Learning To Fix My Own Car

Aftermarket Car Parts: Pros And Cons

Posted by on Dec 9th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Aftermarket Car Parts: Pros And Cons

When it comes to purchasing parts for your vehicle, you’re usually faced with two options: factory and aftermarket auto body parts. Factory parts refer to the maker of your vehicle’s own, branded products; these are the exact same ones that were installed in your vehicle. Aftermarket auto body parts, on the flip side, may actually be the exact same product, right down to the design and materials used, but your vehicle’s developer does not make them. Aftermarket products can be made and distributed by anyone. There are a number of both pros and cons you need to consider before you decide if purchasing aftermarket auto body parts is right for you. Pros First and foremost, as you may have guessed, perhaps aftermarket auto body parts’ biggest selling point is their price. Generally speaking, a great deal of what you’re paying for in the world of auto body parts is the brand name. Since aftermarket parts do not share the brand name of the developer of your vehicle, you will find that the price you will pay will be considerably lower. In addition, the competition that exists between aftermarket auto body parts developers is quite huge, which tends to keep the prices as low as they possibly can be. Branded, original manufactured parts can be priced as much as 60% more than aftermarket parts. The second advantage that aftermarket parts have over factory parts is the fact that the selection from which you can choose is absolutely massive. You can select from a wide range of parts that correspond to the part you need to replace on your vehicle. Due to this wide range of parts, some brands will offer features or advantages to the factory part or may address an issue that created some form of inadequate behavior in the factory part. Finally, your shopping options are second to none when it comes to aftermarket auto body parts. In addition to manufacturer competition keeping prices low, retailers are also in competition to sell these parts. You can often find wholesale and overstock prices readily available online and, as such, you can find a great quality product for a fraction of factory price.  Cons Although the quality of aftermarket parts can be a pro, in some regards, as aftermarket manufacturers race to provide you with a product that you would desire over another aftermarket manufacturer, you must also take into consideration that there is no guarantee of quality. Take into consideration that so many factory parts are mass-produced for mass appeal. This creates less time for quality control and a significantly less time is spent fine-tuning and testing these parts when compared to aftermarket auto body parts. Although most aftermarket parts are of high quality and up to a great standard, you will need to stay aware and shop around in order to avoid parts that are lower quality. Corresponding to this problem is the fact that, in almost every aftermarket situation, there is no warranty involved. Warranties are, however, standard practice issues in almost every factory auto body part situation. The fit and finish may even be a bit wonky as well. The chances of your aftermarket auto body part fitting and aesthetically corresponding to the rest of your vehicle is quite slim. You may be able to get more...

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Rust-Jacking And Brake Shoes: What Fleet Managers Need To Know

Posted by on Nov 24th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Rust-Jacking And Brake Shoes: What Fleet Managers Need To Know

Fleet managers in the United States must make sure their trucks are safe to drive, or they can face serious legal consequences. Although you need to thoroughly check your trucks on a scheduled basis, some parts are more liable to wear than others and must therefore receive closer attention. Brake shoes are a vital part of a truck’s ability to stop safely in an emergency, so it’s crucial that you spot and deal with any of the early signs of damage or wear. Find out how rust-jacking can affect a truck’s brake shoes, and learn more about the steps you need to take to guarantee the vehicle is fit to drive. How brake shoes work Truck manufacturers have used brake shoes for several decades, and these vital components are a core part of any drum brake system. When a truck driver brakes, a wheel cylinder forces the brake shoes out and against the system’s spinning drums. This process creates friction, which slows the drum and brings the vehicle to a halt. Brake shoes are curved steel parts that manufacturers coat with a material that increases friction on one side. This makes the part work more efficiently when the driver activates the brakes. If the brake shoes don’t work as effectively as they should, the truck will skid, which could result in disaster. The problem of rust-jacking When a truck driver brakes, the brake lining can move fractionally away from the brake shoe. This can happen due to the sudden extreme temperature that the friction causes and/or because of fine particles from the road getting in between the two parts. Ongoing movement every time the truck driver brakes can slowly wear away the special layer on the brake shoe. In turn, this process (micro-abrasion) can expose the bare metal of the brake shoe. Water and grime from the road surface can then quickly touch the bare metal, triggering the surface to oxidize and form rust. Layers of rust can gradually build up between the shoe and the brake lining. Eventually, the lining could crack, which could seriously impair the truck’s ability to brake safely. Signs to look for Certain signs strongly indicate that you have a problem with rust-jacking. Common characteristics include: You have at least 1/8″ of usable brake lining remaining above the rivet heads. The lining buckles between the rivet heads, leaving a gap between the shoe and the lining block. Visible cracks run horizontally across the lining and along the edge of the lining block. Certain trucks are more susceptible to the problem. For example, trucks that regularly drive in wet or damp conditions are obviously more likely to experience the issue. Exposure to sea water or salt and chemical compounds used to de-ice road surfaces can also accelerate the process. Perhaps less obviously, trucks that cover less mileage can become more vulnerable because the shoes don’t need to work so often. In turn, this allows rust to develop more quickly and to a greater extent. The quality of the brake parts also makes a difference. Many brake shoes now include stronger, thicker layers of paint that are better able to resist micro-abrasion. Managing rust-jacking If you see the signs of rust-jacking, you don’t actually have to throw away old shoes every time. If the damage isn’t...

