Automotive Upgrades and Customization

Tune Ups for Modern Cars: What You Need to Know

Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tune Ups for Modern Cars: What You Need to Know

If you’ve just purchased a new car, you’re likely to stay on top of maintenance to keep it from needing more costly repairs in the future. Every few months or so, you might consider taking your car to the mechanic to a get a “tune up”. However, modern cars don’t function the way older cars do, and the traditional tune up doesn’t do what it used to. Learning about the problems modern cars have in comparison to their older counterparts can help you to know what maintenance tasks are actually important for your car’s upkeep.  What is a tune up? Before computerization of car components, the working parts of an engine were purely mechanical. Mechanical parts can become misaligned, wear down, or need to be re-calibrated over time. Usually, if an engine was having a hard time starting, or if gears were making a funny noise, these indicated that a tune up was needed to bring everything into harmony again. Mechanics could adjust the timing speeds of engine belts to improve the engine efficiency, change fuel filters, and generally clean-up the overall function. Cars lasted longer with this maintenance, which is why many vehicles had scheduled “service” built in to the purchase.  Modern car components are now a blend of mechanical function and computerization. Timing and fuel injection are governed by electronics instead of mechanical parts. A tune up no longer means working with the moving parts to get everything in balance. Usually, if your car isn’t running well, it’s a sign that something needs to be repaired and replaced, instead of re-calibrated or realigned.  What maintenance is needed for modern cars? Regular service for your car is still referred to as a tune up, but the actual process involved has changed. Mechanics don’t spent time making slight adjustments—they instead replace parts and top up fluids. Usually, modern cars need: new air filters. These help to keep outdoor debris, like dust, insects, and leaves, from contaminating the engine block. the fuel system cleaned or flushed. Oily residue can built up inside the engine, leading to less fuel efficiency. Cleaning this area out regularly helps to preserve the life engine parts. new spark plugs. These can still wear down with use and affect how quickly the engine starts.  oil changes. This is the one part of car maintenance that may never change. Oil is always needed to lubricate moving parts in cars, and oil changes are among the most important and most basic needs of any car, new or old. new brake pads. These wear down as they are used and eventually need to be replaced.  rotated tires. Tires wear out unevenly from side to side and from front to back. Rotating them helps tires to last longer, saving you a costly expense.  Contrary to what you might think, you should not wait until your car starts showing signs of needing repairs before taking it in to be serviced. If you stay on top of suggested maintenance timelines (which can be found in your car’s owner’s manual), engine trouble indicates a problem outside of the problems that basic maintenance tasks, like those listed above, normally prevent. Failing to get a modern tune up on schedule is what leads to shifting trouble, vibrations, sluggish performance, and other symptoms that cars need repairs that...

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What You Should Know About Servicing Rear Drum Brake Shoes

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What You Should Know About Servicing Rear Drum Brake Shoes

Although drum brakes seem like a relic of the past, they’re still prevalent on most light, medium and heavy-duty trucks. Disc brakes have largely supplanted their drum counterparts up front, but drum brakes remain common as standard truck parts at the rear. Not only are they less expensive to manufacture and equip, but they’re also longer-lasting. However, they still need to be serviced occasionally. Read on for more information on servicing rear drum brake shoes. Removing the Rear Brake Drum Unlike disc brakes, the drum brake shoes are hidden within the drum. The drum serves the same purpose as the rotor on a disc brake system – it serves as a friction surface for brake shoes to press against while bringing the vehicle to a controlled stop. There are two common ways of removing the drum: You can use a rubber mallet to hammer around the edge of the drum until it becomes loose enough to remove by hand. If it refuses to budge and you have access to an air hammer with a blunt bit, you can position it on the face of the drum and use the vibration to loosen the drum. If you’re not able to free the drum using the mallet or air hammer, you can use a drum puller as an effective alternative. Position the drum puller properly and slowly tighten the main nut. As you do this, you can also tap on the drum face with the rubber mallet. Sometimes, the brake shoes can get hung up on the drum itself, making it nearly impossible to remove. In this instance, you’ll have to back off the shoes before removing the drum. This involves turning a star wheel adjuster that can be accessed through a port on the brake drum itself or the drum’s backing plate. Use a flat screwdriver to adjust the wheel until the shoes clear the drum. Inspecting and Changing the Brake Shoes After removing the brake drum, you’ll want to remove the various springs, clips and retainers holding the rear drum shoes in place. It’s a good idea to have a diagram on hand and keep careful track of any parts you remove at this point. The brake shoes should never exceed their minimum allowable thickness, which varies depending on the brake shoe material, vehicle application and manufacturer recommendations. For passenger vehicles, most service guides recommend changing the brake shoes when they’re 1/16 of an inch in thickness. Some experts advise that some shoes can be changed when the shoe material becomes 1/10 of an inch thick. For commercial vehicles that use air brakes, brake shoes should be replaced once they’re less than 1/4 of an inch thick or when the wear indicator becomes visible, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines. Vehicles using hydraulic or electric brakes should have their brake shoes changed once they’ve reached less than 1/16 of an inch in thickness. While most modern drum brake systems rely on bonded brake linings, there are older vehicles that use riveted brake shoes. These shoes should be changed or relined before the rivets become equal with the shoe material. Wearing the brake shoes down to the level of the rivets could cause scoring of the drum surface. Inboard vs. Outboard Drums Some commercial vehicles have inboard...

