In the old days, a tune-up was necessary about every 35,000 miles. It would usually consist of setting the ignition timing, replacing the mechanical breaker points in the ignition, cleaning and adjusting the carburetor and replacing the plug wires and spark plugs. Today, of course, the carburetor’s job is done by fuel injection and the ignition timing and spark are controlled by the engine computer. Few vehicles still have plug wires anymore either, as the distributor was replaced by the computer and a coil-on-plug design which delivers a spark at each spark plug.
But what about the spark plugs themselves, though? How often do they need to be replaced now?
Manufacturers tout an 80k-100k mile service interval on spark plugs now, thanks in part to improvements in plug design and materials. That might be stretching it, however. Remember that if you have a 100,000-mile spark plug, its electrode is worn down 4/5 of the way at 80,000 miles. A worn ...[more]
At one time, there were only a couple of choices for motor oil. Today, that is no longer the case, and hasn't been for quite some time. Here's a quick breakdown of what you need to consider when it's time for an oil change:
- Viscosity: Viscosity is how thick your oil is, and how it retains its pour properties at various temperatures. In this respect, synthetic oil is far superior. Conventional oils will thicken in cold weather and thin out when very hot, while the viscosity of synthetic is much more uniform. Check your owner's manual -- many newer models require a thinner, lower-viscosity oil, which also helps the engine run more efficiently. Viscosity is expressed as a numerical value -- the lower the number, the thinner the oil. Many are designed to work a ...[more]
Often, drivers are mystified by how their cars actually work. It’s to be expected. Even an older car is a complex machine with many sub-assemblies that all work together to move it down the road.
As a result, drivers tend to be a little intimidated by auto repair and often tend to not inform themselves by asking the necessary questions of a tech or a garage. Too often, that ends up being a big mistake. Here are some examples of the kinds of things you really should know before any auto repair work starts:
- Does your shop work on any kind of vehicle? Of course, most shops can service a product from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and the other leading makes. Some makes, however, require a lot more training and experience, o ...[more]
Summer is here, and it’s time to start thinking about your car’s AC system! Nobody likes driving around in a hot, stuffy car, and a car with an AC system which only works marginally is somehow almost even worse than one which doesn’t work at all. Let’s go through a few tips which can help you keep your ride a little more comfortable this summer…
Remember a cars AC system is really a heat exchanger which moves hot air out of your vehicle, then replaces it with cold air. One thing you can do to help improve its efficiency is to leave your windows down an inch or two (if possible) when you park the car, helping to prevent excess heat buildup. When you start the car and begin to drive off, lower all the windows for the first minute or two to help move hot air out of the car more quickly, giving the AC system a chanc ...[more]
If your car has reached the 75,000 mile mark or higher, it usually means at least two things:
- You’ve probably been taking care of it, so congratulations!
- Your vehicle now requires a little more tender loving care.
High mileage vehicles are pretty common, but without proper maintenance, you may be setting your car up for failure. The car’s parts are getting older and have received a lot of wear and tear. To get the most out of your vehicle, take some of these simple steps to ensure that your car can stand the test of time and keep you on the road for more miles and years to come.
This cannot be stressed enough. Regular oil changes are the lifeblood of your vehicle. Changing the oil keeps ...[more]
Your mechanic or automotive technician should possess the same qualities that you expect from your doctor and dentist; namely trust and reliability. Car owners have a lot at stake when seeking vehicle maintenance and repairs, it's very important to find the right technician. Before a technician even lays a finger on your car, approach the head mechanic or store manager. There are three categories of inquiries you should make about his business: the credentials of the garage and skill level of the workers, the price of the work being done and, finally, the policies and extra services. Let's take a look at the some recommended questions.
Are you affiliated with the Automotive Service Association (ASA)?
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) only affiliates itself with service centers that have a consist ...[more]