Posts by Jared Elliot

Unmistakable Signs It’s Time to Get Your Car to a Mechanic

Cars don’t need to outright fail when on the road to need an urgent repair; sometimes they can still run and you can still control them even after something has gone wrong under the hood, but this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to keep driving the car in these situations. This can make the repair even more complicated and costly and cause excess wear and tear on the car. Note a few unmistakable signs that it’s time to get your car to a mechanic and what you might be facing by way of repairs.

Oil

Your car’s engine might be greasy and grimy, but you should never see oil outside the engine or dripping onto your garage floor. You should also never overlook the smell of burning oil; in some cases, the oil may have gotten into the fuel tank so that it’s burning, or it may be that you have an oil leak and the oil is dripping onto the exhaust, causing it to burn. If you see or smell oil in any way, have your car checked for oil leaks right away.

Smoke

Some smoke might come out of the tailpipe of your car when you start it and it’s running cold, but it should never smoke anywhere else or at any other time. Don’t assume you can run an overly warm engine until it smokes and then allow it to cool down; that excess heat causes more wear and tear so the engine might just seize up. Smoke also may mean that you have a fluid leak and the fluid is dripping onto the exhaust, as mentioned above. This can mean you’re burning up your transmission, if it’s not an oil leak. Smoke coming from a tire can mean that the brake pads are slipping and grinding excessively, and they could fail. In all these cases, a mechanic should address the problem as quickly as possible.

Sounds

A squealing sound often means that the bearings in the tires are going bad; if you ignore these, you may not be able to turn your car. Grinding often means that brake pads are worn down and need replacing. A thumping sound might mean that you have a broken shock or spring and this puts added stress on the axles and tie rods, which connect the tires to the steering column. A whining noise when you start the car may mean that the starter or ignition is bad and is continuing to work even after the car has started; it can eventually fail altogether if you don’t get it repaired.

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New Car Battery? Follow These Tips to Help it Last Longer

There is nothing like having a fresh, new car battery. You can rely on this battery to not die anytime soon without the added concern that you will go to start your car one day, only to find out it no longer has any juice left. However, even with a new battery, it is important to take good care of it in order to help it last as long as possible. With these tips, you will be able to extend the life of your new car battery.

Protect the Battery From Extreme Temperatures

Your car battery can handle a lot, but you should protect it from extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures. If your car tends to run hot or you live in a desert area where the temperatures are in triple digits all summer long, you might want to get a thermal blanket. This is a type of wrap that goes over the battery and keeps it protected from getting too hot. You also want to protect the battery from freezing temperatures in the winter, also by using a thermal blanket. You should also let your car warm up after starting it instead of just driving off right away.

Clean the Battery Routinely

Every time you are planning on working on your car with routine maintenance, make sure you also check your car battery. You want to keep the terminals of the battery clean, as they can get buildup and dirt that will then drain the battery’s power. Far too many drivers just ignore the battery and terminals completely, letting the buildup essentially kill their battery. Whether you are checking fluids on your car or getting a tune-up, these are good times to check the battery and clean it. All you need is a wet rag to remove the dirt buildup.

Only Use Accessories When Operating the Vehicle

Another common mistake people often make is using the car accessories even when not driving the car. You should keep the radio and GPS unit turned off completely until you have started the car and are about to start driving. Before you turn the car off, turn off these accessories so they aren’t using extra battery power when the battery isn’t being charged by driving. Also make sure no lights are being used when your car is not running.

It is a good idea to have mechanics take a look at the battery every time you have your car serviced. They can test the voltage and let you know ahead of time when it might be time for a new battery.

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A Few Simple Tips for Keeping Your Diesel Engine in Good Shape

A diesel engine is typically considered stronger than a standard petrol engine, so it’s often chosen when you’ll be consistently towing something and for heavier vehicles themselves. A diesel engine also doesn’t use spark plugs to start, so it doesn’t need the standard tune-up that other engines need. However, this doesn’t mean your vehicle’s diesel engine is indestructible. Note a few tips for keeping that engine in good shape so it lasts for years to come.

Replace gaskets in sets 

Because diesel engines usually work harder than standard petrol engines, the gaskets of the engine may get leaky sooner than you would see in other types of engines. If you notice that one is getting leaky or brittle or is sliding out of place, it’s good to change all of the gaskets at the same time. These are what keep the fuel in the engine and help keep it separate from oil, and when one starts to break down, there’s a good chance they’re all breaking down. If you replace them in a set, you’ll always have quality gaskets that protect your engine from damage.

