Thursday, August 15, 2013

Transmission fluid

The transmission undergoes a lot of stress.  The grit you see in used transmission fluid is actually bits of metal that wear off the gears in the transmission.  In addition to that, the transmission operates at very high temperatures.  Usually it's 100 to 150 degrees higher than engine temperatures.  Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and loose efficiency.

As the fluid gets older, it gets gritty and doesn't lubricate and cool the transmission as well - leading to even more wear.  The fluid can actually get sludgy and plug up the maze of fluid passages inside the transmission.  At best, your transmission won't operate smoothly.  At worse, it could lead to costly damage.

Monday, August 12, 2013

For the rainy season

  • Check the strainer, funnel, the fuel tank to make sure there are no leaks or holes to become the entrance to the water so that fuel is not mixed with water.
  • Besides fuel, check also the conclusion of the electrical system. Make sure that water will not enter because the incoming water will make the car broke down due to short-circuit.
  • At the time of the car subject to rain, do not wait for the water on the surface of dry car to be washed. This is an important part of car maintenance.
  • Spray a Silicone Spray periodically on auto components made of rubber and glass. This is to maintain flexibility and strengthen it.
  • Use Contact Cleaner in the process of maintenance of your car. Use this on a car part that uses the electric system to anticipate the influx of water from the rain or puddles.
  • Periodically apply lubricant to the car door hinges to prevent rusting.
  • May be located in the trunk of the car or covered parking (car should’ve in the dry) so as not to get hit again after rain washed out or before the rain hit.
    Lightly coat the floor inside the car with the newspaper so that when it rains, you can sign in without wetting the floor. This will help prevent the growth of mould in a car.

    Friday, August 9, 2013

    Brake fluid

    Why: The fluid in your car’s brake hydraulic system transfers your foot pressure at the brake pedal into stopping power at the wheels. An adequate supply of clean brake fluid is absolutely essential for safe vehicle operation. Old, moisture-contaminated brake fluid, or a low fluid level that allows air to enter the system, can lead to brake fade or a complete loss of braking power.

    When: Inspect the brake fluid level at every oil change. If the level has fallen below the “low” mark on the fluid reservoir, it usually indicates major brake wear or a leak somewhere in the system; have the brakes inspected as soon as possible. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that the brake fluid be replaced periodically to flush moisture and contaminants from the system. Every two years is a common interval; check your vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations.

    Bottom line: Old brake fluid or fluid at low levels can result in your brakes fading or completely failing.  Plus, a leak in the brake line can cause a vehicle fire if the fluid drips onto a heated surface such as a catalytic converter.    

    Monday, August 5, 2013

    Engine air filter

    Just as our bodies need clean air to function properly, your SUV engine needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let’s go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving on Michigan freeways, twenty pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce twenty pounds of carbon dioxide?
    The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about twelve thousand gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your SUV needs a lot of air to keep going. A lot of clean air is best.
    Rick's Automotive: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?You’ve seen the pictures of people in Japan wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your SUV also works better when its internals are clean. When your SUV air filter’s dirty, it simply can’t trap any more dirt, so the pollutants just pass through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the motor itself. Not surprisingly, burning dust and pollen in your SUV engine does you no good.
    So, we’re talking potential damage for Michigan drivers. But another big thing is wasted fuel. Your SUV engine management computer tries to mix the correct amount of air in with the fuel. If the filter’s clogged, there isn’t enough air for the optimal fuel to air mix and that really messes with gas mileage.

    The verdict: When your SUV engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on the level of air pollution where you drive in Michigan.
    When you look at the air filter on your furnace at home and see it’s all clogged up with dust and dirt, you don’t hesitate to replace it. When your technician shows you your nasty engine air filter, you now know why you should go ahead and replace it.

    Friday, August 2, 2013

    The steering feels loose. Why?

    The most common causes of steering looseness include worn tie rod ends, a worn idler arm or center link (on vehicles without rack and pinion steering), a worn steering gear or a worn steering rack.

     Normally, your steering wheel should have no more than about a quarter inch of play. Any more means something is worn or loose and needs to be fixed. 

    The inner and outer tie rod ends should have no perceptible looseness. Worn or loose tie rod ends are especially dangerous because if one pulls apart you'll lose steering control. Worn tie rod ends can also cause rapid tire wear.

