seem to fit the seat? Is the seat too hard or too soft? Remember, you’ll be spending a lot of time right there.

Now look around and check your visibility. Are there any blind spots hampering your field of vision? Also, can you tell where the edges of the vehicle are?

While you’re in the vehicle, test the heater/air conditioner, the stereo system, all the power accessories, the windows, headlights, turn signals, visors, and emergency brake. As you’re reaching around, does anything seem out of place or awkward for you? Can you see your speedometer and other gauges without obstruction?

How about the seat belt? Is it easy to put on? Do you have to reach back too far to find it? Is there anything about it that may bother you over time?

Now think about things you’ll likely have with you when driving. For example, are there enough cup holders? Are there enough convenient compartments for your CDs and so forth? How about power outlets? Where are they and are there enough to meet your needs?

Now actually go for a drive. Start out in a relaxed, easy mode as you get used to the vehicle. If possible, pick a route you’re familiar with and one that has different driving environments (flat, uphill, downhill and highway). If you’re in an area you are not familiar with, let the Dealer or seller direct you to these kinds of driving locations.

Keep the conversation to a minimum and the radio off. Does the engine accelerate smoothly and quietly (unless it’s the kind of vehicle that’s supposed to be a bit rough or noisy)? Do the tires make any noise?

Try all of the gears. Is the transition from one gear to another smooth? What’s the acceleration like on a hill? Also, are there any noises when turning? Does the steering wheel adjust back smoothly after turning?

How does the car drive on the highway? Is the noise level appropriate? Is there any shimmering? Does the vehicle repeatedly drift off in one direction or another?

Now find a safe area to brake hard several times. Are you getting predictable performance from the brakes that you feel comfortable with?

Find a parking lot and make two 360-degree turns each direction. Is the turning radius acceptable to your needs? And if possible and safe, try out an emergency maneuver as if you were suddenly forced to evade another car or a pedestrian. Did the vehicle manage the maneuver in a predictable way and remain easy to handle?

When you return the car, put it in Park with the emergency brake on. Then, go out and listen to the engine idle. Is it running relatively quietly and consistently? Note the same about the exhaust.

If you are now satisfied that this is the vehicle for you, it’s time to finalize the price (fun, fun, fun). Once agreed, if this is a used vehicle, it’s time for setting up your independent mechanical inspection before making your final decision.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Mileage modifications in cars

By Groshan Fabiola

Since the first mass production car ever to emerge from a car factory, technology has improved greatly if not tremendously. From the early spooks wheel we have now alloy rims, from simple 2 stroke engines we now have 8 L v engines that tear up the road, not to mention about the luxury that a car can now offer the driver and passengers. In our present day technology is moving at an even increased rate than it was 140 years ago. But with all complicated things complications and problems are bound to appear. In this short paper we shall talk a few of them and those will be mileage adjustment, correction and reset.

Mileage is the amount of miles that a car has gone and that is indicated on a special designated place on the dashboard of the car. As with other components of the car problems and defections may appear to the system that tells us the correct distance we are making will driving the car.

For one reason or another parts on the odometer, the part that tells as the number of miles driven so far, may fail to function properly. Problems may also occur in the engine or to the gears that are used to tell the mileage. Because of this the number that the driver sees is most certainly wrong. In this cases a mileage adjustment or correction is needed so that the car’s odometer will once again star working normally. Also in some cars the need for mileage reset will sometimes be present because of two things: either the odometer has reached its full or the owner of the car wishes to sell the car and thus reset the mileage for the customer. Caution should be taken when buying an used car, because the mileage might be reset or tempered with; selling the car without informing the new owner about the mileage corrections, adjustments or resets is illegal.

Usual problems that need mileage adjustments later on would be car crashes that damage parts of the car or odometer, tempering with from certain people, or more recently problematic impulses from the electrical system. The habit this days in making cars is to put and electronic dashboard because there are less parts involved and there is a lower cost in production. But as with all other man made things nothing is safe and thus problems do occur, problems that need mileage adjustments and even mileage resets. Most electrical problems in new cars happen for a variety of reasons: either the battery of the vehicle was completely discharged and the car had to be jump started, malfunctions because of collision or electric faults in the dashboard circuitry.

To deal with all of this problems engineers have developed ways to make mileage adjustments and resets so that the car is once again functional. With the help of modern technology new devices have been created to repair all of this problems in a car. If ever in need of a mileage correction, a mileage adjustment or a mileage reset special car shops are new available where you can go with your car and the thing done in the best of time and for the most reasonable of prices. The best thing to do would be to find one of this repair shops that has German equipment, the best on today’s market. The crew handling this equipment must also be trained in using them and very skilled at what they do.

This days modern equipment helps a lot in diagnosing properly the problem of the car, the engineers knowing afterwards if the car needs a mileage adjustment or a compleat mileage reset.

When trying to sell a car the owner should always keep in mind that if the car has suffered any mileage adjustments or corrections he is forced by the law to let the next owner know all about the changes done to the odometer.