Tips for Making Used Cars Feel New Again

Tips for Making Used Cars Feel New AgainPurchasing used cars is a great way to save money, but some may feel as if they are not as nice looking as brand new vehicles. Many pre-owned vehicles are in excellent condition both cosmetically and mechanically. Proper maintenance of both the inside and outside can add more life to the car and keep it looking great. For those who feel as if their used cars are in need of a little sprucing up, consider some of these tips.

Clean the Interior

Keeping the interior of the vehicle clean is one of the best ways to spruce up used cars. Pull everything out from the inside and the trunk, and vacuum the carpeting and seats thoroughly. Don’t forget to catch the corners, crevices, and anywhere else that dirt can collect. Remove the cup holders and wipe down the hard surfaces. Use an antibacterial cleaner to disinfect the steering wheel, handles, and all buttons, including the radio. Take some time to remove any stains on the upholstery using some upholstery cleaner.

Clean the Engine

A clean engine makes cars run more efficiently and look much nicer. Every month, wipe off any build-up with a shop towel. Spray a degreasing agent on the cloth and carefully wipe the outside of the engine. It is also possible to power wash the engine, but be careful not to get water into other elements under the hood.

Clean the Door Wells

Door wells are not an area that often comes to mind when sprucing up a vehicle. It is, however, the first part that people see when opening the door. This area can get very messy and unattractive. Grime and dirt can build up quickly, so take some time to clean it out. Spray the door wells with all purpose cleaner. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then wipe them down with a dry cloth.

Clean the Headlights

Over time, the headlight covers can become very foggy, making used cars look less attractive. A yellow film builds up on the headlights and prevents the lights from working as well. There are a few options to fix this problem. Professionals can refinish the lights using a specialized technique and professional products. Replacing them is also an option if they are in especially bad condition. There are also headlight cleaning kits available for the owner to clean them.

Taking a few moments each month to spruce up used cars can make it seem as good as new. In addition to general maintenance, these tips will make it look and feel like new for years to come.

Understanding What an Emissions Test Is

Understanding What an Emissions Test IsIn some states, you have to have your car regularly inspected. Part of that inspection should include an emissions test. If your vehicle is new, you may not have to worry as much. However, older automobiles may have trouble. Catching potential problems and fixing them in advance can save you time and frustration.

What Are Emissions?

To understand how an emissions test works, you first must understand what the technicians are looking for when examining your vehicle. Simply put, as your automobile uses fuel to power the engine, combustion takes place. What is left over from this process comes out of your vehicle’s tailpipe. Because of the toxicity of the outflow, inspectors must ensure that these gases are within certain levels.

What Does an Emissions Test Look For?

To perform this examination on your vehicle, the technician places a sampler into the tailpipe. This piece of equipment samples the exhaust coming from your engine and reads what the level of gases are in parts per million.

The equipment is set to sense or “sniff” five different types of gases: NOX, O2, CO, CO2 and HC. NOX is the term for oxides of nitrogen and is produced by heating and compressing air containing nitrogen. This compound is very toxic at high levels.

Oxygen is always found in the exhaust as there is always some unburned oxygen being admitted into the air. While this is not a harmful residue, O2 tells how well the engine burns through the fuel. Excessive amounts may indicate that the engine has been tampered with in order to pass the test with faulty equipment.

In addition to O2 and NOX, CO and CO2 are also tested for. CO, or carbon monoxide, is a well-known, colorless, odorless compound that is deadly. CO2, better known as carbon dioxide, is a leading cause of global warming.

The final compound tested for is HC or hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbon is unburned fuel. As with CO and NOX, HC is not something you want to breathe. It is the leading cause of smog seen in large cities.

How Can You Pass the Emissions Test?

Your car must be in fairly decent shape to pass the test. If you have not had a tune up in a while, it is important that you do so before your next inspection. Changing spark plugs, changing the oil, and having a fresh air filter can address many of the issues that your automobile may have. You should also ensure that your gas cap is free of cracks and that it fits snugly.

In addition, if your vehicle has a check engine light on, you will not pass the inspection. Be sure to take your vehicle in for service when this light comes on. There are many different reasons the light could be on, and not all of them are expensive fixes.

The emissions test is designed to help keep our environment clean. While it might seem like a hassle, having cleaner burning vehicles is better for everyone. In addition, you can be certain that your car is in great running condition and will be less likely to break down.

Beginners Guide on How to Change Oil

Beginner's Guide on How to Change OilIf you have always wanted to change the oil in you car yourself, but have never known where to start, then this short guide will show you the secrets.

Why and how often should the oil be changed?

To gain an understanding of this you need to appreciate what purpose the oil serves in the engine and how it does it.

The oil in your engine serves to lubricate internal engine parts to reduce friction, cool internal components by dissipating heat and to flush away, from the moving parts, impurities such as fine metal filings or carbon from the combustion process.

The oil starts off in the sump which is a reservoir usually fixed to the bottom of the engine, this is where a bulk of the oil is stored. From here it is pumped through an oil filter to remove any impurities large enough to cause damage or accelerated wear to internal components. The filtered oil is then piped under pressure to various moving parts throughout the engine. Most rotating parts inside the engine, such as the crankshaft and camshafts, use bearings with no moving parts and are actually floating on a very thin film of oil.