    If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle with conventional steering (not rack and pinion steering), the idler arm should have no more than the specified amount of maximum play. Refer to a manual for the specs and recommended procedure for checking it. Checking idler arm play usually involves pulling on the arm with a specified force and measuring how much the arm deflects.

    If your vehicle has a lot of miles on it, the steering gear or rack itself may be worn. On conventional steering boxes, there's usually an adjustment screw that can be used to take some of the slack out of the system. With rack and pinion steering, though, adjustment is usually little help because the rack develops center wear. If the pinion is adjusted to compensate, the rack may bind when turned to either side. The only cure for a center wear condition is to replace the rack with a new one (an entire new rack assembly).

    Other Causes

     Sometimes the steering will feel loose because of a worn U-joint coupling in the steering column. Loose or worn wheel bearings can also make the steering wander and feel loose. 

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    Windshield washer fluid

    WHY: Rain, insects, grime and other debris on your windshield will compromise your vision if your windshield wipers cannot remove them. A supply of the proper washer fluid will help your wipers remove these contaminants effectively.

    WHEN: Check your washer fluid reservoir monthly and more often when you use the washers frequently. Top it up with a washer solution formulated to aid in the removal of insects and other debris, and during winter, be sure to use a solution with antifreeze protection. Finally, test the washer spray nozzles for proper operation and aim.

    BOTTOM LINE: Whether your windshield becomes covered with bugs in the summer or ice and salt in the winter, it’s critical to keep it clear for your safety. 

    Friday, July 12, 2013

    Fuel saver tip

    Here’s a question for Michigan motorists: How long have you been enjoying the romantic glow of your check engine light?

    Hey, it’s not there to create ambiance; it’s a warning that something’s wrong. (And, by the way, Homer Simpson’s fix of covering it with tape is not a good idea.)

    If your check engine light comes on, check your gas cap. A loose gas cap can cause a false sensor reading that’ll make the check engine light turn on.

    Many conditions that trigger the check engine light can hurt your fuel economy. A lot.

    If your date’s eyes are smoldering in the soft glow of the check engine light, try to think of all the gas money you’ll save by getting it fixed.

    Monday, July 8, 2013

    Troubleshooting noises

    It is very useful to be able to troubleshoot your car problem from the noises it makes.
    Firstly, look for the obvious,
    • Have you driven over something that could have damaged your car?
    • Have you been the only driver ... or could someone else have bumped something?
    • Have you hit a curb a bit hard?
    • Hit a really big bump that made your suspension make a loud "thunk" noise?
    Any of these events could cause your wheels to go out of alignment. When the wheels are not aligned you will get a lot of tire noise.
    Two totally different tire noises are common.
    1. A normal tire rumbling noise on the highway, but much loader than usual, or coming from one side of the car only, usually the one closest to the curb.
    2. A screeching sound when you go around corners even slowly.

    Other suspension noises.

    If you hear a constant rumbling noise coming from one front wheel, that changes as you go faster or slower, it will often be a worn wheel bearing. No big deal to repair except on 4wd vehicles, where it can be expensive.
    The other cause of this noise is exclusive to front wheel drive or 4 wheel drive vehicles, and is a bit tricky to pick.
    Drive joint noise. CV joints or short shafts. They all have universal joints that can make noise when worn out.
    A quick way to see if a front wheel drive vehicle has worn out CV joints is to drive the car in a tight circle and listen for a clicking sound. The clicking sound means that the CV joint needs replacing. Usually 3 to 4 hundred dollars for both sides. (Always replace both sides)

    Tire pressure.

    If tire pressure is too low the tire will make a large rumbling sound that will seem to be coming through the vehicle.This will be more pronounced as you increase speed.
    This is because the tire is having it's walls destroyed! Put air in it now!
    Keeping front tire pressures identical for both sides is essential for good braking.

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013

    Cold Fact

    How did we ever get along without air conditioning in our cars? It's a feature we take for granted until, suddenly, it's blowing hot air.

