Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Issues with Damaged or Broken Wheels

One of the main things that people seem to neglect on their vehicle is the wheels. People normally do not spend their time looking at the condition of their wheels so it goes without saying that this area on a vehicle suffers for long periods of time before anything is done about it. Below is a list of some of the most common problems that you may encounter when it comes to the wheels on your vehicle and suggestions on what you should do if you have any one of these issues with your wheels.

• The wheels are out of balance. This is perhaps one of the most common issues that people come across where their wheels are concerned. You will notice this especially when you are going at higher speeds as the front end of your car or truck will start to vibrate. Some people say that the vibration will then go away once they level off at a certain speed. This is not the safe way to handle this situation. You need to get the wheels checked so that you can get them properly balanced so that you will not end up with an unwanted accident.

• Need a front-end alignment. This is a problem that will cause your vehicle to pull more to one side. You will see this if you are holding the steering wheel and you have to pull the wheel in the opposite direction to keep the vehicle driving correctly. This can make the vehicle to pull more to either side. You will need to have the alignment on the front end checked and adjusted if necessary. This can be very dangerous if you are not paying attention and holding on to the wheel tight. Sometimes you may find that driving on certain surfaces such as a bridge can affect the steering of the vehicle so be sure that your wheels are aligned properly.

• You may also notice that the vehicle is not driving correctly if the tire pressure is off so be sure to check the pressure in all tires frequently. You do not want to drive around with tires that are different sizes. If you find that you have a wheel that is of different size then the rest then you will need to make sure that you have all four wheels matching.

• If you notice that your wheel is loose or wobbly then you may want to check the lug nuts to make sure that they are all tight. This will be real noticeable when you are driving down the road and you feel the wobbliness in the steering wheel. The front end of the car may seem to be shimmying or shaking. You need to get this checked as soon as possible.

• Be sure to check the wheels for lumps and bumps. You may need some help to get this done as you will have to drive forward a little bit at a time and have someone look at each wheel for abnormalities. You also want to be sure that the tread on the tires is in good shape as you can have a blow out if the tread is too low.

• You may have the wrong wheel size of you notice that your wheels seem to wear down rather quickly. You can keep track of this by making it a point to check your wheels on a weekly basis. This way you will be used to what they need to look like when they are in good shape and you will quickly notice if something is not right with them.

Take care of your vehicle is up to date with proper maintenance and this includes the wheels. The wheels are what move your vehicle around on the road and if you do not have the wheels the way they need to be then you can run the risk of getting into an accident. This can do harm not only to your vehicle but also to yourself as well as others.

You should try to plan on regular maintenance to your wheels each month to ensure that they are functioning as they should. You want them to be all the same size with no abnormalities. You also want to make sure that the air pressure is up where it should be and that your front end is properly aligned.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Engine coolant

It is so easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day activity that sometimes you forget to do one important thing and that is checking the maintenance of your vehicle. This plays a huge part for many people having to rush around getting to work, school, shopping, for example, and it is necessary to keep your vehicle in tiptop condition.

Checking the engine coolant on your vehicle may be one of those jobs that sometimes it is easy to forget, but this is very important for your vehicle to run smoothly from day to day. Changing your engine coolant regularly can be very important even if you take for granted things are running smoothly.

Corrosion to vehicles can be a silent killer and if this happens because of forgetting simple vehicle checks to the cooling system then you may have a costly repair bill to pay, with the added inconvenience of no vehicle while repairs are done.

The cooling system itself is a complex assembly of materials and components of, cast iron, aluminum, copper, stainless steel, steel, rubber, plastic, brass the engine coolant has to have compatibility with all of these. Also the coolant has to stop corrosion, efficiently transfer heat as well as lubricating water pump seals.

This may sound an easy task until you realize that two different metals, for example, different alloy wheels, come into contact with an acidic liquid like used anti freeze, this becomes a crude battery that has been built. It is the electricity that is produced by the cooling system that accelerates corrosion of the materials. This is why it is important to change coolant when necessary to prevent the excessive build up of any acidic in the system helping to prevent corrosion.

There are three different types of antifreeze that are most commonly used for light duty vehicles. If using the first one ethylene glycol, which has a sweetish taste, then care must be taken as it can be deadly to children and small animals proper precautions must be taken when draining or storing antifreeze.

The second, propylene antifreeze, is slightly less toxic having a slight bitterness to the taste to make it not as attractive to pets, but again, caution should be taken when storing. The two antifreezes, propylene and glycol both contain phosphates, borates, and/or silicates, all of these being corrosion inhibitors keeping the coolant solution alkaline, the color of these antifreezes is the typical green.

