Monday, 29 April 2013

Engine Leaks Take a Brutal Toll on Cars and Car Parts

If you own a car then you have probably already had some experience with car leaks, at least to some degree. Even new cars can develop leaks that are both annoying and frustrating. In the 1980s and 1990s engine leaks and other automotive leaking problems were the cause of a large majority of auto service appointments.

Now there are better engineering designs and materials used in the automotive manufacturing process. This has resulted in a decrease in customer complaints because new car parts have been noted to have substantially less problems with leak malfunctions.

Keep Engine Leaks at Bay

For those of you that may be unfamiliar with the basics of engine seals here is a list of what a car engine needs in order to be leak-free.

1.      Motor oil

2.      Proper compression

3.      Fitted gaskets

4.      Intact seals

5.      Engine coolant

6.      Fuel

Understanding Engine Seals

Most of the seals that protect your car engine are designed with double lips so that the motor oil can not leak out. One of the seals is designed to contain the oil, and the other is meant to stop any debris from contaminating the oil system. Although these lipped seals do not move they still have a big job to do because the car parts that they are surrounding are in motion. This is why many automotive techs refer to these car accessories as dynamic engine seals.

You will find dynamic seals used on car parts that are either rotating or belt driven. Two examples of these are crankshafts and camshafts. These are crucial elements for your car engine and it only takes a small leak to create a great deal of damage. An oil leak from a camshaft seal can result in ruined valves and timing belts which are both costly repairs.

How Leaks Begin

Small bits of grit, dust and road dirt are always flying about the exterior of auto engines. If there is a small opening in any seal it can allow some of these contaminants to adhere to the inner surface. Then as the shafts are moving they are being abraded by these particles' sharp edges.

The constant motion of these rotating and belt driven car parts will soon cause small grooves to form along the sides of the shafts. Now the integrity of the seals and shafts are both compromised. Once these irregular grooves have formed on the metal surfaces, leaking will soon follow.

Fixes for Seals

There are times when worn metal surfaces can be repaired instead of being replaced. Some mechanics are able to grind and weld the shafts until the surface area meats the necessary specifications.  There is also a slip-sleeve that is available for some front crankshafts. This product is a fine metal covering that can be applied to the damaged area and will then cover the grooves. These are both elaborate and high priced technical projects that are only suggested for ultra expensive vehicles. Car parts such as engine seals and shafts can be replaced at a more affordable cost.

Gaskets and Engine Leaks

In the past a lot of car accessories and engine parts used gaskets that contained cork. The cork would work for a while but it deteriorated at a relatively quick pace. This material would stop a leak by swelling up and forming a tighter seal, but only after a small amount of oil had leached into the gasket.

Another type of engine gasket was made from RTV silicone and this could create a secure seal but only under special conditions. The silicone base meant that it had to be applied to an engine surface that was absolutely clean and free of any oily residue. Many mechanics had trouble getting the metal surface prepped to these exacting specifications.

Most of today's new gaskets are made form synthetic rubber compounds. These engine gaskets are reliable and are much less likely to form a leak. This is the type of gasket that is preferred by knowledgeable mechanics and auto enthusiasts.  

Gasket Seal Problems

When placing gaskets onto surfaces it seems that many auto techs and mechanics tend to tighten them too much. In order to address this problem there are some newer designs that use metal spacers. These spacers are actually in the gaskets which helps prevent the over tightening seen in the past. Newer car parts such as the cast aluminum engine covers and those made from plastics have also been responsible for protecting gaskets from this common problem.

There are also some gaskets that are more likely to be the source of engine leaks even if they have been properly installed. A car's head gaskets and those used on the intake manifold are the ones that should be checked first if an engine leak is noted.

Internal Manifold and Head Gaskets

Engine compression, coolants and oil all depend on an intact head gasket seal. The intake manifold gaskets that are on cars are responsible for insuring the integrity of coolants, gas and diesel fumes and air. If these seals are damaged, or compromised you are assured of having leaks from your car that are going to be noticeable.

Engines and Aluminum Car Parts

The fact that so many engine car parts are now made from aluminum is an additional problem. Because of this metal's expansion and contraction the gaskets must be allowed some movement allowance. This means that a mechanic needs to make sure that when the repairs are done the gaskets are capable of allowing for the movement of internal car parts as the temperature and weather changes.

Torque to Yield Bolts

Gaskets are internal car parts and they are placed in areas where bolts are going to be required. A mechanic can use incorrect bolts or too much torque and this will result in gasket failure. In this type of situation there could be a compression leak or coolant leak from head gaskets as well as warping of the heads. To prevent this from occurring most auto shops are now using the type of car engine bolts that are known as "torque to yield".