    In the past few years, many owners have discovered that fixing an inoperative air conditioner can cost a few hundred dollars or more, depending upon the make and model of vehicle. The reason is that the old standby R-12 refrigerant, trade named DuPont Freon, has been replaced by R-134a. Touted as being environmentally safer than its predecessor, R-134a has been standard since 1994.

    If your older vehicle needs major repairs to the air conditioning system you can expect to replace refrigerant and the oil in the compressor in addition to the old components. You also may need to install a retrofit conversion. Do not allow anyone to mix refrigerants. They're not inter-changeable. You cannot add R-134a to your older air conditioner without first flushing the system.  Some substitutes are volatile mixtures of propane, butane and flammable hydrocarbons. Keep in mind the fact that if your vehicle is leaking refrigerant, you're damaging the ozone layer.

    An annual inspection of the vehicle, including the air conditioning system, may help forestall costly repairs.

    Friday, June 21, 2013

    Tire pressure

    • Lower gas mileage - Lower tire pressure means lower gas mileage.  For each pound of under inflation, your gas mileage can drop up to 1 percent!
    • Tire failure - Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failure.
    • Faster tread wear - Lower tire pressure also causes the tread to wear out faster and forces premature replacement.  
    • Poorer handling - The point where the tire meets the road is a crucial element in determining the ride control of your vehicle.  Under inflation prevents your ride control system from functioning properly.
    So what is the proper tire pressure for your vehicle?

    While there is a lot of information available in the market, the best way to determine this is refer to your owner's manual.  Each vehicle is designed by the manufacturer with a specific tire and tire pressure in mind.  Some things to keep in mind.
    • The proper tire pressure is available to you in a number of locations in the owner's manual or on the door jam or doorpost.  Many vehicles now also have sticker on the interior of the gas cap.
    • The pressure listed on the exterior of the tire is the maximum pressure that the tire should be inflated to, not necessarily the ideal pressure.
    • Always take the tire's pressure when the tires are cold driven less than one mile.
    • Tires will lose about one pound per square inch (PSI) for every 10-degree drop in the temperature.
    • Tires will also lose pressure over time about 1 PSI per month.
    • To improve the life of your tires, rotate them on a regular basis - every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.  Every other oil change is a good rule of thumb.

    Monday, June 17, 2013

    Good habits!

    Tires: Good Pressure, Little Wear and Rotation
    Tires lose pressure every month, and more when the temperatures drop. To maintain proper pressure, check your tires monthly and make sure they're filled up to their recommended psi rating (which can be found on the driver's side door paneling, in the owner's manual or sometimes on the tires themselves).

    Drivers should also check the tread on the tires regularly for wear; replace excessively worn tires. If it has been over 5,000 miles since your tires have last been rotated, it is important to do so because there's a risk of having one tire wear more significantly than the others.

    Finally, if you live in a region where the temperature consistently rests around freezing during the winter months, it's a good time to start looking around for winter tires.

    Oil: Switch to Synthetic

    Lower temperatures can add stress on your engine. To prevent engine wear, change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual. A switch to synthetic oil, if you're not using it already, will help your car operate more efficiently.

    Synthetic motor oils, such as Mobil 1, are specifically designed to protect your engine in wide temperature ranges. For example, Mobil 1's synthetic 5W-30 flows rapidly to critical engine parts during cold start-ups, provides outstanding wear protection and keeps engines clean and running smoothly.

    Cooling System: Flush and Refill

    The cooling system (radiator) should be checked for leaks and low levels. Additionally, it should be flushed and refilled as recommended in the owner's manual. When checking, remember to never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled.

    While coolant may mostly be associated with warmer weather, a vehicle's coolant (or antifreeze) is equally important in the colder months to make sure the vehicle can withstand the temperatures. A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and distilled water is the usual recommendation.

    Full Engine Tune-up: Systems and Fluid Levels

    If you haven't had your yearly-recommended basic tune-up, now's the time to have that done. Cooler weather will only make existing problems worse. A tune-up will correct engine problems such as stalling and diminished power, and will also ensure that fluid levels (for brakes, transmission, windshield washer, etc.) are topped off or replaced if needed.      

    Friday, June 14, 2013

    What's a differential?

    To better understand what a differential does, think about your local high school track.  There are lanes marked off on the track.  For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered.  The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lines.  That's to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes.  Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

    The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

    It’s a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars weigh between three and six thousand pounds – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

    That’s a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.

