The Anatomy of Healthy Cars: A Service and Repair Blog

Illuminated Check Engine Light: 3 Possible Causes

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Illuminated Check Engine Light: 3 Possible Causes

When you get into your car and turn the key in the ignition, you may notice that your dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree. After a second or two, the lights should turn off. From then on, the lights will only be illuminated when individual systems within the car are in operation or if a component on your vehicle has malfunctioned. One light you need to pay particular attention to is the check engine light. The check engine light is usually yellow in colour and is shaped like the outline of an engine block. If you are unsure of what the light looks like or you are struggling to locate it on your dashboard, you should check your car’s drivers manual.  The check engine light is activated by your car’s central computer when it receives information of a fault in the form of a diagnostic trouble code. A number of problems can trigger this diagnostic trouble code. Below are three possible triggers of the check engine light. Faulty Oxygen Sensors The oxygen sensor in your car monitors the rate at which oxygen passes through the engine and exhaust system on your vehicle. The amount of oxygen in the engine and exhaust gas must be checked to ensure that the correct ratio of fuel and air is fed to the engine. Over time, the oxygen sensors in your car can fail. When they fail, the onboard computer will no longer be able to calculate the correct fuel and air mix and will illuminate the check engine light to alert you to the problem. Loose Petrol Cap Many modern cars have a sensor which is built into the fuel cap. If you refuel your car and fail to reinsert the petrol cap correctly, the check engine light will light up. Driving around with a loose petrol cap is dangerous as it allows gasoline fumes to escape, creating a fire risk. Faulty Catalytic Converter The catalytic converter is responsible for converting harmful carbon monoxide fumes into carbon dioxide. Over time, the converter can become increasingly inefficient which results in higher temperatures and reduced fuel economy. The catalytic converter is linked to your car’s computer and will trigger the check engine light if it begins to fail. If you have any concerns about the condition of your vehicle, you should contact an auto servicing and repair shop today. A trained mechanic will be able to carry out a full inspection of your...

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Some Typical Symptoms of an Ailing Brake System

Posted by on Nov 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Some Typical Symptoms of an Ailing Brake System

Your braking system is an essential safety feature of your car. It allows you to slow down when you are accelerating the vehicle, and it also lets you stop when you need to. Therefore, you should not take any chances when it comes to ensuring that your brakes are functioning properly at all times. Here are a number of tell-tale signs your car may be experiencing brake trouble and should be taken to the mechanic shop. Grinding noises If you hear grinding noises every time you step on the brake pedal, chances are high that your brake pads are completely worn out and some metallic components are rubbing together. This can scratch or warp your rotors, leading to an uneven surface. Keep in mind that it is the rotors that make it possible for you to stop your car. If it so happens that they are damaged, you may not be able to stop your car when it is headed for a high impact collision. A mechanic can help you replace inoperative brake pads with new ones. If the surface of your rotor is not even, they will even it out, a process referred to as “turning.” If it is too worn out to be “turned,” it will also be replaced. Vehicle pulling If your car moves to one side of a straight road without you turning the steering wheel, you should be concerned about it because that is not an ordinary thing. It could be an indication that your brake linings are tiring down irregularly or that there is excess sediment in the brake fluid. In case of faulty brake linings, your vehicle may simply need a brake adjustment. But if the problem is dirty fluid, the fluid will have to be drained and replaced with fresh fluid. The best thing with changing brake fluid at the mechanic shop is that they will ensure only manufacturer-recommended brake fluid products are used. Pulsating brake pedal Another symptom of brake failure is when your brake pedal vibrates a lot every time brakes are applied. Sometimes, the vibrations are so strong that you can feel them when holding the steering wheel. Usually, the main culprit behind the issue is severely damaged brake pads. But it could also be bad rotors. This problem is common for aggressive-style drivers, such as those who often step on the brake pedals for long periods when driving...

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A Spring In Your Step: Should You Have Your Trailer’s Leaf Springs Replaced With Torsion Springs?

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Spring In Your Step: Should You Have Your Trailer’s Leaf Springs Replaced With Torsion Springs?

