When Your Engine Needs Repair

For a low pressure condition the first place you should check is the dipstick. If you find that you have low oil levels then your engine can be either burning or leaking oil. A temporary remedy can be gained by adding oil but the problem will continue until you get proper auto repairs to fix the problem. For leaking oil problems you can get new gaskets or seal so the leak will stop. For an engine that is burning oil a wet compression test and/or a leak down test will help determine what the exact problem is whether it be a worn valve and seals or bad engine rings and cylinders.

The pressure sending unit is the next thing you should check if you oil levels are okay. Check the warning lamp or gauge reading once you disconnect the unit. There may be a short to ground in the circuit if the warning light remains lit when it is disconnected. If the gauge reading doesn’t change then you likely have a problem with the instrumentation and not the engine itself.

Just always remember that it is important to check your engine at the first sign of noise or warning lights. Whether you do it yourself or have a professional do it, it will save you a lot of headache later on down the line. If you ignore the warning signs your engine gives you then you will likely start hearing a knocking noise which eventually ends in your engine seizing and stopping completely.

Auto Glass and Windshields

Laminated Glass

Windshields are made of a completely different type of glass than the rest of the windows found on your vehicle. The windshield uses what is called laminated glass. Used since 1927, laminated glass is created by placing a thin sheet of adhesive plastic between two layers of glass. This transparent plastic is called polyvinyl butyrate, or PVB, and is infused with the glass using extreme pressure and heat. The PVB sheet holds the glass together in the event of impact, and prevents the windshield from shattering. This helps prevent further injury to the occupants that may be caused from the shattered glass.

Tempered Glass

On the other hand, all the remaining windows of your vehicle, including the rear window, are constructed of tempered glass. This tempered glass is manufactured using rapid heating and cooling methods, which strengthen the glass. When the structural stability of tempered glass is compromised, it does not shatter; rather, it breaks into small, pebble-like pieces which are dull, and do not cut like shattered glass.

So what does this mean to you? Well, in a few words, laminated glass is repairable, but tempered glass is not. This is the reason why you see companies that advertise windshield repair, but not window repair.

Windshields

Windshields are a key component to the structural integrity of vehicles. In the event of an accident, the windshield is designed to take the kinetic energy from the impact and disperse it evenly around the passenger compartment of the vehicle, protecting the occupants.

In the event of a rollover, the windshield prevents the roof from collapsing inward into the passenger compartment. In some vehicles, the windshield can provide up to 50{03a211930a84fa5fb27c8e6415aa65cf35f7a92ca4ba4ed6f24288be1b13fc35} of the auto’s rollover strength.

Avoid Auto Repair Fraud

When you go to an auto repair facility you are essentially paying someone to diagnose and repair your vehicle for you. Even if you have a company that has competent and honest workers you will still have to pay the high cost that comes with auto repair facilities. Today the average labor costs is between sixty and ninety an hour. Only half of what you pay goes to the actual technician.

One scam that is common in auto repair facilities is to charge you a standard “flat rate” estimate for your car. While this in itself is not bad, the problem is some companies will take less than the estimated flat rate time to work on your car and yet still require you to pay the flat rate. The flat rate is supposed to be determined by the year, make and model of your car and the estimated time it will take to do work on that vehicle. The best company will charge you only for the actual time it takes to fix the vehicle.

To make sure you get a good auto repair facility it is best to stick with a company that your family and friends recommend. If you find you are satisfied with their work then continue to work with them. Trust and a lasting relationship with your mechanic goes a long way towards reducing problems.

Buying Auto Parts Online

Automotiv

Major Stores

Pretty much every major auto parts store has an online version, where you can search their entire nationwide database for parts availability, order the part and have it sent to you wherever you are. It’s highly convenient and makes it easy to compare prices. Some major chains that have sites include, NAPA Online, Advance Auto Parts, Auto Parts Warehouse, AutoVillage, CARQUEST, Pep Boys and many more. Nearly all of them offer online search and shopping options. Some of them even offer a low price guarantee on certain parts and provide you with news, information, rebate deals and special online-only deals.