    The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that breakdown over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.

    Your technician will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then he’ll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    Summer Roadtrip Weather is near!

    With economic concerns on most people’s minds, the old-fashioned auto vacation is poised for a comeback, as families looking for convenience and ready mobility over the expense of air travel to exotic destinations. 

    But with summer weather, comes special automotive maintenance challenges; extreme heat, humidity, and heavy stop-and-go traffic can cause marginal systems to fail.   

    The experts at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offer the following tips on getting your vehicle ready for your summer vacation:

    • Read the owner’s manual and follow the recommended service schedules. The manual contains a complete checklist of services and schedules and other important information about your vehicle.  
    • If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, look for repair facilities with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own, modern equipment in the service bays, and signs of qualified automotive technicians as evidenced by trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work and training classes, as well as national certification of the individual technicians by ASE.  
    • Flush and refill the cooling system (radiator) according to the service manual’s recommendations. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. If you are doing your own work, make sure the engine has cooled down before removing the radiator cap and make sure you choose the proper coolant for your vehicle make and model.  
    • Have engine performance problems--hard starts, rough idling, stalling--corrected. You’ll get better gasoline mileage and you might just prevent more expensive repairs later on. For example, something as simple as a rough idle could indicate an underlying problem that could ruin your vehicle’s catalytic converter over time. The old adage, “Pay me now or pay me later,” is especially true with today’s high-tech, computerized systems.  
    • The tightness and condition of belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a qualified auto technician. Most do-it-yourselfers do not have the proper equipment. But weekenders can look for signs of wear, cracking, or frayed belts. And, once again, don’t ignore the service schedules listed in the owner’s manual.      
    • Have a marginally operating air conditioner system serviced by a qualified technician. The air conditioners on older vehicles often contain ozone-depleting chemicals that could be released into the air through improper or incompetent service.
    • Change the oil and oil filter as specified in owner’s manual. (Properly dispose of used oil.) Polls of ASE-certified technicians indicate that this is one of the most neglected services, and one that can greatly reduce the life of your automobile, light truck, or SUV.
    • Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended in the service manual.
    • Check the condition of tires, including the spare. Let the tires “cool down” before checking their pressure. Uneven wear, ‘cupping,’ vibrations, or ‘pulling’ to one side indicates problems with your tires or suspension system. 
    • Don’t neglect your transmission. Costly repairs can be prevented by routine service. 
    • For safety and convenience, inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs. Replace worn wiper blades and keep plenty of washer solvent on hand to fight summer’s dust and insects.   

    Monday, June 10, 2013

    Keep going with battery replacement!

    Batteries are all different. Some cars have a space especially made for a smaller battery for instance.  Larger engines or cold climates need a more powerful battery to get up and go.  But consider it this way, there is good, better, and best.  Now more expensive batteries have a longer warranty so paying a little more up front, not a bad idea.

    Friday, June 7, 2013

    Wheel Bearings

    Wheel bearings are pretty simple parts. They’re made of high quality steel and are engineered to last 100,000 miles or more if properly cared for. The bearings do two very important jobs: First they allow the wheel to freely rotate with as little friction as possible. Second, they support the weight of the vehicle. For example, if your car weighs 3,600 pounds, each wheel has to support approximately 900 pounds. That’s a lot of heavy lifting over many, many thousands of miles.
    Even though wheel bearings are relatively simple, they need to be in near perfect condition to do their job. The bearings are packed with heavy grease to lubricate and protect them. A seal keeps the grease in and water and dirt out. It’s when the seal starts to leak that problems begin. The grease can become contaminated; causing the wheel bearings to overheat and ultimately fail.

    The first sign that your wheel bearings are in trouble is an unusual noise coming from a wheel. It could be a chirping, growling, rumbling or a cyclic sound. The noise could get louder or even disappear at certain speeds. Your technician at Delker's can inspect for bearing wear by lifting the vehicle and checking for play in the wheel.

    Now some wheel bearing assemblies are factory sealed. That means that they cannot be serviced – they can only be replaced. Those that aren’t sealed can be serviced on schedule. The bearings are removed, cleaned and inspected. If the bearings are still good, they’re re-installed – if not, they’re replaced. They are then packed in grease and a new seal is installed.

