How Do I Fix a Busted Door Handle?

August 25, 2007

The other day, my neighbor was near to becoming hysterical because she couldn’t open the door of her car, and she was already an hour late for a meeting. There was a problem with the door handle, and she couldn’t figure out how to fix the hitch. Funny, isn’t it? Well, it’s absurd that simple automotive hang-ups like it can actually ruin our day. So to avoid those annoying encounters, it’s good to know the basics of repairing simple problems with auto parts such as a busted door handle.

Removing the Door Handle

Removing the Old Door Handle

When the door handle of your car is no longer functioning well, the first thing you have to do is do away with it. So can you take away the out-of-order door handle on your own? Yes, you can! Doing it is fairly easy. The first thing you have to do is open the door of your car. Make certain to leave the car window up. Then, loosen the screw on the end of the door. Thrust the handle to the front of the vehicle, and then drag the side of the handle to the back. Afterwards, abruptly ditch the front side.

Temporary Fix

After removing the door handle, you can temporarily patch it up. But, you’ll need a glue gun for this. Make sure that it’s hot. Spread over some glue to the tip of the plastic covering surrounding the metal arm of the door handle. Allow it to dry for a few minutes. When it’s already dry, it’s time to re-assemble the handle. Remember that you need to bend the handle a little to get it back in shape.

For a short-term repair, this process will do. Just bring the car to the repair masters when you already have the luxury of time and…money.



What You Get from a Cold Air Intake

August 23, 2007

I know a lot of motorists who want a one-stop overhaul for their vehicles. Well, who doesn’t? If there’s a single way to make all necessary enhancements for a vehicle, I bet every car owner would rush to the auto shop who would offer that kind of service. In reality, however, all the defects of your vehicles cannot be resolved by just a single car check-up, and you don’t actually get everything you want from a single automotive accessory. Unless you’re a resident of Utopia, you are far from enjoying the benefit of an all-in-one vehicle service.

In spite of that, the auto mechanic in you still has a significant reason to celebrate. Though you can’t have everything in one great package, there is an automotive device that can offer you three incredible enhancements for your vehicles. Not bad, right? The Cold Air Intake is a popular vehicle mechanism that serves remarkable functions:

Cold Air Intake

Boosting the Engine Power

The most important reason you should give your vehicle an efficient cold air intake system is that this device can effectively intensify the power of your vehicle’s engine. How does it actually work? Your vehicle needs cold air to obtain that amount of power needed for optimum performance. Consequently, the temperature must clearly be reduced in order to obtain the cold air. Decreasing the temperature of the air that goes through your vehicle is the function of the Cold Air Intake.

Giving Your Engine a New Look

Cold Air Intake will improve not only your engine’s performance, but also the physical appearance of your vehicle. Manufacturers make cold air intakes available in a wide variety of colors. Some of the most popular are blue, red, chrome, and silver. When you open the hood of your vehicle, people will definitely notice the change in your engine’s appearance.

Enhancing the Sound of Your Engine

Even the sound of the vehicle matters a great deal to many motorists. Cold Air Intake creates an intake noise that makes a statement that your vehicle has a high performance engine.

Though you can’t have it all in one device, at least you can get three great benefits from the Cold Air Intake! So the next time you feel like enhancing your vehicle, you may consider getting this three-in-one device.


Of Struts

August 23, 2007

Have oldsmobile 88, replaced the front struts and all components surrounding (ball joints, tie rod ends, etc). One side is fine, the other has a negative camber (tilted inward towards engine). What causes this during the installation, and how do I align the strut properly when reinstalling new ones? I guess I got lucky on the first side. I installed the old strut coils on the new struts…
Any advice appreciated…
Thanks in advance!

dk4 (original post on Frankie’s Garage, August 17th)

Hello there dk4! It’s great to hear from you. Well, here are some of the stuff I can share with you. You need wheel alignment every time you change suspension components.You don’t need to be an expert to know this. Bring it to a computerized wheel alignment shop. It usually costs $50 for front wheels and 75-80$ for 4.

Another option would be to do it the old fashion way. There was a shop years ago that made it with a special ruler. There was only 1 guy who knew how to do it. With no computer. you can try and do it on you own. It will take some attempts. In my shop, we had such ruler. I spent around 3 hours to do it. So, I gave up and brought it to a tire specialist who was able to finish the task in 20 minutes. Better click here for suspension kits.

I hope this helps, so it’s all up to you now. As I say, everyone can be a mechanic…


Refurbishing Your Engine’s Oil Pump

August 21, 2007

Vehicles, no matter what model, all need motor oil. Internal combustion engines make use of motor oil to grease its moving elements. Aside from this function, the motor oil helps in cleaning the engine and preventing metal deterioration. It also takes heat away from various engine parts.

With the many substantial uses of the motor oil, it is important that it reaches various parts of the engine. An automotive part that carries out this function is the oil pump. Propelled by the engine, the oil pump is your vehicle’s means of moving the oil to the different engine components. However, like the other parts of your vehicle, the oil pump will wear out sooner or later. So, what should you do when your car’s oil pump finally bids farewell? Do you have to change it right away? Do you have to buy a new one?