The suspension system is one of the most important parts of any load-bearing trailer, providing cushioning against bumps and dips in the road to provide a smooth towing experience and protect whatever cargo your trailer is carrying. However, you have a couple of options when it comes to the kind of suspension system your trailer uses, and traditional reliable leaf springs are giving way to more compact torsion springs for many trailer applications. However, while leaf-sprung axles are an old and venerable technology, they still have several advantages over modern torsion springs—conversely, torsion springs excel in some aspects but also have disadvantages compared to leaf springs. As such, if you are considering replacing your trailer’s leaf springs with torsion springs you should take stock of the pros and cons of their use before you buy and install them. What are the advantages of keeping your trailer’s leaf springs? Simplicity: Leaf-sprung axles are simple mechanisms, with the entire axle held up on robust metal springs. This simplicity allows leaf springs to be inspected and maintained easily, and minimises the amount of moving parts that may need to be replaced over the service life of your trailer. Damaged or worn components can be repaired or replaced relatively easily. Increased turn stability: Keeping the entire axle suspended gives increased stability over individual springs, allowing for less rocking and leaning around corners and making loading (especially if you’re carrying heavy loads) easier and safer. Decreased ride height: Because the springs are constantly compressed by the weight of the axle, a leaf-sprung trailer will sit lower than a torsion-sprung one. This further increases stability and decreases your overall ride height, very useful if carrying tall or unusually shaped loads. Even tyre wear: Distributing the trailer’s suspension across the whole axle also allows tyres to wear more evenly on both sides, preventing unexpected blowouts. This is a particular boon on multi-axle trailers that routinely carry heavy loads. What about the disadvantages? Constant maintenance required: Unlike torsion springs, leaf springs are not self-enclosed, and require frequently maintenance (particularly lubrication) to stay in top working condition. Corrosion: Because of their open construction leaf springs are also open to the elements, and prolonged exposure to moisture (particularly in coastal areas) can promote damaging corrosion. What are the advantages of replacing leaf springs with torsion springs? Zero maintenance: Torsion springs do not require lubrication, and their enclosed construction protects them from most external sources of damage. Most are also supplied with galvanized coatings to protect them from rust, so you can run torsion springs for a long time with little oversight. Smoother ride: Because torsion springs are fitted over the trailer’s axle(s) and work individually, they are much better at responding to bumps and grooves in the road, leading to a smoother and quieter ride. Uneven load bearing: Individual suspension for each trailer wheel also allows torsion springs to cope far better with uneven loads, and can cope far better with the stresses of sharp corners and bends. Adjustable ride height: While torsion springs will cause your trailer’s load to sit higher than it would on a leaf-sprung trailer, this ride height is adjustable, letting you adapt to low bridges and other obstacles on the road. And the disadvantages of replacing them? More expensive: Torsion springs are more expensive and difficult to fit than leaf springs, especially if you are seeking to convert...

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What You Should Do Before Taking a Long Road Trip

Posted by on Aug 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What You Should Do Before Taking a Long Road Trip

If you are planning on taking a long road trip soon, there are some things you need to do first. The following tips cover everything from making sure your car can handle the trip to keeping your passengers occupied. Make Hotel Reservations Ahead of Time For the longer road trips, you are going to need to make stops so you can sleep overnight without having to camp out in your vehicle. While you are planning your road trip, try to make hotel reservations in areas where you intend to stop overnight. This does require some careful planning and knowing about what town you will be at during certain times of the evening. It is a good idea to choose hotels with a more flexible cancellation policy just in case you’re not there in time and end up finding a room elsewhere. However, having some reservations now is good just in case you’re traveling during a time when hotels fill up fast. Having reservations can also help reduce how much you pay for your room. Have Your Car Serviced No matter how new your vehicle is, you need to make sure it is ready to handle the long trip. There could be issues with the engine or transmission that you had no idea about, which would pose a major problem when you get on the road. A good thing to do before you get started on your trip is to go to your mechanic to have your car serviced and inspected. This allows you to get a tune-up and oil change, rotate the tires, get new fluids, and look for any repairs that need to be done before you take your car out. Bring Enough items For the Kids Road trips with kids can be a lot of fun, but they can also be miserable. Make sure you prepare for all of their needs beforehand to avoid any issues during the trip. Start by making sure you have plenty of bottled water and snacks in the car at all times. They are going to get hungry and might not want to wait until you find somewhere to stop and eat. Aside from snacks, you should also have enough different forms of entertainment in the car during the trip. Don’t just rely on their electronic devices or handheld video games, as they might tire of them quickly. Also bring along other games, a portable DVD player for movies, and anything else your kids like to play with to keep them occupied. Put Money On Prepaid Credit Cards It is extremely stressful if there is an issue with your debit or credit card when you are on a road trip. You rely on your card for everything from hotel stays to gas and food. On the trip, you might end up using your card more often than usual, which could cause an alert to go up at your bank, putting a hold on the card. If this happens, it is good to have backup money just in case. Instead of bringing loads of cash with you, consider getting a few different prepaid credit cards as a...