Manuals & Auto Repair Information

There are many resources online that may help you install your auto part. Check out 10w40 for manuals and information for many makes and models of vehicles.

Auto Forums

You can find information on your make or model of vehicle as well as ask questions and get answers about repairing and maintaining it. You will also be able to talk with other auto enthusiasts. Some popular auto forums are Automotive Forums, AutoForums, Car Lease, Autoforum Universe and the forums at Automotive. You may be able to get advice on where the best place to get parts is for your specific make and model. There are also forums available for specific makers which should also have excellent information on where to get parts.

Books

You can easily order any of the auto repair manuals you need online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. This may be more convenient for people who don’t have a bookstore or auto parts store near them. The most popular and reliable publishers of auto manuals are Chilton’s and Hayne’s. Buying the manual online, you may be able to save money by comparing prices at numerous booksellers, you can use AddAll to do this.

Auctions

The auction is a great place to search for your auto parts and eBay Motors is where you will want to begin your auction search. Currently, there are a staggering 546190 listings on eBay Motors under Car & Truck Parts alone. You will want to drill down to the specific category for your desired part, then try to narrow the search under that category.

Car Repair Prices

First, 98 {03a211930a84fa5fb27c8e6415aa65cf35f7a92ca4ba4ed6f24288be1b13fc35} of ALL service centers are overcharging. This includes dealerships, local shops and franchises. Stating that dealerships charge four to six times higher unfairly singles out this portion of the industry. We need to watch out for every type of service facility. While it’s always easier to focus on the big, faceless name of a dealership, it’s unwise. Your local mechanic who you pass in the grocery store is just as likely to rip you off.

Surprisingly, in many respects, a dealership is often less expensive. To be clear, I am not siding with dealerships. Again, no matter what type of facility one services a vehicle, some type of price-gouging will occur. Having said that, here are some common myths about dealership prices.

Myth One: The parts are more money.

This is not true. Dealers, for the most part, stick to MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price) guidelines. Guidelines, as abused as they are, are better than none. Local shops have no guidelines. They can charge whatever they want.

We’ve all been taught that aftermarket parts are less expensive than factory/MSRP parts–this is not true. A frequent “case in point” is air filter prices. Below is a sample from one of many actual invoices:

  • Dealership/MSRP Price: $17.00 (factory fiber filter)
  • Local Shop/Aftermarket Price: $32.00 (aftermarket paper filter)

Tip…always compare you’re aftermarket part price against MSRP, you’ll be surprised just how much your local garage is charging you for inferior parts.

Myth 2: The labor “time” is higher.

Actually, many dealers follow manufacturer recommendations and industry standard multipliers. In other words, they’re not just shooting from the hip. The labor “time” (i.e., how long it takes to repair something–1, 2, 3 hours…etc.) may be lower than the resulting times from the labor price-gouging tricks practiced by your local garage.

This is not to say that dealers don’t practice labor tricks–they’re the masters! It is to say that they are more inclined to follow suggested guidelines.

Deal With an Overheating Car Engine

ALLOW THE ENGINE TO COOL

Once you have pulled over and turned the engine off, be sure to turn on your hazards to alert people of your position. This is especially important at night. Keep all car lights on in the evening if you are ever pulled over on the edge of a street. Many people make the mistake of opening their hoods right away and touching the radiator cap; this is a huge mistake! The car engine and radiator will be very hot and can cause second and third degree burns. Always allow your vehicle to cool off for at least fifteen minutes, depending on the amount of time spent driven prior to the break down. This way you can protect yourself from accidents and injury.

CHECK FOR FLUID LEAKS

When the vehicle has completely cooled, check around and underneath it for any signs of leaking. This could indicate a wide variety of issues, from a cracked radiator to a faulty radiator hose. If there is no sign of leakage, take a look at the oil. Remove the dipstick and concentrate on the color. If it is dark brown and sludgy-looking, this means the liquid coolant might be seeping into the engine. This can result from a blown head gasket or cracked engine block. Even if the oil looks normal, these damages may still be the underlying problem.