Check and Repair Engine Leaks

No matter how old, or new, your car is you will need to check on any type of coolant engine leak. Just 2-3 tablespoons of an antifreeze liquid seeping into the oil compartment could ruin some vital car parts. Antifreeze and oil is a mix that can ruin the bearings in any car engine.

If you do not want to take your car to a garage you can handle the situation yourself. Certainly there are many different products that you can use to repair gaskets and seals. Your mechanic or auto supply store can help you find the right one for your vehicle. Just remember if you are doing the repairs yourself you need to make sure that you are using a quality product and applying it correctly. Follow the specifications and make sure to clean the surfaces properly and have exact alignment before making the repairs. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Used Cars As Part of Debt Free Living

Used cars can be a part of a frugal lifestyle. In fact, some financial experts who specialize in helping their followers become debt free advocates only buy pre-owned vehicles for cash. Being in debt is like having an anchor attached to your ankle and dragging it around. One false move, and you could fall into the ocean of bills and sink.

One of the first steps in becoming free of debt is to build up an emergency fund. This rainy day account is put into place to pay for unexpected car repairs, broken appliances, a doctor bill, lost job, or anything else that might send you running to your credit cards for help. Some motorists are afraid that buying used cars might lead to more repairs than they can afford and so stick with new vehicles. With a rainy day fund in place, unexpected repairs aren't problems.

A recommendation that frugal zealots recommend is to start out buying used cars that can be paid for in cash. If you can only afford a clunker to start with, that's okay. The goal is to save up enough money to move up to the next tier of quality in pre-owned vehicles. Trading in the clunker with some more saved cash will buy a nicer pre-owned vehicle. The goal is to keep upping the ante until you are driving the pre-owned vehicle of your dreams without any monthly payments. Does this seem like an impossible dream? It's a tactic that many drivers have been successful with.

Along with driving a pre-owned vehicle that's been paid for in greenbacks, it's also important to progress on the path toward a more solid financial life. Other debts such as credit cards, personal loans, and overdraft-protection-gone-wild should be whittled away as well. It's often recommended that the smallest balances should be paid off first. Why? Because it will allow you to feel successful when you are able to cut up a credit card. This won't happen overnight, of course. It's a one-day-at-a-time plan that may take years but will build momentum the longer you stick to the plan. It's also important to add some dollars to the emergency fund each month so you could survive for 3 to 6 months if you lost your job.

Driving used cars can help you build a stronger financial house on a solid foundation. By starting small and paying off one debt at a time while saving a few bucks each paycheck, everyone with willpower can be debt-free eventually. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Young Drivers Car Insurance - Part 3 - Yet More Ways to Get Discount Auto Insurance

This is part three of our series of articles that will target young drivers car insurance , and will help teenagers and young adults get a lower rate on their car insurance policy. In my first two articles we gave easy tips on how to get a lower rate but in this article we will give you tips that will not only lower your monthly payments but will also save you money outside the realm of car insurance.

The first tip here is to buy a more conservative type of car. The souped up sports car is great for the ego and can get you places really fast, but they stand out on the highway to policeman like a bull's-eye mark ready to be ticketed. Buying a car like a Honda Civic or until your Camry will not only save you a lot of money in purchasing your vehicle but will also help you cut down on speeding tickets and keep your monthly car insurance payments to a minimum. Even if you were not speeding on the road policemen target owners of sports cars even more than others , and not just because the car stand out but because they know that the owners of these cars have enough money to pay their tickets off.

Teenagers and young adults that have taken a driver's ed course will also qualify for some sort of discount on their monthly insurance rates as this is another sign to the car insurance company that you are mature enough to want to learn how to become a better driver and that you know all of the rules of the road.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Controlling Your Luxury Car and Electronic Control Units

Just a few years ago, ECU tuning was unheard of. Today, it's widely acknowledged that the ECU - the Electronic Control Unit - is the key to automotive performance and tuning. This applies to domestics and imports, cars and trucks, and even to the luxury segment of the market. My own Acura has a programmable ECU that allows me to monitor over 40 sensors and data points in real time. I can tweak and upload ECU calibrations from a laptop computer connected to the ECU via a USB cable. I still use conventional instruments like a boost display to provide me with important data, but I know that it's really the modified ECU that runs the show, making sure that my supercharged engine gets the proper amount of fuel at the proper ignition advance and cam angle, allowing the engine in my car to make 70% more power than stock safely, reliably and economically. This is what luxury car tuning is all about these days.

If you're the owner of an entry-level luxury car or a full-blown luxury car and seek more performance, you probably spend a lot of time with Audi parts, Volkswagen parts, BMW parts or Mercedes parts. You know that installing performance headers, hotter cams or a free-flow exhaust alone is not enough and that the ECU must be programmed to take maximum advantage of all those performance car parts. You also know that turbo motors, especially, are capable of delivering a lot of extra power by cranking up the boost, but that it must be done safely via proper ECU programming.