Check the glow plugs

A diesel engine starts with heat, not a spark. Usually the outside temperature is warm enough for the engine to start, but for cold weather, your engine will rely on glow plugs. These are small plugs that create a tiny bit of heat around your engine, so it can start in winter months and cold climates. If the glow plugs wear out, your engine may not have enough heat to start and you may be putting extra wear and tear on it by trying to start it cold. Have the glow plugs checked every year before wintertime or if you’re taking your vehicle to a cold climate, and replace them as necessary.

Have a water separator installed

 A water separator is located near the fuel filter and it strains out excess water in the fuel. Not all diesel engines have one installed, but this can mean having only high-quality fuel delivered to your engine and not something that is watered down. In turn, your engine won’t struggle so hard to run, as it would with watered-down fuel. Once the water separator is installed or you find that your engine has one, be sure it’s emptied every time you take your engine in for an oil change so it’s always operating optimally.

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The Benefits of Rotating Car Tyres Regularly

You may be wondering whether or not it is necessary to rotate the tyres on your new car regularly. Read on and discover some of the benefits that you are likely to realise if you rotate the tyres on your car on a regular basis.

Tyres Wear Evenly

The different tyres on your car wear out at different rates. For instance, the front tyres on a front-wheel drive car wear out more quickly than the rear tyres. This is because the drive wheels experience greater wear as you accelerate the vehicle. Transferring such tyres to the rear enables them to wear out at a slower rate as those tyres that were at the back undergo the accelerated wear of being used as drive wheels. Consequently, all four tyres will last longer if you keep rotating them as part of your routine car maintenance activities.

Less Damage to the Suspension System

When tyres are not rotated regularly, they wear out unevenly. This can cause vibrations that can strain the suspension system of the car. The vibrations result from the weight of the car resting on tyres that differ in size due to the extensive wear on some of those tyres. This strain can cause various components of the suspension system, such as the shock absorbers, to wear out quickly.

You Benefit from Mileage Warranties

Some car manufacturers may void the warranty on the car if there are no records to show that the tyres on that car were rotated regularly. Such manufacturers may even prescribe how you should rotate those tyres in order for the warranty to be valid. Thus, rotating the tyres will enable you to take advantage of the car warranty if the vehicle develops mechanical problems during the period when the warranty is still applicable.

Early Detection of Undercarriage Problems

Removing the wheels gives you an opportunity to observe the undercarriage of the car. This visual inspection can enable you to identify developing problems, such as corrosion, before they cause extensive damage to the car. Such problems can be rectified at a fraction of what it would have cost you if the problem hadn’t been tackled in time.

As you can see, several benefits may accrue from rotating the tyres on your vehicle regularly. Contact a car service professional for advice about the tyre rotation pattern and interval that is suitable for your make and model of car.

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What to Do If You Think Your Vehicle Has Been Towed

It’s a traumatic experience to return to where you parked your car, only to be greeted by an empty space. Your car might have been towed, or it might have been stolen. You need to act quickly to ensure that the necessary action is taken. So what do you need to do?

Checking the Signs

Look for signage that dictates any parking restrictions for the area. This signage might not be located right next to where you parked, so you should walk down the street until you spot the necessary information. The signage will have a telephone number to call. This might be a number for the appropriate department of the local council, or it might be for the towing company that is authorised to remove improperly parked vehicles.

Stolen or Towed

If you can locate such signage, call the number immediately to find out where your vehicle has been taken. If no signage can be found, or if the towing authorities are not in possession of your vehicle, you should call the police to report the vehicle as missing.

Retrieving the Vehicle

You will need to go to the appropriate impound yard to retrieve the vehicle. Find out if you need to make an appointment first, but it will generally be possible to do so immediately. You will need to provide photo ID to retrieve the vehicle. You will also need to pay a hefty release fee to retrieve your vehicle, and this amount will vary depending on which authority has impounded the vehicle. For example, small towns might charge less than if your vehicle was impounded in a large city. It just depends on which council oversees the process.

Additional Fees

It’s in your best interests to pay the retrieval fee as soon as possible, even if you plan to dispute the towing at a later stage. There are usually a certain number of days when the vehicle is held for a flat fee, and additional storage charges might be imposed if the vehicle is not retrieved within this timeframe. Query this fee and timeframe with the towing company or the local council.

Disputing the Towing

If you wish to dispute the towing, you will usually need to do so with the local council. Find out their process for this, and you will generally need to fill in a specific form. Your options for successfully disputing a towing are limited. You might be entitled to a refund of the towing fee in extenuating circumstances, which are generally limited to medical emergencies (for which you will be required to provide proof). Incorrect or missing signage can also be grounds to successfully dispute a towing.

While traumatic, it’s important to take quick action if you discover that your vehicle is not where you left it.

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