CONTACT A MECHANIC

The best thing to do in a situation like this is call a mechanic shop once you have the car pulled over. They are the professionals that can accurately diagnose the issue behind your overheating vehicle. When antifreeze and coolant aren’t the answer, trust a licensed auto repair technician to figure it out for you. Use a directory to contact a towing service that can transport your vehicle directly to the auto repair shop, and give you a ride there too, all in the same trip.

Fuel Injection Services

Depending on the product, injection services clean naturally forming carbon deposits from the fuel injectors and fuel rails–some will even clean the fuel tank, and valve carbon deposits.

Do they work?
In short, yes. Provided it’s a premium product (such as BG), and the service is performed correctly. Fuel injection services can do amazing things. They can improve fuel efficiency, increase horse power, and repair some performance concerns, although this last benefit is rare.

Whether or not fuel injection services will do all the above “every time” is another story.

I have even seen fuel injection services quiet horrendous carbon knocks–a knocking noise from the engine due to excessive carbon build-up coming in contact with internal engine components.

Are they worth it?
Maybe. It really depends on the condition of the vehicle. If the service achieves any of the advertised claims, it may be worth it. In truth, most cars don’t need it. The consistent use of quality fuel, and proper vehicle maintenance should be all that is necessary to keep a car running properly.

However, consistent use of cheap gas and poor adherence to an auto maintenance schedule, as well as certain driving styles can significantly increase the accumulation of carbon deposits. Thus the possibility of poor fuel efficiency, decreased horsepower, and performance issues increases–all of which could be helped by injector maintenance.

The other factor to consider is the expense. How much fuel savings justifies the cost of the fuel injection service, and how long is the pay off. BG claims that their product will pay for itself in a year’s time. However, remember that the condition of the vehicle is a big variable!

How often should it be done?
It depends on the product, but generally between 15,000 to 30,000-miles is the average.

Are they necessary?
It depends: See the discussion under Are they worth it?

Can a fuel injection service do any damage to my engine or car?
Not if done correctly. Done incorrectly, anything goes. A technician could conceivably hydro-lock your engine, or blow a hole in the piston–although both scenarios are rare.

If anything does go wrong, there is usually an underlying problem, which gets exacerbated by the fuel injector auto maintenance.

Why doesn’t my manufacturer recommend fuel injector cleaning auto maintenance?
No manufacturer recommends fuel injector cleaning auto maintenance under normal operating conditions. From a manufacturer’s viewpoint: take care of your car right (i.e., as the manufacturer dictates) and you’ll be fine.

However, depending on the problem, some manufacturers will recommend fuel injector cleaning auto maintenance as the cure–especially carbon knock. With the variety of fuel qualities available, manufacturers may reconsider fuel injector cleaning auto maintenance.

How much does fuel injector cleaning auto maintenance cost?
Prices vary depending on the service center and the actual procedure performed, and product used. The procedure you want should clean the entire fuel system including the tank and should not cost more than $150.

Brake Shoe Bonding

Was it squealing? That could be as simple as the pads wearing down. No big deal, right? Was the pedal sticking? That’s a little bit of a bigger issue because that is a sign of a faulty master cylinder. It is safe to say that if they lock up with just a slight bit of pressure, you need to get to mechanic as soon as possible.

Since brakes are one of the most important parts on a car, you need to be cautious if you notice anything strange. If you can’t stop or slow down, how are you going to drive? A typical car has two forms of braking; the primary one, which is your pedal, is used when the car is running and on the road. While the secondary one is usually referred to as the emergency or parking brake and is used to keep the car stationary, or in case of an emergency. It is important to perform routine check-ups and service your vehicle regularly to avoid having to use your emergency brake.

