Posts by Jared Elliot

Is Paintless Dent Repair the Right Choice for Your Car?

If your car has a scratch, dent, or ding, you might not relish the idea of paying lots of money to have it bumped out, but you might also not want to drive around with a beat-up car either. This might especially be true for those who may be thinking about selling their car and who know that even a sight nick can mean a reduced asking cost. Whatever your reasons for wanting to fix every minor scratch on your car, you might note if paintless dent repair is an option for you. 

1. Is paintless dent repair a quality fix?

In truth, paintless dent repair might be the highest-quality fix you can get for your car, as it means massaging out the dent from behind or the front, using special tools. There is no bonding agent, fillers, epoxy, or touchup paint involved in paintless dent repairs, so your car will look like it was never dented in the first place. You don’t need to worry about the bonding agent or filler getting cracked and brittle down the road, or about the paint not matching completely when you choose paintless dent repair.

2. Does paintless dent repair damage the paint?

You might think that the paint of a car would get chipped or cracked when the car is dented or dinged, but most of today’s car paints are meant to be very flexible so that they can actually bend slightly. Paintless dent repair shouldn’t crack or chip the paint if it’s still intact when the work begins.

3. Can all dents and dings be fixed with paintless dent repair?

If a dent is very big then it may have chipped the paint and you would need to have new paint put over it, even if you could massage it out. Some dents and dings are also so deep that the metal cannot be massaged out completely and it would need filler material. Also, if rust has been exposed from the dent, this usually needs sanding and new paint even if the dent is somewhat small. Your repair tech can tell you your options and note why paintless dent repair won’t work, if that’s the case.

4. Does paintless dent repair compromise the vehicle’s strength?

Massaging a dent out of a panel doesn’t somehow make the panel weaker; some very large dents might compromise a vehicle body strength and in those cases, you might want to have the panel replaced completely. However, massaging the dent back out of the panel doesn’t leave weak spots along the outside area of the dent or mean that you’re more likely to develop holes in that area.

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Why is my check engine light on?

Modern vehicles have an inboard computer analytical system that continually monitors the key operating systems, especially your engine and transmission system. The key reason for checking these systems is to make sure that the car is operating at maximum efficiency with the least possible emissions. Given that emission control and fuel economy have become more important, your car’s electronic system needs to continually adjust and tweak several parameters based on the existing driving conditions, including vehicle load, air or fuel mix and temperature to name just a few. When any of these parameters fall outside the tolerable range for operating a car, your check engine light will come on to notify you of an existing problem. As the vehicle owner, you should take your vehicle to a certified auto mechanic to restore it back to manufacturer specifications.

Possible reasons behind the check engine light

Issues with the mass air flow sensor

Initially, you may not encounter any severe driveability issues, though you may notice sluggishness or a reduction in power in your car’s system. This may be traced back to the mass air flow sensor which may be defective.

Lean condition

Modern vehicles use oxygen sensors to detect whether the air/fuel combination is too lean or too rich. If excess oxygen is detected, the computer assumes the mixture is very lean which means there’s not adequate fuel. Some of the lean symptoms include poor power output and the engine system running hotter than usual among other symptoms.

Rich condition

Likewise, if small amounts of oxygen are detected, the computer assumes the air/fuel combination is too rich, meaning either excess fuel or little oxygen. Symptoms include poor fuel mileage, excess fuel thinning, which quickly causes fresh engine oil to turn black, and build-up of sooty carbon residues on spark plugs. This condition is as a result of a defective or dirty mass air flow sensor.

Cylinder backfire

You may experience difficulty starting your engine, or the engine might idle, stumble or dillydally among a host of other driveability problems. This could be traced back to a defective spark plugs, a faulty ignition coil or an engine problem.

Knock sensor circuit breakdown

The knock sensor serves to evaluate spark knock. If a spark knock exists, the sensor generates a voltage signal that is detected by the computer and the check engine light illuminates on. With this failure, you may experience driveability complications such as power output failures and engine hesitation. Possible reasons could be a faulty knock sensor circuit. 

Whenever the check engine light comes on, have an auto mechanic inspect your car immediately.

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When Is It Time to Get Your Heavy-Duty Truck Wheels Aligned?

Proper wheel alignment is always necessary for any vehicle, and especially for heavy-duty trucks. Proper wheel alignment ensures that brakes are able to grip a vehicle’s tires properly, and the brakes on heavy-duty trucks already need to work harder to stop their heavier weight. When a heavy-duty truck has wheels that are out of alignment, this can be a safety hazard as it may be more likely to skid and slide when the brakes are applied. Note when it might be time to get your heavy-duty truck wheels aligned and why it’s so important to have this done when you notice any of these signs.

1. After a collision

After any type of collision and other repairs have been done, you want to have the truck’s wheels aligned. The collision may have slightly bent a rim or axle, or otherwise pushed the wheels out of alignment; you may not even realize this has happened until you’re back on the road. While it’s good to have the wheels aligned after any collision, it can be even more important if the collision happened anywhere near the truck’s wheel wells. This may have increased the likelihood that the truck’s tires are now out of alignment and this should be checked after other repairs are completed. 

