So you got a new set of wheels – congratulations! You’re going to want to hang onto it as long as possible, so you’ll want to keep it maintained as well as you can. Here are some suggestions:
First, read the owner’s manual carefully and stick to manufacturer’s recommendations for service intervals. There are certain things that are critical enough that failure to adhere to recommendations can void a new car warranty. Don’t let that happen!
For instance, just about every manufacturer recommends synthetic oil for their engines; it provides better protection in just about every respect, and it’s more stable at high and low temperatures. If your owner’s manual prescribes a 10,000-mile oil change, stick with that and be sure to use the bra ...[more]
So you’re in need of a set of tires for your truck? No problem! The question is, though, what kind of tires are going to be best?
First, you’ll need to think about what you use that truck for. Will you regularly be hauling heavy loads or pulling a trailer? Do you expect to keep it on the pavement for the most part, or will you occasionally go off-road? If you go off-road, will it be on soft dirt or will you be plowing through brush, mud, and rocks? And finally…what’s your budget?
If you’re wanting to keep it on the pavement most of the time and your truck is a daily driver for errands, school, soccer, and grocery runs, all-season tires are probably the right choice. All-season light truck tires can rival the best passenger tires when it comes to noise level, ...[more]
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]
Even just a pound or two of underinflation in your tires can be a problem. Why, though? There are several reasons.
Fuel economy: If you ever rode a bicycle with a low tire, you know that it feels like you’re riding through wet cement due to the added rolling resistance. The same thing is happening with your car, and compromising your fuel economy. Over the course of 10,000 miles per year, that can add up to 150 gallons of gas or $500 out of your pocket!
Handling: Low tire pressure means poorer control and longer stopping distances. At high speeds, in particular, this can be downright hazardous.
Premature tire wear: Underinflated tires are under a lot of stress, especially their steel ...[more]
So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on…and doesn’t go back off again. You can’t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it’s on anyway.
What does it mean?
Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.
The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. When ...[more]
It’s so nice to have a car that can go 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds. It’s also nice to have one that goes 0 to 60 mph in 8 seconds. We know you all don’t drive sports cars – but what about stopping? It’s easy to forget that there is some pretty powerful engineering and parts that make it so your car can stop on a dime, quarter or penny. Your brakes are so important! But how do you know that you need to have them replaced before they fail? You don’t want to be going 60 mph and try to stop just to realize that you can’t do it. So how can you tell? There’s five important signs that you need to have your brakes repaired.
#1 Dash light.
The first and most obvious way to tell if you need t ...[more]
If you’ve had to get your engine repaired, you know the worry about a rebuilt engine vs. a new engine. There are so many pros and cons, especially when you compare the cost for a brand new engine can reach into the thousands. But a rebuilt engine, while less expensive, can also be a concern. Will it last? What does that really mean?
A rebuilt engine means that at some point, something inside the engine failed. For the non-technical out there, just imagine that there are several different types of components that make up an engine like rings, gaskets, pistons, etc. If any one item or multiple items fail, then the engine must be taken apart and those components replaced. Then the entire engine must be put back together. Rebuilding an engine is typically referred to as one of the most important, invasive and expensive repairs you can make to a car. After all, it is the heartbeat of ...[more]
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