Assuming your car has drums as opposed to discs, you may need to add shoes to your brake repair to-do list. The shoe is typically used because it has the quickest response time when stopping. It sits inside the drum in front of your hydraulic slave cylinder and is an essential factor into getting your car to stop. It is made with heat resistant metals like zinc and has rubber shavings to reduce excess noise. Whereas, if you had disc brakes, the callipers and pads are what’s controlling the stopping motion of your car.

With brakes being the number one most replaced item on a car, it is definitely a good idea to have some understanding about them and their critical role in your everyday commute.

Windshield Chip Repair

Many people doubt the value of a chip repair. Paying fifty bucks for a chip repair that is barely the size of a nickel seems unreasonable. However, most do not realize that the windshield is very fragile to internal stress. It may look impenetrable, but when subjected to road and temperature stress, the chip can easily become a crack. Searching recent forums, an Acura owner’s tolerance of “an annoying little rock chip [had] finally become a long streak across the middle of [his] windshield.” (1)

Your Windshield

As with all things, let’s begin with the basics.

Windshield glass is a type of laminated glass. It consists of two layers of special composite glass with a laminate in between the layers. The laminate usually is made from a form of vinyl plastic, which is in simple terms, a very strong plastic. The laminate acts as a sticking board for the inner and outer layer of glass, which serves to hold both layers together and provides a surface in the event of shattering for glass fragments to adhere to.

A black frame, referred as the ‘frit’, lines the outer edges of the windshield, commonly 2-3 inches wide and even wider on top. The frit protects the urethane molding (generally speaking, glue that bonds windshield to car) of the windshield from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Without the frit, the urethane would melt and cease to hold the windshield to the body frame. This is what happens with rear-view mirrors that are incorrectly installed; they fall off the windshield after the adhesives melt in the sun’s heat.

Functions of Your Windshield

Windshields play essential roles in vehicle safety and drivability. First and the most apparent function of the windshield is blocking wind and airborne debris from you and providing a clear perspective of road conditions. This is more of a drivability issue. The next two functions are safety-related, especially during an accident. In a frontal collision, two safety features of the car minimize impact damage to the driver and passenger: SRS Airbag and seat belts. In order for the airbag to deploy properly, the windshield needs to be in place. It stops the airbag from deploying upwards and redirects the direction of inflation toward the driver. In a rollover, windshield serves dually to prevent the roof of the car from collapsing and the passenger from having any body parts hanging outside the car. This issue is more pertinent with side windows, where loose body parts will dramatically increase fatality rates.

An improperly installed or cracked windshield will jeopardize your safety. One, the windshield may crack up and eventually lose integrity and shatter. Two, during an accident, the windshield will fly apart on airbag deployment with shards of glass spewing all over the place. And the airbag will be less effective. Third, on a rollover, compression stress will first stretch the crack from end to end and then finally break the windshield. Flying glass shards are very sharp and dangerous.

How Your Windshield is Installed

Ok, are you still following me? In the above sections, I have mentioned windshield structure and function. This section will cover windshield installation. The next section will tell you about windshield stress areas that dictate how likely a chip or crack is going to develop further.

Windshield placement is a highly robotic and computer-controlled process in the assembly line of automobile manufacturing. Computerized alignment and placement procedures ensure that both molding and windshield are accurately fitted. Preparation of the car frame provides a clean surface to which the windshield could bond. Furthermore, there is ample time between windshield installation and the end of the production line for the molding to cure. Because of these exacting processes, the quality that comes out the factory is the best.

For aftermarket windshield installation, getting rid of the original windshield properly is foremost to a good replacement. The correct installation techniques require removal of the old molding and lower windshield cowl panel. Subsequently the glass is cut out, leaving around 1/16″ of urethane bedding. The channel area, where the urethane adhesives bond, should be primed to inhibit rust formation. Rust formation will eventually weaken the bonding of the windshield to the car. After placement of the windshield, the car should be given from 1-24 hours to cure, depending on the adhesives used.

Some unethical replacement practices include shortcuts, such as close-cutting, flush-cutting and jumping-the-cowl. These will not be covered here, but if you are interested, you may read about these shortcuts in brief in the second link in References.

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.