While most people will opt to get a new oil pump when repairing the engine, re-enforcing an old oil pump can be a great alternative. The idea of renovating your oil pump may sound like a difficult task, but in point of fact, the procedure is rather simple. Plus, all you need are an even surface to work on, a collection of feeler gauges, and sandpaper.

1. Restoring Clearance

First, it is important to reinstate the pump gear end clearances into the appropriate specs. You can do this by simply polishing the body of the oil pump with a sand paper. Make sure to do it on a flat surface.

2. Setting up a New Pressure-Relief Spring

Relief springs are small automotive elements that deserve proper attention. Before mounting a new pressure-relief spring on your oil pump, seek advice from shops that specialize on this automotive part. Various engine models need different types of relief springs. So to avoid getting the wrong spring for your engine, it’s recommendable that you consult an expert first. Afterwards, examine whether the oil pump housing has defects, which can be caused either by constant use or by a filthy oil system. If the damage of the housing is too big, then it’s time for you to get a new one to reconstruct the oil pump.

Pressure-reliefe valve

3. Determining the Clearance

The next step is to institute the gear end clearance of your oil pump. Turn the housing of the pump upside down and merely slot the gears in it. Diagonally position a straightedge on the surface of the pump housing. In order to establish the clearance, slip in the feeler gauge in the middle of the straightedge and the gear. Rub the housing gasket with sandpaper if there is an excess clearance.

4. Putting Them Altogether

Once you have instituted the clearances of your oil pump, you’re probably keyed up to put the other components together. Before this, make sure that every component is thoroughly free from dirt particles. Blow dry them with dense air if at all possible. Pull together the oil pump with the new relief spring. Use oil to grease the relief valve, and then establish the gears on their ducts. Remember to use petroleum jelly to totally pack the gears and prepare the pump.

With these easy-to-follow steps, you can successfully regain your oil pump without spending too much. Easy, isn’t it?

Detecting Vehicle Defects

August 18, 2007

Your vehicle is a lot like your body. When one part is not functioning well, the entire body is affected. A simple toothache has the power to make you very sick. Although only one tooth has a problem, your body finds it very difficult to function soundly. The same is true with your vehicle. When one part experiences a breakdown, the whole vehicle may stop running smoothly.

On the other hand, discovering automotive problems is not as difficult as determining human sickness. To detect mechanical defects, no technologically advanced MRIs or CT scans are necessary. You just have to be a brilliant observer who knows how to use the senses well. Your eyes, ears, and nose are very important in figuring out the condition of your automobile.

Observe If There’s Unusual Odor

Unusual smell in your vehicle should be taken seriously. It may be a sign of internal troubles. Here are some of them:

  1. Smell that can be associated with putrid eggs or a constant smell of sulfur burning typically points to a setback in emission control mechanisms like the catalytic converter. This tells you that vehicle repair is imperative.
  2. A light yet distinct smell of something burning indicates an electrical short. This needs immediate diagnosis. Don’t use your vehicle until the electrical problem is resolved.
  3. Burning oil generally results to a solid pungent odor. This must prompt you to search for hints of a leak.

Check if there are leaks.

Examine the Stains

To save your vehicle from further damage, you need to know right away if there are leaks. Infrequent stains in little amount are not that alarming. However, if spills under your vehicle are a constant sight, there really must be something wrong within the system. Regularly checking the vehicle for any spill will be very helpful.

  1. A faulty gasket could cause leaks. If this happens, you will notice a considerable amount of black greasy liquid under your vehicle.
  2. If the stain is light blue, yellowish green or orange, it’s either the engine of the vehicle is overheated or there’s coolant leak coming from a busted radiator or water pump.
  3. A red oily spot indicates a transmission or power-steering fluid leak.

Be Aware of How the Vehicle Sounds

When your vehicle is not in good condition, it would most likely sound in a different way. The squeaking sounds and rattles would tell you that your vehicle utterly needs some treatment.

  1. Damaged or loose air conditioning belt, power steering or fan shrill can cause a sharp noise. This is typically an engine speed setback.
  2. If there is a jammed valve lifter, a twisted fan blade, a loose wheel cover or low engine oil, you will most probably hear a small yet distinct noise. That means that there is something wrong with the vehicle speed or the engine speed.
  3. If you hear a sharp clanging sound while your vehicle is moving, there must be a problem with the brakes.
  4. An unsystematic pounding sound means a suspension part like the shock absorber is loose.

Find out if your vehicle has some loose components.

Notice Changes in the Driving Experience

As a driver, you should know if there’s something wrong with the vehicle through your own driving experience. Sensing some unusual vibrations or having difficulty in handling the vehicle would tell you that an automotive check-up is urgently needed.