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Learn How To Shift Gears on Your Dirt Bike to Prevent Clutch Repairs

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Learn How To Shift Gears on Your Dirt Bike to Prevent Clutch Repairs

If you have purchased a dirt bike, you need to ensure that you know how to shift gears. This is because incorrect shifting of the gears can lead to the premature wear and tear of the clutch mechanism. This in turn results in unnecessary clutch repairs, which could prove to be expensive over time. Therefore, it would be prudent to practice shifting gears on your dirt bike before you can start riding it on a regular basis. Pick a practice location The first thing that you will need to do is find a flat area that you can start practicing how to shift the gears on the dirt bike. Preferably, this should be a grassy area so that your falls are cushioned in case that happens. You should now get all your safety gear ready and wear them. Ensure that you have a helmet on as well as a pair of gloves that will afford you some more grip on the dirt bike. Locate the clutch of your dirt bike The first step after climbing on the bike would be to pull the clutch. This is located on handlebar on your left. Kick start the dirt bike’s engine but ensure that you are still holding the clutch in place. If you let go of the clutch while you are starting the engine of the dirt bike, the engine will stall. Put the dirt bike into gear The next step would be to put your left foot on the gearshift. This is located close to the motorcycle’s foot peg. Push the gear all the way down so that it can get into first gear. At the same time, make sure you are slowly turning the throttle while you are simultaneously letting go of the clutch under your left hand. The dirt bike should start rolling at this juncture and once you start picking up some speed you can let go of the clutch completely. Switch into a different gear After gaining momentum to a point where the dirt bike is coasting, pull on the clutch. You should then pull the gearshift up with your toes to engage it second gear. After doing this, release the clutch. You can increase your momentum by turning the throttle located on the right handle bar. Continue this process of pulling on the clutch while pushing the gear up with your foot until you have reached the desired gear. You can go all the way to the top if you feel so inclined and if you are safe. Once you have reached optimum speed and would like to slow down, you should repeat the process but in reverse. This means instead of pulling the gear up, you should push it down until you have reached your desired speed or slowed down altogether. Should your clutch need repairing, though, talk to a...

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How to Make Your Car Last Longer

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to Make Your Car Last Longer

You rely on your vehicle to get you to work or school, run errands, and go on dates; what would you do if it broke down? It is important that you take really good care of your car to help it last as long as possible, which you can do with the following tips. Check the Fluids Regularly The fluids in your car are a lot more important than you might think. You shouldn’t wait until you have signs of a leak or your car is overheating to check the fluids, as you have already done some damage to the vehicle by this point. Make it a point to check the fluids often, including the water and coolant levels, oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. Fluids like water, transmission fluid, and coolant can cause the radiator or engine to overheat if they are not filled properly. Not only are you checking the levels, but also the quality of the fluids. This lets you know when it is time to flush them and re-fill them. Inspect the Car on a Routine Basis Your car might not always give you obvious signs that it is in need of a tune-up or repairs, so it helps to inspect it regularly no matter how well it seems to be running. Start by walking around the car and checking out the exterior, including making sure the windshield wipers are in good condition, looking for potential damage in the car windows, checking the condition of the tyres, and making sure all the lights are working. Then look under the hood to assess the condition of the hoses, plugs, radiator, engine, and various mechanical parts. Don’t Ignore Odd Noises There are also some signs to keep an eye out for where your car could be telling you it is in need of repairs. Don’t just assume weird noises occur when your car gets older, because some noises are red flags for major issues. For example, if your brakes start to squeak, you need to get them looked at right away. Otherwise, you might be looking at new brake pads and even rotors. Your car could also be making loud noises due to the transmission, engine, or other electrical components. By ignoring them, you are looking at rebuilding an engine or having to replace your car because you didn’t keep up with maintenance. Keep Up With Oil Changes and Tune-Ups These aren’t just recommendations by your car manufacturer, but something every car owner should get. You need a professional to look at your car on a routine basis in order to replace old hoses, change the oil, and look out for potential issues that need to be repaired. Make sure you keep up with proper car servicing. For more information, contact a car repair service in your...