The third type of antifreeze also contains ethylene glycol as a base but also has organic acids that help to provide protection for the engine from corrosion. This antifreeze was used by General Motors in 1996 under the Dex-cool name; it has a five-year lifetime of 160,000km against the two years lifetime of other antifreezes. The color of the lifetime antifreeze is orange, but don’t be mislead by the red or orange coolants in the non-GM vehicles. It is far better to check in the owner’s manual whether it needs to be changed in a five or two year interval.

Never mix long life with regular antifreeze, this will shorten the life of antifreeze to two years. It is better if having to add antifreeze, to mix it with water following the ratio on the container. Normally the ratio recommended is 50/50 although some cheap antifreeze may use the ratio 60/40 mixture.

If the coolant levels are low, this can indicate a leak. If visibly, there are no signs of corrosion or stains on the outside of the components or engine, then the leak could be internal into the engine oil. This needs to be checked by a mechanic as soon as you can since it can cause damage to the engine bearings quickly.

It is far easier to change the antifreeze on your vehicle by taking it to your nearby garage or repair shop. This causes you less mess and is environmentally friendlier taking your vehicle there, as most garages and repair shops use antifreeze recycling machines. These machines will flush the cooling system, clean the old coolant and lastly fill the vehicle with rejuvenated coolant.

What happens with the cooling system flush is that all the old coolant will be removed to a recycling machine; water is then forced all through the system and drained. The old coolant that was removed is filtered, testing for its strength (freezing point) and the pH balance.

If needed, new antifreeze will be added to raise the coolant's strength. To balance the pH level, an additive is added so it no longer causes corrosion. Last, a package of chemicals is added that has extra corrosion protecting materials and added water pump lubricant. The recycled coolant can now be put back into the cooling system.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting Your Vehicle FREAKY SQUEAKY Clean

If you are serious about keeping your car show room shiny, then there are several things you need to be aware of when it comes to getting and keeping your vehicle clean.


As you are driving along a country road, or even in the middle of the city, you'll undoubtedly encounter bugs innocently flying across the road, when SPLAT! They come head on into the front of your car. It is impossibe to keep bugs off your car entirely, but it is important that you not let them sit for too long on your car's finish. The result could be very damaging to your car's finish as they are baked on by the sun or as the acid in their body reacts to the clear protective coat of your vehicle.


If your vehicle is caked with snow grime and salt and you know that there will be snow for days, weeks, and months ahead, getting your windshield clean enough to see through and leaving the rest for when the weather lets up a bit is a BIG MISTAKE! The salt, grese, and grime that coated your vehicle as the melting snow splashed all over is very dangerous for your vehicle's finish. Clean it off every few days to give your vehicle's finish a break from the eroding effects of the snow grime.


When your car is bombed by bird droppings, clean them off as soon as convenient. The acidic nature of the bird droppings can wear away the clear coat on your car. Avoid parking under trees of telephone lines that are frequent perching places for your fine feathered friends.


When you start to clean your car, it's imperative that you first spray any dust, dirt, bugs, and grime off with a high pressure spray prior to rubbing the surface of your car with anything, even your hand. If you start wiping the surface of your car prematurely, you will potentially cause permanent damage to the clear protective coating of your car. If you are tempted to use a little elbow grease to remove stubborn bug splatters or grime, then instead practice patience and soak them to softness instead. To help with especially large areas of your car that may need some soaking power, spread a 100% cotton flannel sheet over the surface of your car. Then spray the sheet covered car with water, and take a twenty to thirty minute break allowing the water soaked sheet to aid in loosening stubborn stuck on grime. On especially hot days, you may want to respray the sheet after about ten to fifteen minutes.

After removing the sheet, respray the car and, using water pressure only, remove the now loosened bugs and things.


Very few brushes that you will use have soft enough bristles to avoid damaging your car's finish. If you happen to have one of those brushes, be sure to thoroughly clean all dirt that is in the bristles off before using it on your car's surface.


When soaking alone just won't do the trick, apply a bug and tar remover to the residual spots. It is imperative that you get a remover that is formulated especially to work on a car's delicate surface. After letting it soak for a few minutes, gently rub the area with a soft cloth, sponge, or car washing mitt that is made of a material deisgned to not scratch the car's surface.


After you have performed the steps necessary to leave your car sparkling clean, rinse the car thoroughly. Then carefully enspect the vehicles surface for any spots that you may haev missed. As you find them, repeat the steps above for bug and tar removal.


Adding a rinsing agent to your final rinse water can help your car rinse spot free. You can also buff your car with a super soft water absobant chamois cloth. Avoid the temptation to let your car dry in the hot sunlight, and the direct sunlight can actaully burn the paint as it is magnified through water droplets on a hot day.


Several times throughout the year, you will want to protect your car's finish by a high quality wax deisgned specifically for the protection of the clear coat on many cars today.


As you roll down the road in your high polished show-room perfect vehicle, smile, and BE COOL!

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