There are various ways of ECU tuning. You can replace the stock ECU with a more powerful programmable unit. This is generally done with dedicated race cars. You can modify the existing ECU so it becomes programmable, if the required add-on boards are available. You can reprogram your stock ECU with replacement chips. Or you can install electronic add-on modules that intercept signals to and from the ECU.

Tuning via add-on electronic modules has some significant advantages. It does not require replacing an expensive ECU. It does not affect the functioning of the stock ECU, which means the software is generally invisible to diagnostics equipment. That can be important as it may affect manufacturer warranties. Add-on modules are also much easier to install and replace than daughterboards or entire ECUs. Should you need to quickly remove a module and detune the car, that can be done in a few minutes.

Yet another advantage of such control modules is that they can affect areas other than just performance. Depending on the make and model of your car, you may be able to customize the functioning of the remote, the power windows, side view mirrors, burglar alarm, sunroof, seats, A/C and many other aspects of the car. This can make driving safer and more convenient. These inexpensive control modules may also add a variety of additional information on the LCD display of your car.

There are many sources for luxury performance car parts, but only few have truly embraced the new computer tuning technologies that can add both power and functionality to your vehicle.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Necessity to Chauffeur Hire For the Personal Cars and For Occasions

The terms Chauffeur hire, now has a quite a different meaning than earlier times. Previously the owner hired a Chauffeur as a full time servant to drive their car. However, nowadays the service provider offers service Chauffeurs along with the cars. This service is well known as the Chauffeur hire service. You can also hire Chauffeur for driving your personal limousine cars or the luxury one as a full timer.

Though for the luxury cars or for the ceremonies like wedding, party or the any important meeting one needs to arrive in style, yet to hire a full time chauffeur only for that purpose seems a wasteful idea. Keeping in mind this fact part time chauffeur hire is a good option. Chauffeur hire is now an important part of our daily life as people nowadays are too much busy with their work. So they would not have any other choice but to accept this. From businessman to the model, from the press to the government personnel everyone needs to do chauffeur service for hassle free journey and to reach their destination on time.

Chauffeurs are nowadays much respected by owners. The Chauffeur hire service providers have in fact made some rules regarding hiring a chauffeur. They follow the rules strictly when they need to hire a chauffeur.

The rules are:-

A. First thing the service providers want from the chauffeurs are a specific age, having experience to drive the cars either luxury or the general, and knowledge about the local areas.
B. Some of them personally train them as per their criteria. As many of the country appreciate the well dressed chauffeur so they provide them dress with appropriate shoes and tie along with them.

Guidelines for hiring a Chauffeur:-

For the business purpose if you want to hire a chauffeur in a place like London then you need to go to a proper agency and tell your terms. However finding the right agency is a challenge and one needs to take the best decision as per his/her requirements. In case of hiring a Chauffeur for the wedding ceremony the chauffeur would in most cases be well-trained. He must have enough geographical knowledge about the surroundings. All these factors need to be kept in mind when you go for chauffeur hire.

The chauffeur hire service provider makes the easy way to choose the car along with the Chauffeur. There are quite difference between the two chauffeurs- One who hires for the business purpose and another hire for the wedding ceremony. The required skills of these two are totally different to each other. So know your requirements before you go for chauffeur hire services.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Car Performance Parts and Their Fantastic Effects on a Vehicle

Car performance parts are designed to improve various aspects of a car. This includes boost to performance, efficiency, control and aesthetics. They are useful for those who seek maximum outcome from their vehicle. Performance parts are available for different segments of a vehicle. This includes power module, intake, air filter, exhaust, and spark plug that greatly improve the performance of the vehicle. The number of such parts in the market is plenty. It is crucial for any individual to look for performance-oriented parts from a leading manufacturer.

There are in general two categories of performance parts are available in the market - original equipment manufacturing parts and aftermarket parts. Third-party companies manufacture aftermarket parts. They have a universal approach to most of the parts, as it is easy for them to manufacture. Users also find it very handy when it comes in selection of aftermarket parts. Irrespective of the specification, these parts can be installed in various models of vehicles. Speaking in point of revenue, most people opt for the aftermarket parts but they are available at a lesser price in comparison to OEM parts. One should be very careful in selecting products from aftermarket for the can be inconsistent and can decrease the performance of the car.

Speaking about original equipment manufacturing parts, manufacturer of the vehicle provides these parts as additional spares in the market. As the manufacturer constructs the parts especially for a particular model, there is consistency in performance of the vehicle. Apart from this, one will also achieve a great increase in efficiency, power boost and control of the vehicle. These parts not only improve the overall performance but also ensure longevity of their self-performance. This is crucial aspect for people who invest huge amounts in car performance parts.