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4 Steps to Take When You Top Your Truck Up With the Wrong Fuel

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Steps to Take When You Top Your Truck Up With the Wrong Fuel

So, you’ve just finished topping up your truck, only to realise that you’ve put in the wrong type of fuel. Whether you’ve added diesel to your petrol vehicle or petrol to your diesel, this is a serious problem that can necessitate extensive and costly repairs, but the negative effects can be minimised by taking the steps below. 1. Don’t Start It Up First thing’s first: Do not start up your vehicle after you have noticed that you’ve put in the wrong type of fuel. A diesel truck might be able to travel a mile or two with petrol in the tank, but a petrol vehicle with diesel in isn’t going to get very far at all; in either case, starting up the vehicle and driving it around will mean that the incorrect fuel will enter more of your truck’s components. If you’re lucky, catching the problem before starting the vehicle will mean that it gets no further than the fuel tank. 2. Move It Properly If you’re at a station, it’s likely that you’ll need to move the truck out of the way. Luckily, you can do this simply by entering neutral, taking off the parking brake, and pushing. The attendants will almost certainly have encountered this problem before, so let them know what’s going on; they might just give you a hand pushing the vehicle into a parking space. If you have to move an automatic vehicle that is not currently in neutral, you can turn on the ignition for the second it takes to make that switch. 3. Note How Much Was Used The amount of incorrect fuel that was added to your vehicle will play a factor in the amount of work that has to go into fixing the problem. A small amount, for example, will be a cause for much less concern. Make sure you check the pump’s gauge to see how much you put into the tank before realising what you were doing; if it has reset, ask one of the station attendants to check their system. If you can, try to also make a note of where the fuel gauge indicator in your truck was before you started topping up. This could be valuable information for whoever has to conduct repairs. 4. Contact a Professional Most importantly, you need to contact a professional breakdown service. It might be best to ask the attendants if there are any reliable mechanics nearby since it’s best to remove the offending fuel as soon as possible. However, if you’ve added a lot of the wrong fuel then it’s highly likely that it will need to be transported to a garage, such as Bob Wade Fleet...

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Auto service tips | General tips on replacing your cylinder head

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Auto service tips | General tips on replacing your cylinder head

A cylinder head is a part of the cylinder where the piston exerts pressure to compress the gases for combustion. You can detect problems with your car cylinder by the odour it produces. A strong sweet odour means that the coolant is leaking into the cylinder. Grey smoke also points towards a cylinder problem. If you’re thinking of replacing it, then here are a number of tips to make the process seamless. Remember to consult your manufacturer’s instructions, because not all engines are equal. Know your vehicle model Purchase the cylinder head of the exact model of your vehicle. That way, you’ll have a seamless experience. When you start taking your engine apart, don’t mix up the new and old parts. It should be possible to match all the parts of the cylinder head down to the last bolt. Any mismatch is a sign that you didn’t get the right head. Vehicles are different, and the gasket and cylinder head designs have milled surfaces that are to connect perfectly to other parts of the vehicle. This won’t be the case if you don’t purchase the right head. Caution when bleeding the coolant When draining the coolant, follow your manufacturer’s guidelines. Avoid draining the coolant before your engine cools completely. Draining the coolant too soon may lead to warping of the cylinder head or engine block.   Clean the cylinder head After getting things apart, ensure that you clean the new cylinder head and gasket thoroughly before placing it back on. Foreign material on cylinder head would lead to an improper seal and may even pave the way for leakages. Avoid using wire brushes or metallic scrapers as they may indent the cylinder head aluminium. The indent may eventually cause leakages on the head gasket or scratch the combustion chambers. Use a cleaning solvent to soften the material deposits and then get rid of them using a plastic or wooden scraper. A wet cloth could also help. Inspect the cylinder head and gasket Before making your replacement and calling it a day, first inspect the old parts. Disassemble the head in stages so that you can inspect the individual parts for warping or wear. This may also inform you of the underlying issues that may also affect the new head. A warped or cracked cylinder head, for instance, may be caused by an overheating engine that expands the cylinder head and engine block. You’ll have to fix your overheating engine, because simply replacing the cylinder head doesn’t solve the...