2. When fuel economy is suddenly lowered

You may be filling up at the pump more often with your heavy-duty truck for a number of reasons; you may be overloaded with cargo you’re carrying or something you’re hauling, have problems with the exhaust, or simply need a tune-up. However, improper wheel alignment can also be the issue. Drag and tire rolling resistance can be a major factor in loss of fuel economy for any vehicle but especially with larger trucks that are already typically carrying heavier weight and larger loads when in operation. 

3. After hauling uneven loads

If you tend to haul uneven loads in your truck, meaning any load where the weight is not unevenly dispersed over the length and width of the cab, this can mean pressure on certain areas of the truck that affect the alignment. One side of the truck may tend to be weighed down so that the wheels begin to drag and the alignment becomes off-balance and then needs correcting. If you’ve been hauling any type of uneven loads, have the alignment checked and do this regularly if the loads you haul are always uneven.

Make sure to visit a mechanic who specializes in heavy vehicle wheel alignment, as not all mechanics will know how to work on big trucks.

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What to bring when you’re looking for spare parts in a junkyard

When looking for cheap spare parts for your car, one of the most common and easy ways to find them is to pay a junkyard a visit. These types of establishments offer you to look through their stock of broken cars that people have left there for the spare parts that you might need. However, just walking into a junkyard without the proper preparation is a bad idea and won’t do you much good. In order to make the most out of your scavenger hunt for spare parts in a junkyard, you need to bring the right tools.

For the cars

The most important equipment is what you use to acquire the spare parts with. For this, you’ll need a sturdy pry bar, a good hammer, a set of screwdrivers, and wrenches in different sizes. You can use the same tools that you use to work on your own car, as you will acquire the spare parts from the same type of cars. If you’re looking for Ford parts, for example, you will already know how your Ford looks like and can utilise the same type of tools. However, do remember that the cars you use to take spare parts from probably are in a worse condition than your car and can be completely rusted up, why you should bring a pry bar to get unnecessary material off. 

For safety

You should also remember to think about the safety issues with digging around in old cars for spare parts. To be safe, you also need to think about the tools that you need to protect yourself from various dangers in the junkyard. Always wear safety goggles when you’re working to protect your eyes from debris that might come shooting out when you’re pulling at it. Always use a thick pair of gloves and wear a protective shirt that covers your arms to avoid cuts. You should also consider using a breathing mask to avoid breathing in particles of rust and dried fluids.

Other things

You should also bring things you’ll need just for being out all day. Sunscreen might be a good idea if the weather is sunny and warm. In that case, you should also bring something to wear on your head. A hardhat would be preferable to also protect you from falling items from the cars, but a regular hat is sufficient to stay protected against the sun. You should also bring a bottle of water and some snacks. You’ll be doing hard work, and your body will need the nutrition. 

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4 Good-To-Know Components Of A Brake Service

Imagine driving on the highway at high speeds and realising that your brakes have given way. This dangerous situation could cause accidents and fatalities, so getting your brakes serviced is necessary to maintain your driving safety. While you should leave brake repair to a qualified car service mechanic, knowing everything involved in a brake service is always ideal. This guide will equip you with the good-to-know components of getting your brakes repaired at a car repair service.

Checking Brake Pads

During a brake service, the mechanic will thoroughly check your brake pads to ensure that they are not worn out. Brake pads are key components of a car’s braking system. When you hit the brake, the brake pad applies pressure and friction to the rotors. This pressure stops the tyre from rotating. Over time, these brake pads tend to wear out, especially if you drive in high-traffic conditions where constant braking is common. If you hear squealing sounds when you hit the brakes, then it’s probably because of a problem with your brake pads. They will need to be replaced at a car service company.

Inspecting Brake Rotors

Your brake pads clamp down on brake rotors or discs to stop the tyres from rotating. Over time, these rotors will start to thin out. Every car manufacturer has a thickness specification for their brake rotors. Your car service company will inspect these rotors to ensure they are within the specification for resurfacing. If they fall outside the recommended specification, then the car service will need to replace them completely.

Brake Caliper Checks

Brake calipers are usually always checked during a brake service. Containing the brake pads, a brake caliper is located above the rotor. Over time, these calipers may start leaking and will begin to fail. When the caliper fails, it is probably because corrosion and debris causes the piston to stick. This will eventually cause rust and leakage of the brake fluid. Your mechanic will inspect and fix this problem during a car service.

Checking Brake Fluid Levels

During any brake service, the brake fluid levels will be checked. If the level is below what is recommended, then the mechanic will refill the brake fluid. If the level drops often, the car is usually inspected for signs of leakage. Your car service mechanic will also check the colour of the brake fluid to ensure that it hasn’t burnt out or become contaminated.

Keep in mind that brakes are important components of your car, so don’t try any of these fixes without proper knowledge. If you have a problem with your brakes, make sure you get to a car service mechanic immediately.

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