Speaking about performance parts, provided below are a few of the important classifications that improve performance of a vehicle.

1. Engine

It is the single most important part of a vehicle. There are a number of parts are available from OEM and aftermarket that improve overall efficiency and performance. Boosting the efficiency of the engine increases power development. It is also necessary to fine-tune the engine based on exhaust, backpressure and crossover. Selecting the right manifold part is also important to improve the performance.

2. Suspension

Suspension plays a vital role in controlling the overall handling of the vehicle. A proper suspension improves road contact of the wheel the effects of the geometry of the suspension and dampening effect. A good suspension system allows the users to have the best traction system even at high speeds.

3. Brakes

This is yet another important part that affects the overall performance of the vehicle. A good braking system is essential to ensure an immediate stop of the vehicle without creating a load on the engine. Selecting the parts should be done very carefully as installing a wrong part can affect the engine. This in turn greatly reduces the performance of the vehicle even after installing other performance parts in the car.

Friday, 5 April 2013

How Can You Get Rid of Your Junk Car and Still Get Something From It?

There are tons of people who have junk cars that they no longer use. They often find themselves stuck with these cars, because they do not know how to get rid of them; not a lot of people want to purchase cars that no longer work, unless they are collectors' items. But, owners of junk cars often wrongly believe that these cars no longer have any value. These people are mistaken. This assumption is often based on the fact that cars depreciate in value. And it is very hard to find buyers for cars that no longer work. However, all cars, no matter how bad their conditions are, have some value. Nowadays, there is a small group of people who are interested in old model junk cars.

These people will often purchase these and then spend money fixing them up. If your car is an old model, you may want to find out if it is by any chance a collectors' item. The best way to do so is to do a simple online search. If it is a collectors' item then you will certainly be able to find interested buyers. Because there are many people who can afford to collect cars and invest money in repairing them, it may take you a while to find an interested buyer. But, it is still much better than having the car sitting in your yard and depreciating further in value.

The best way for you to find an interested buyer is to get in touch with the different clubs that exist for people who enjoy collecting old cars and fixing them up. Advertise your car with these clubs and you may be lucky enough to find an interested buyer. Unfortunately, as with all kinds of used and old cars, you will not get lot of money for your junk car, especially if it is not in working order. But, this is a much more preferable alternative to getting absolutely nothing for it. Some junk car owners allow their cars taken away without seeking any kind of compensation. This is a grave mistake to make because the company towing the car will make some money from it while you get absolutely zero.

If your car is not a collector's item and you are unable to find an interested buyer, your next best bet is to sell it to a junkyard. There are tons of junkyards that can be found in industrial areas of all major cities. You can also call them up if you can find their phone numbers on the internet or in the phone book. Junk car dealers purchase old and non-functional cars, and then sell them off again. Before they sell them off they will take them apart. They will reuse the parts that are still working, or sell them off. These include tires, car radios, seats, etc. They will also take apart the body of the car and then sell the metal pieces off to metal recycling plants. The great thing about junk car removal companies is that they will come to where the junk car is located and tow it away once you have completed your transaction with them.

This means that you do not have to worry about getting it to them, as you may have to if you sell it to a car collector. So if you have a junk car that you no longer want, you no longer have to get despair. There are things that you can do to get rid of it. And, the great thing about this is that you can earn some extra cash in the process, so it will not be a complete loss for you. But, you should be aware that you will not get a lot of money for it.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

3 Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Nitro Radio Cars and Toys

I have always been fascinated by radio controlled cars (rc cars), and as a child I would dream of eventually owning one. However in those days remote control toys were very much in their infancy. The earliest models were merely wind up toys which would scooter over the carpet leaving me in wonderment.

Petrol radio controlled cars (rc cars) and nitro trucks have come a long way since then. Now they are an established part of the game world, and boys and men alike share in the thrills that the high speed models can offer.

As you can see my passion for everything nitro powered is very real and I would like to share with you three tips which I believe will add to your enjoyment.

Firstly, although this may sound basic try and ensure that you only ever operate your nitro powered model in an area which can give you at least 50 yards of clear run space, as these models are mini hot rods which can easily reach speeds in excess of 50 mph.

Secondly, do not worry yourself too much about build quality as endless time can be taken just in deciding which manufacturer to go with. These days you will find that the build quality on all of these toys is superb, and they are very much built to last. My advice would be just to get out there and try it. Once you do I think you will never go back.

The last tip I would like to share with you comes from personal experience. A radio controlled nitro (also known as an rc nitro) is more than just a toy. Treat it as you would any valuable and make sure that you do not leave it unattended. Once upon a time we would guard our Chopper bike or our skateboard with our lives, and for good reason. However, good nitro radio cars can cost well in excess of £200 and you do not want to find yourself out of pocket purely down to turning your back on your speed machine.