It is for this reason that the oil needs to be kept clean and free of impurities as this gap is very small. Once the oil has flowed out of the bearings it simply runs back down into the sump. During this process the oil has collected carbon from the combustion process as well as fine metal particles.

Typically engine oil needs to be replaced every 10000km/6000mi or every 12 months together with the oil filter. After 10000km the oil has generally collected enough carbon deposits (it will be black) to justify changing it. The 12 month limit is there because oil also collects acidic deposits from the combustion process which over time can cause erosion of internal components.

What you will need.

Although you will find these parts at most Kmart and Target stores, if this is the first time you’ve changed oil I would recommend an auto shop like Supercheap or Autobarn as they can help you get the right items for your car.

1) A jack to raise the car to a sufficient height for you to get underneath.

2) Car stands to hold up the car. (NEVER get under a car only supported by a jack)

3) Oil pan to collect oil.

4) Spanner that fits the drain plug.

5) Oil filter tool for removing the oil filter.

6) Rags for cleaning up.

7) New oil (Typically 4-5 Litres)

8) New oil filter.

How you do it.

First make sure the car is on hard flat ground with the handbrake on. Place the jack under the front cross member which runs across the bottom of the engine between the wheels and raise the car. Make sure you don’t place the jack under the engine sump.

Once the car is raised, place the car stands under the chassis either side of the engine and gently lower the car down onto them.

Note. NEVER under any circumstances get under a car which is only supported by a jack. Jacks can and have failed and you do not want to be under the car if it does.

With the jack out of the way, place the oil pan under the engine and remove the sump drain plug located on the very bottom of the engine. Allow the all of the oil to drain out. (It may drip for a while.)
Once the oil has drained, re-fit the drain plug ensuring the gasket is in place.

Using the oil filter tool, remove the oil filter from the engine by turning it anti-clockwise ensuring that the rubber gasket is not still stuck to the engine block, and wipe clean with a rag. If this gasket is accidentally left in place it will cause an oil leak.

Apply a little engine oil or grease to the gasket of the new oil filter prior to screwing it on and tighten by hand until firm.

You have now finished under the car, so, jack it up again and remove the car stands and lower the car back to the ground. You’ve almost finished.

Remove the oil filler cap and pour the new engine oil into the top of the engine, add the oil in stages until it shows ‘full’ on the dipstick. Don’t be in too much of a rush here as it takes time for the oil to run down through the engine.

Replace the oil cap and start the engine. Just let the engine idle until the oil light on the dash goes out or the gauge shows pressure. This usually takes about 10-20secs and the engine can be a bit rattly during this time. If it takes longer than this then stop the engine and investigate, there may be a problem. Have a look underneath for a leak and check there is enough oil in the engine using the dipstick.

If everything is OK, then check the oil level again you will usually find the engine needs a little more oil, another quick check and you’re done.

Some good tips before starting, it is faster to drain oil if the engine is warm but avoid a hot engine. Keep rags on hand in case you have a spill and if you don’t have any hand cleaner, use ordinary washing up liquid.

What do you do with the old oil?

Tip the old oil into the oil bottle that the new oil came in or another one if this is not empty, but then what? Well these days it is definitely not OK to just tip it down the drain, similarly you cannot just chuck it in the bin don’t even be tempted to do this just once. Most local council tips will take oil for recycling and it only costs about $2 to drop it off. I normally just collect it in bottles and store out of the way and take it all to the tip once a year.

Although just one of the many actions performed when servicing a car, changing the oil and oil filter is really quite simple. I hope you have found this article useful and prompts you to give it a go.


Auto Air Conditioning Repair

Auto Air Conditioning RepairAuto air conditioning repair is often compared to a detective’s job. Problems may occur in any part of the air conditioner and at times it is not possible to identify the exact nature of the problem, hence it becomes necessary to contact a mechanic who is well versed in the repair of an air conditioning system.

Auto air conditioning may be damaged by leakage in systems, low level of refrigerants, clogging in condensers, and failure of compressors. Some of the problems are simple and can be handled on your own. Some others need technicians to perform the task. To facilitate this, a number of auto repair shops are available. Along with basic auto mechanic tools, some specialty tools are also needed, this depends on the type and area where repairing services are needed. Air conditioning repair manuals serve as ideal companions when repairs are needed.

There are certain facts one must know about auto air conditioning repair. A/Cs are designed to keep the vehicles cool. The repairers must be familiar with five important components, such as compressor, refrigerant, condenser, expansion valve, and dryer or evaporator. In some vehicles, accumulator and orifice tubes are used instead of expansion valves and dryers. One must have a detailed knowledge of the whole mechanism involved in air conditioning systems.

A proper mechanic can check out leakages without pulling the machine parts apart. In addition to basic components, other accessories including switches, fuses, wires, and fan belts are checked as part of auto air conditioning repair.

Auto air conditioning repair is quite expensive. Most of the auto part stores sell air conditioning parts at a high cost. Hence, expenditure is high even if repairs are carried out by vehicle owners themselves.