  1. Vibrations generally are due to unbalanced tires. This should be given proper attention because it may hastily damage suspension and steering pieces.
  2. One way to know whether or not your shocks need to be replaced is doing the Bounce Test. Try to powerfully bounce your vehicle at every wheel and then release it. If the vehicle bounces more than once, it means that your shocks are weak and needs to be replaced.
  3. Damage in one of the steering elements and misalignment of the front wheels can instigate problem with steering in a straight line.


Regular Coolant Check for a Hassle-Free Road Trip

August 15, 2007

Experiencing mechanical breakdown on a road trip is probably one of the most exasperating incidents in this world. Imagine sunny day, upbeat road music, hearty conversations, and impressive scenery. Suddenly, your vehicle goes kaput, and your fun on the road instantly comes to an end. Terrible, isn’t it?

Prevention is absolutely better than cure. Instead of worrying about what to do when the car breakdown occurs, focus on what to do before it actually happens. To avoid a maddening road experience, you better learn the root of the problem and start doing some ways to prevent it. Bear in mind that most automotive breakdowns are consequences of cooling system failure, and one of the common reasons cooling systems fail is coolant negligence. Accordingly, it is important that you regularly check your coolant in order to keep your car’s cooling system in good working condition. In case you need some help, I want to share with you my time-tested coolant checklist.

Level of Coolant

  • Strength of the Coolant

Evaluating the strength of your car’s coolant must be done to find out the antifreeze concentration. To increase its boiling point temperature and lessen the freezing point, the concentration of antifreeze in the coolant should be increased. On the other hand, the highest antifreeze concentration must only be 65-70%. Going beyond this limit diminishes the heat-carrying ability of the coolant, which is a usual reason why overheating is common in hot weather.

  • Level of the Coolant

To prevent overheating, you should know how to detect leaks. Consequently, you have to test the coolant level on a regular basis. Always remember that you have to check the level at the coolant reservoir. Don’t commit the usual mistake of checking the level at the radiator. The radiator will only drain off the coolant from the coolant tank whenever necessary.

So, how do you actually spot a leak? It’s relatively easy. Though many vehicles lose coolant after a while because of evaporation, a considerable loss of coolant in a very short phase is, more often than not, an indication of leak. So aside from the coolant reservoir, you have to examine the water pump, freeze plugs, radiator for possible external seepages.

You also have to do a pressure test on the cap and radiator to detect where the coolant is heading. For the test to be effective, a rigid system should cleave to the pressure limit for two minutes. A tight system should hold the maximum rated pressure for no less than two minutes without any decline in the gauge reading. When the system fails to hold this pressure, there is an internal leak. You have to examine the appearance and level of oil to know if coolant in the crankcase is polluted. Oil level that goes beyond the standard level and a frothy look indicates a broken head gasket. This should alarm you because a leak into the combustion chamber coming from a cracked head gasket is damaging to your vehicle. It will either pollute the oxygen sensor or taint the spark plug. If you’re lucky enough not to discover any observable leaks, you just have to make certain that the cap has the appropriate pressure rating. The loss of coolant might just be a result of temporary overheating due to a substandard cooling fan or engine overload.

Collant leak

  • Condition of the Coolant

Checking the condition of the coolant goes beyond examining its look. There are times when the coolant appears uncontaminated, but its internal make-up isn’t really good. This may lead to several mechanical problems, which you definitely don’t want to encounter.

To check the condition of the coolant, you need to do a chemical test strip. This will determine the amount of reserve alkalinity left in the coolant. Dip the test strip into the coolant. You can determine the condition of the coolant by comparing its color against a color reference chart.

Leakages caused by coolant neglect could cause a lot of problems to your vehicle. So, to enjoy a continuous smooth drive, bank on some preventive measures like giving your vehicle a regular coolant check-up.

Jeep Saves the Environment

August 11, 2007

Catalytic converters are Jeeps’ best bet for protecting the environment. As the automaker still doesn’t have a hybrid vehicle, the spreading trend now if automakers want to go green, they compensate by offering their customers a catalytic converter. Mother Nature has already become its friend as Jeeps are made to tread the great outdoors. Thus, it’s just natural for them to take care of the environment.

The Jeep catalytic converters transform carbon monoxide emissions into carbon monoxide before Jeeps breathe it out of its tailpipe. But if you own a Jeep that uses leaded gasoline, then forget about installing a catalytic converter in your vehicle. They would do more harm than good as it would only result to catalyst poisoning.


Catalytic Converter

Aside from transforming the carbon monoxides in to carbon dioxides, the catalytic converters also make sure to burn unburned gasoline so that they do not go out as harmful emissions. In their best working conditions, the catalytic converters could decrease backpressure, maximize the gas mileage and increase performance.

You ought to make sure that this device is always working properly. Always be alert for the symptoms of a broken catalytic converter. When this becomes broken, you could easily see symptoms like a crack which could splinter the filtering materials inside. When that happens, it would create a lot of noise and diminish the vehicle’s efficiency. Even drivers could feel that there would be a difference in their driving performance.

Thus, be sure to check it regularly as you don’t want to be driving with more harmful emissions due to your broken catalytic converter.