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A Few Quick Troubleshooting Tips for a Car’s Steering Problems

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Few Quick Troubleshooting Tips for a Car’s Steering Problems

Obviously your car’s steering needs to be in good working order at all times, otherwise you may struggle to control your car and may not even be able to drive it. Not all problems with power steering are actually the steering itself, however, which is why it’s good to know a little bit about how the steering is connected to other systems and components. This will give you an idea of what to look for when you do have problems with controlling the car’s steering and help you know what to expect when you talk to a mechanic. 1. Shaking First note when the steering wheel shakes. If it’s when you brake, chances are it’s the rotors of the braking system and not necessary the steering column or system. The rotors may be worn down so that when they push out against the tires, the tire starts to shake over their uneven surface. In turn, the entire steering column begins to shake and you feel it in the steering wheel. If the shaking of the steering column happens at virtually all speeds, this can mean that the tires are not balanced and mounted properly. The tires are trying to grip the road evenly but they cannot do that when they’re out of balance with one another, and you can feel this shaking in the steering wheel. 2. Stiff steering If your power steering is constantly too stiff and you need to struggle to get the wheels to turn around a corner, you can check the level of power steering fluid. If the fluid is low, the parts don’t move as they should and you struggle to steer the car. However, this can also mean a problem with the electrical connection and electricity being fed to the steering system. Your car’s battery also might be very low so that there isn’t enough electricity or power getting to the steering column, or there could be problems with the wiring of the steering system. If the stiffness of your steering means that you’re struggling to keep the car in the center of the lane while driving, this is usually because the tires are out of alignment, or your car may have a bent rim on one side. This will cause the car to pull to one side or another so that you’re struggling to steer. The steering column itself could also be bent so that it’s not keeping the tires straight when on the road. If you are having any problems like these or with your power steering, it is best to visit a local auto shop as soon as...

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Car Breakdowns: 3 Common Mechanical Issues Behind Tow Call Outs

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Car Breakdowns: 3 Common Mechanical Issues Behind Tow Call Outs

At some point when you are driving, your car will break down and you will need it towed to a nearby auto repair shop. More often than not, car breakdowns are caused by undetected mechanical problems, and this does not necessarily mean that you are at fault. Here’s a look at some common mechanical failures that normally result in breakdown tow call outs: Brake system failure Your car’s brake system performs the crucial function of allowing you to slow down or stop the vehicle when you are on the road. Hence, your brakes are an essential safety feature that you cannot afford to drive without. There are a lot of surefire signs that may indicate your brake system is experiencing problems and you will need tow service to the mechanic shop. Do the brakes fail to disengage even after you have taken your foot off the brake pedal or do they produce annoying squeaking noise when you release your foot? Have you spotted brake fluid leaks that prevent the various brake system components from remaining sufficiently lubricated while the engine is running? Or perhaps, your steering wheel vibrates a lot each time you step on the brake pedal. If you are experiencing any of these signs, then it is clear that you need brake system repair service, and this is good enough reason to pull over to the side of the road and call for breakdown tow service. Cooling system failure Cooling system letdown is another major cause of car breakdowns. Vehicle engines typically generate a lot of heat when they are running, which explains why car manufacturers usually incorporate cooling systems to prevent engine overheating problems. Leakage of coolant fluid from the cooling system is the primary source of engine overheating problems. Likely leak spots include the radiator, head gasket, water pump, hoses, freeze plugs, thermostat housing, transmission oil cooler, cylinder heads, etc. If you notice coolant fluid leaking from your car, you will need tow service to the auto repairer to have the problem quickly sorted out. Transmission failure Transmission problems may make it difficult for you to drive safely. If your car responds slower or quicker than usual when you change gears, then you might be experiencing transmission failures. Or maybe your car surges dangerously for no apparent reason, making you lose control of the vehicle when you are on the road. These are all incidences that point out to transmission problems that require the immediate withdrawal from the road and tow service to the auto repair shop. If you find that your car is in need of mechanical repairs, contact an auto service shop like Timber City...

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