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3 Things Car Owners Should Know

Updated on September 25, 2016

Tuning Up Older Engines

An automobile is one complex machine with all its belts and chains and bolts and nuts and everything in between. It is therefore expected that any one of these parts would fail at some point. While auto parts are designed to last, they are not invincible to wear and tear which could greatly reduce their effectiveness.

Compared to engines of today, engines made during the 90s as well as the 80s are more dependent on mechanical parts. For example, a carburetor depends so much on the workings of its mechanical parts to inject the right fuel for the engine. Today's engines are using fuel injection systems which depend on electronics rather than mechanical systems.

This difference between these engines means that servicing them is also different. An older engine might need just a tune up which means adjusting different parts to get the most out of it. Newer engines on the other hand are very dependent on the onboard computer that usually, its performance does not take a plunge unless a mechanical part fails.

If you as the driver noticed that something has changed in the performance of your vehicle but the vehicle is still running properly, then a tune up may be the solution. For example, if your engine is not producing the same amount of power it once used to deliver, the culprit might be a spark plug clogged up with carbon deposit. Of course, that scenario can only be possible in a gasoline-powered engine.

If the engine is still using a distributor, the contacts might be corroded that the spark plug is no longer receiving the electricity it needs to ignite the fuel in the combustion chamber. Another culprit maybe a frayed spark plug wire or even a broken one.

Another reason for the declining performance of an engine could be a dirty air filter. If it is too dirty to the point that it is no longer permitting the entrance of enough air into the engine, the power output of the powerplant could diminish.

Individually, those minor problems might not stop the engine from running. But collectively, these could cause the engine to lose significant power output. It could also increase the engine's fuel consumption and at the same time produce the amount of pollutants released by the vehicle.

Since these problems are only minor, a car owner can replace the parts that need to be replaced. Checking the air filter, the spark plug wire, and the spark plug themselves is an easy task. Replacing them is not that big of a challenge either.

But if the engine is still not as good as it should be after checking these minor problems and correcting them, it is best that the vehicle be brought to an accredited car care shop. Professional technicians would have the know-how and the tools to deal with any problems. And since tune-up is just an easy task compared to other services offered by auto shops, you can expect to pay less than what you would pay for if you let the problem persist.


Preparing For Winter Driving

It is not a secret that driving during winter is risky. With freezing temperature and the slippery roads, it is not surprising that numerous road accidents happen during winter months. Driving in winter though will be less risky if drivers are prepared. Preparation for that time of the year should be taken seriously as a car driver's safety could depend on it.

First, consider the problem that you will be facing during colder months. Of course it is the cold and car owners know that starting a vehicle in the cold can be frustrating. There are several aftermarket parts though which are designed to help car drivers to start their engines in the coldest days.

One example is a heater which is used by replacing one of the freeze plugs on the engine overnight. The heater's job is to keep the coolant warm enough that the engine would be easier to start in the morning. It is also recommended that engine oil be kept warm too to make it easier for the oil to circulate upon starting the engine in the morning. Most engine oil heaters are used to replace the dipstick overnight. These aftermarket heaters usually use 120-volt AC power.

Another auto component which can be hampered by the cold is the battery. To make sure that your battery can survive through the winter, have it checked. If it is nearing its end of life, replace it before winter starts. When choosing a battery for the coming winter, check its cold-cranking amp rating. The higher the rating, the better it will perform in the cold.

Chains are also great allies during winter driving. Studies have shown that using chins on the tires increases the stopping power of the vehicle. In a slippery road, a vehicle can benefit greatly from the traction provided by chains on the tires. While there are different styles of chains for the vehicle, it is best to remember that no matter what style it is, it should fit snugly into your car's tires.

There are also other things that need checking before winter arrives. The wiper blades should be in good working condition. It is recommended that a driver invest on a snow/winter blade if residing in an area known for heavy snowfall. When parking the vehicle outside for the night, it is best to lift the blade off the windshield to make sure that it does not get stuck to it.

The coolant needs to be checked too. If it does not have the right amount of antifreeze, the coolant could freeze which could break the radiator. There are also antifreeze products for the gasoline which would prevent freezing of the fuel lines. It is also recommended that car owners lubricate door locks to reduce the risk of it freezing shut.

Also, it is strongly suggested that car drivers be ready for the worst like being stranded on a highway in a cold winter night. This means drivers should prepare emergency supplies like food, mobile phone with good batteries, and other similar items.

Things To Do Before Selling Your Car

While most vehicle owners tend to be attached to a vehicle through the years, a time might come when the car owner would have to sell the vehicle. There could be numerous reasons why one would want to sell a vehicle. Whatever the reason may be the things that need to be done before selling a vehicle remains the same.

The first thing that one should do is put himself in the shoes of the buyer. Would you buy your car as it looks right now? If you think the car you are looking to sell is not as good-looking enough for you, chances are the buyer might not be impressed too.

Therefore, you have to exert some effort to make your vehicle attractive to the buyer. From the exterior of the car to its interior to the engine's performance, everything should be given attention. Checking these parts and replacing what needs to be replaced could make your vehicle attractive to many buyers.

It is recommended that you invest in good quality car wax to use on your vehicle. Wash the car thoroughly and apply the wax which should give your car the shine it needs. Also, do not disregard the tires. Clean the rims well and use products which will give the wheels and tires a shiny appearance.

On the inside, clean the upholstery and use a vacuum cleaner to get out all the dirt from inside the vehicle. It is also recommended that you remove all things you added to the interior of the car to design it. Make the car look like it just came out of the dealership.

Make sure that you have all the proper records pertaining to your vehicle. Service records for example are very important as it would give the prospective buyer enough information on the past repairs made to the vehicle. If you are willing to go beyond that, you can order a vehicle report from Carfax so that you can show the buyer that everything is in order when it comes to ownership papers and service records.

When deciding how much the car should be sold for, research. You can use the World Wide Web to see how a similar car is being priced when sold second-hand. Compare mileage and age as well. The asking price and the value of your car should not be the same though. List the asking price about 10 to 15 percent more than the car's value as it would give you enough room to negotiate a price with the buyer.

Prospective buyers would often ask to test drive your vehicle. Make sure that the buyer has a valid driver's license. Accompany the buyer on the test drive and do not be too pushy by placing your sales pitch during the test drive. Just keep things friendly and answer every question asked by the buyer in connection with the vehicle.

It is not given that the first inquiring buyer will ultimately buy your vehicle. If this happen, do not be discouraged as there would be others who might want your vehicle.


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