    If your vehicle has a factory sealed wheel bearing assembly, the entire assembly needs to be replaced when trouble arises. Unfortunately, the parts are pretty pricy – but they usually last about 150,000 miles as long as the seals hold up.

    Now, even a good seal cannot keep out water that’s exerting pressure on the seal. So if you’ve driven through hub deep water your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they’re serviceable. If you have factory sealed bearings, you just need to watch for signs of premature failure.
    If your wheel bearings can be serviced, your owner’s manual will recommend an interval, usually around 30,000 miles.

    Now, if you have any sort of trailer, don’t forget its wheel bearings. They probably need to be serviced even more frequently. This is especially true for boat trailers that are used to launch the boat by backing it into the water. These should be serviced every year, usually at the end of the season so that the bearings don’t have the opportunity to sit and rust all winter.

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    Suspension: Shocks and Struts

    When you hear the word ‘suspension‘, you may think back to those energetic days of grade school. Well, your car’s suspension is actually a good thing because it keeps your car up off the road and helps provide a comfy ride. It needs to keep your wheels firmly planted over bumps and through curves. Your suspension system has many parts. If you look under your car, it’s basically everything that connects your wheels to the car’s frame. These are heavy duty parts that do a lot of work. They need to be inspected for damage and excessive wear at least once a year. A good time for this is when you get your annual alignment service.

    Here are some warning signs that your suspension may have problems:
    • the car pulls to one side;
    • it wanders;
    • the steering is erratic;
    • you see uneven tire wear;
    • you experience a poor ride or handling;
    • you see oil leaking from shocks
    . . . You just don’t feel in control when you’re driving.

    Some suspension parts just wear out with use. Shocks and struts eventually lose their ability to control your ride. Wheel bearings need to be repacked every couple of years. And some suspension pieces need to be lubricated when you get your oil changed. Your service advisor at Delker's Automotive can oversee an inspection and tell you what problems you may have.
    If you’re in an accident, your suspension can be damaged or knocked out of alignment. Even a minor accident, like hitting a curb around Michigan or even a large rock can mess things up. With a minor accident it’s tempting to just get an alignment or wheel balance to correct the problem. But if there’s some damage, a simple alignment won’t actually fix the problem, and you’ll just have to align it again after the repairs are made. So if you have an accident, get your suspension system inspected right away. Suspension problems should be fixed immediately because they can lead to unsafe handling.

    One big cause of suspension damage is potholes – those nasty magnets that seem to draw our tires right into them. Well, here are some tips for avoiding damage from potholes: First, keep your tires at their full air pressure. That gives tires their maximum resiliency and will hopefully keep your wheels or other suspension parts from crunching on a big hole. Next, just pay attention. When you see a hole you can’t miss, slow down before you hit it. Driving at a slower speed will limit the damage, and may keep your drink from spilling. But don’t brake directly over the pothole. That will cause the car’s weight to shift forward and add to the potential damage.

    Tuesday, June 4, 2013

    Wheel Alignment

    You may have an alignment problem if your car drifts or pulls to one side, your steering wheel’s off center, you have uneven tire wear or your car doesn’t feel like it handles right as you drive down our local Michigan streets.

    When all of a vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other objects around Michigan are great ways to knock your car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels starts pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.

    Driving for an extended time when your car is out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. Sometimes the tire can be worn so badly that it will fail.
    At the very least, you’ll have to replace your tires sooner. You could end up with premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive. The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars.

    Now, let’s talk about some alignment basics. Wheels are adjustable for toe, caster and camber. The ideal alignment for your car was designed by its engineers.

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Air Conditioning Service

    How’s the air feeling in your ride? Are you refreshed and cooled with full air flow when your A/C is pumping? Well, if you answered “Yes, I am as cool as a cucumber,” you can cross A/C inspection off your list.

    For all the “No” respondents: do you fall into the “my A/C is not cold enough” or the “it’s taking way too long to cool down,” side of the spectrum? Don’t sweat, stop in for an A/C Performance Check and we’ll have you back rolling down those hot summer streets cooler than ever. So chill, your A/C is only an inspection away from cooler days.