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Choosing A Vehicle For Towing Horses: What You Need To Think About

Posted by on Nov 13th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Choosing A Vehicle For Towing Horses: What You Need To Think About

If you intend to tow horses, you need a vehicle that can safely and efficiently handle the task. Buyers can now choose from hundreds of SUVs and trucks, but the choice can become overwhelming if you don’t really know what you’re looking for. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle to tow your horses, talk to your dealer about the five following specifications before you choose a particular model. Towing capacity Before you can hitch your horse trailer up to your vehicle, you need to make sure the truck can cope with the weight. To do this, you’ll need to check various numbers listed in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Statistics to look for include: Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) – the recommended maximum loaded weight of the vehicle without the trailer attached Gross combined vehicle weight rating (GCVWR) – the recommended maximum loaded weight of the tow vehicle and trailer Gross trailer weight rating (GTWR) – the recommended maximum weight of a fully loaded trailer that the vehicle can cope with Carefully consider the GTWR that may apply when towing horses. This type of live load is different to a static haul like luggage or equipment because the horses may throw their weight around in transit. As such, you should aim for a GTWR that is higher than the actual weight of a loaded trailer, so you can still cope with shifts in weight. Curb weight The curb weight tells you how much a fully fueled towing vehicle weighs when empty of passengers and cargo. Heavier towing vehicles can generally cope better with the strain of a trailer, and you’re also less likely to lose control if the trailer lurches suddenly. That aside, you don’t necessarily need a towing vehicle that’s larger than your trailer. A strong, compact truck or SUV can often cope with a larger trailer, and this combination should mean that the horses get a smoother ride. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to get a vehicle that largely matches the weight of a loaded horse trailer. Wheelbase The wheelbase is the distance from the front axle to the rear axle of the towing vehicle. A longer wheelbase will make the drive more stable, with less risk that the horse trailer will push down on the rear axle and lift up the front end of the towing vehicle. A heavy, powerful truck or SUV may still struggle to cope with a trailer if the wheelbase is too short. As such, you may want to consider a longer wheelbase, or you can talk to your dealer about an optional weight distribution system that you can use when towing. Drive system            Rear-wheel drive directs power to the axle bearing the most weight while you are towing. Front-wheel drive offers better traction control, but isn’t as effective at controlling the rear end of the towing vehicle. Four-wheel drive constantly directs power to the front and back wheels of the towing vehicle, while all-wheel drive systems redirect the power as necessary. All-wheel drive systems add weight to the towing vehicle, which can affect the vehicle’s maximum towing power. Nonetheless, if you need to tow your horse trailer on trail rides or across rough terrain, this type of system is probably worth considering. Tow...

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Police Officers: It’s Time For Your Department To Buy A Semi-Truck

Posted by on Nov 6th, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Police Officers: It’s Time For Your Department To Buy A Semi-Truck

Police officers in states that have laws against texting and driving are tasked with a difficult chore. They must do their best to limit the accidents and injuries associated with distracted driving, yet there’s no easy way to tell when drivers are fidgeting with their phones while on the road. That is, until now. If you’re in charge of a police department in a no texting while driving state, read on to learn why it’s time to submit a request for fund approval to purchase a semi-truck. Texting While Driving Stats In 2013, 3,154 people in the United States lost their lives and 424,000 more were injured as the result of distracted driving. Many of these fatalities and injuries stemmed from drivers who are texting or playing with smartphone apps while on the road. Yet, despite the dangers of it and the fact that it is now the leading cause of teen death, plenty of people still use their cellphones while operating a motor vehicle. Worse yet, those in the smartphone industry are worsening the problem by introducing apps specifically geared to be used while driving. Such apps are often distracting; some even prompt drivers to enter information as they encounter different obstacles on the road. There is no denying that measures need to be taken to enforce laws that prohibit texting and cellphone use while on the road, and that responsibility lies with you and your department. How A Semi-Truck Can Help Fortunately, troopers in Tennessee have come up with an effective and slightly sneaky way to combat the problem of cell phone use on the road — they drive around in semi-trucks and look for drivers engaged in cellphone activities. Because the rigs sit so high off the ground, the troopers can see directly into the cabins of standard vehicles with a quick downward glance. If, upon looking in a vehicle, they notice that the driver is texting, checking their email, or playing with an app, the semi-driving officer notifies another squad member who is stationed close-by in a police car. The officer in the police car will then pull the vehicle over and issue a warning or ticket.  The system is effective not only because it allows police officers to finally have a way to clearly see when drivers are using their phones, but also because drivers who are guilty of cellphone use on the road don’t get the chance to hide their distracted behavior; they don’t expect that the big rig next to them is being driven by somebody who can issue them a ticket. How Your Department Can Afford A Semi Of course, putting these efforts into effect can be expensive. It will cost you, on average, $4,200 to train each driver who will be responsible for operating the semi, and those drivers will need to spend an average of 4 to 6 weeks training to drive a big truck. You’ll also have the cost of the truck itself, which will vary depending on its age and condition. Fortunately, you won’t need any bells or whistles on the truck — it’s only requirement is that it’s high enough to peer in vehicles — so you should be able to find a reasonably priced used rig for as little as $15,000. Contact a professional supplier, such...

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About Me

After getting stranded on the side of the road with an overheated engine, I realized I never wanted to find myself in that situation again. After I finally got help and returned home, I vowed to learn more about auto repairs. I spent the next few months reading books, attending automotive seminars, and practicing repairs. Cars became a big hobby for me, and now I don't get nervous about troubleshooting on the road. This blog is all about learning how to fix your own car and understanding when to work with professional technicians. After all, it could save you a lot of time and money.

March 2017
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