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Tips For Choosing Cost-Effective And Fuel-Efficient Trucks For Your Company

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips For Choosing Cost-Effective And Fuel-Efficient Trucks For Your Company

Before you invest in the new commercial fleet for your company, you need to make sure that you’re getting the best investment for your money, not something that’s going to end up costing you more in the long run. One of the biggest fleet expenses that most companies struggle with is fuel cost. Before you invest in new commercial vehicles, here are a few tips to help you manage your fuel budget. Understand the Basics of Engine Size One of the biggest considerations as you start shopping for new commercial vehicles is the engine size. Size is a significant factor in the horsepower, displacement and torque of the engine. Don’t waste money on trucks with more engine than you’ll need, because you’ll just end up consuming more fuel than you really need to use. The goal is to consider how much your employees will be hauling and choose an engine large enough to stand up to that demand without being larger than you really need. Consider an Automatic Transmission The choice of transmission is an important one when it comes to fuel economy. If you choose an automatic transmission, you’ll know that the transmission is in control of its own operation, so it should be operating as efficiently as it can. When your trucks have a manual transmission, the drivers have more freedom to push the engine before shifting. This can cause the engine to work harder and burn more fuel. The automatic transmission shifts at times when it is most efficient for the engine’s fuel consumption. Make the Most of the MPG Just like the passenger vehicles that consumers buy, commercial vehicles are also labeled with mileage ratings that identify how many miles the vehicle will get per gallon of fuel. Commercial vehicles have become more fuel efficient with the adjustments made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, if you’re buying new commercial vehicles, you’re likely to see better mileage ratings than with vehicles that are more than ten years older. However, your company’s budget may not allow for new vehicles. If this is the case for your company, look for used vehicles with the highest possible mile-per-gallon ratings. Capitalize on Aerodynamics Every commercial truck’s aerodynamic design will affect the way it consumes fuel. If you’re in the market for vehicles, it’s essential that you consider the body lines to find trucks that are going to be as aerodynamic as possible. That way, you reduce the drag on the vehicle to ensure that your commercial trucks are getting the best possible mileage. Things like side mirror shapes and the height of the truck’s antennas can affect how the air passes around the truck. The smoother the body lines and the more compact the truck’s structure, the more aerodynamic it will be. Cabs that have chassis side fairings can help increase your fuel economy. You may want to add cab side extenders or choose trucks with side extenders to make the most of your fuel consumption. When you’re shopping for used vehicles, look to an aftermarket parts supplier who can help you not only choose the parts you need but also help you install them. When you’re shopping for commercial trucks for your business, you may find the process daunting without the relevant information to help you...

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What Is That Noise? How to Describe Common Car Sounds to Your Mechanic

Posted by on Aug 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Is That Noise? How to Describe Common Car Sounds to Your Mechanic

Automobiles are good communicators. They give off audible clues to help you understand when they are having a problem. All you need to do is listen. If you were a mechanic, there wouldn’t be a problem. The confusion arises when you are faced with describing that sound your car or its engine is making to the mechanic so he can make the necessary repairs. You can improve your communication with your mechanic by learning to speak his language when describing that “funny noise” in your car. Taps, Knocks and Pings Although they may sound similar to you, these sounds are not the same. To a mechanic they all describe a specific sound and give clues to the underlying problem. Here’s how to tell the difference. Taps: Imagine the sound of hitting a wooden table with a piece of wood. Taps are usually light and repetitive. Knocks: A knock is typically louder than a tap and sounds like someone knocking on your front door. It is important to note when you hear the knock and when it goes away. Pings: A ping is the sound a marble makes when you drop it in a can. It has a short, light ring and sounds like metal. Squeaks, Squeals and Screeches These sounds are similar, but vary in intensity and duration. Listen carefully so you can describe the sound accurately to your mechanic. Squeaks: Think of the sound of a squeaky door or the cry of a kitten. Squeaks range from barely audible to short repetitive sounds. Squeals: Squeals are high-pitched, prolonged sounds that are typically associated with a defective belt. Think of a baby pig squeal. Screeches: A screech is the sound tires make on the pavement when you stop quickly. Clicks, Clacks and Clunks These terms may sound like a verse from a Dr. Seuss book to you, but to mechanic they are technical terms. Clicks: A click sounds like someone snapping a picture with a camera. It is quick and light, but may be repetitive. A click is similar to the sound of your car doors locking. Clacks: Clacks are louder and heavier than clicks. Think of the sound made when two clacker balls connect. A clack will sound like it has more weight behind it than a click. Clunks: A clunk is a dull, heavy thump that does not reverberate. It sounds like something heavy dropping into place. Think of the sound your washer makes when it finishes the final spin cycle and the drum settles into place. Rattles and Rumbles Rattles and rumbles in your car can indicate anything from loose items in the trunk to a loose muffler. Knowing how to describe the sound makes it easier for your mechanic to pinpoint the cause. Rattles: Rattles sound as if something is being shaken or rolled and may get louder when you go over a bump or drive on rough roads. Rumbles: Rumbles are deeper sounds that appear muffled. Think of driving on the rumble strip on the highway. Cars make many other warning sounds that you may have to describe in your own words. Don’t be afraid to mimic the sound if you have to. Be ready to answer questions about what you were doing, such as braking, accelerating or using cruise control. Note the weather...

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