Category Archives: General Auto Info

Never Do These Four Things to Your Car

Never Do These Four Things to Your Car

Ignore the fluids. Fluids—oil, transmission fluid, engine coolant—are the lifeblood of your car. Regularly monitoring of fluid levels and condition will help keep your car’s innards properly lubricated and cooled. No matter how tempting it is, never skip an oil change. We recommend changing your oil every 4,000 miles for synthetic blend, and every 8,000 miles for full synthetic oil. Familiarize yourself with the various warning lights on your dash. If your oil warning light comes on, take it very seriously. Pull over as soon as possible and when safe to do so and turn off the engine, or you risk catastrophic engine failure and the expensive repair bill which comes with it. One other thing to keep an eye on is corrosive buildup on your battery terminals. If you notice any foreign substances on your battery, don’t try to clean it yourself as it can be very corrosive and even dangerous without proper protection. Ignore tire warnings. Thousands of a ... read more

Perfect gift for the motoring mom

If you’re reading this a day or two before Mother’s Day, I’m pretty sure you’re desperate for something quick and/or cheap for a special mom. I have an idea that is guaranteed to fit and probably won’t cost a thing: a vehicle safety check. If you don’t even know how to lift the hood of a car you can still do this. Start by checking her tire pressure. Even the most un-mechanical mom has a tire pressure gauge in the glove compartment. If she does not, you can pick one up at any local discount store or drugstore. The tire pressure the engineers designed the car for can be found on the sticker on the driver’s doorjamb. If it’s low, run to a gas station and fill it up—but be careful not to overfill, especially with the hot days we have in the forecast next week. Check her wiper blades for wear. If they are faded, splitting or tearing find an auto parts store and get the best pair you can afford. Quality does matter here and you want to be sure she can see in any blinding Overla ... read more

Changing a tire safely (Part I)

Changing a tire safely (Part I)

I started working on car repair and maintenance unsupervised at the age of 13. My uncle Donnie, who was the chief mechanic at my dad’s farm implement dealership, taught me valuable lessons on properly using jacks, chains and come-alongs. I have always been impressed by the power of leverage and hydraulics. This knowledge can be lifesaving and very handy when working on your own car in your garage or driveway. I was first inspired by watching my uncle replace a worn-out combine axle bearing in a wheat field in western Kansas. A for-hire wheat harvester AKS “customer cutter” had a front axle bearing grind itself up in the field and finally came to a halt. My uncle, being the field mechanic for my dad, assessed the situation and told the farmer to bring his massive 4×4 Steiger tractor and the longest chain he could find. We had a few short chains, come-alongs, a large (but not large enough) bottle jack, and a pile of railroad ties in the service truck. The farmer pulled ... read more

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