Is Something Wrong with Your Struts?

Struts are part of a car or truck’s suspension, which is the system of parts that connects the wheels to the rest of the car. The job of the struts is to keep the vehicle balanced and absorb impacts from potholes, bumps, and general unevenness in the road. Here’s what you need to know about struts, signs they need replacing, and why it’s important to replace them

What Are Struts?

Struts are composed of two main parts: a spring and a shock absorber. The spring is usually a coil spring, which supports the weight of the vehicle and absorbs the impact of bumps. The shock absorber also helps to support the vehicle’s weight, but its main job is to dampen vibrations. The shock absorber is located either above, below, or down the middle of the soil spring. Despite the name, the shock absorber doesn’t absorb bumps directly. That’s the job of the coil spring. Because a strut is weight-bearing, it has to be stronger than a regular shock absorber. Struts are what help to keep your vehicle on the ground.

Is Something Wrong?

When your vehicle’s struts wear out, your car’s handling and turning ability will be affected. An indication something is wrong with your struts is if your car tips to one side and feels wobbly when turning. The car will noticeably bounce around when the struts are worn out. If your car bottoms out (dips close to the ground or touches the ground) after hitting a bump, you need new struts. Tire wear, especially uneven tire wear, is a warning something is wrong with your struts. Tire cupping is what causes this wear.

A tell-tale sign that tire cupping is occurring is that your rear tires will sound like a dribbling basketball when you drive. Bad struts can also affect the quality of your braking. If you are in a situation where you need to brake quickly and your struts are worn, this will cause your vehicle to nose-dive. If your vehicle seems unstable in windy conditions, such as when a large truck passes by, this could be a sign your struts aren’t providing adequate stability to your vehicle.

Replacing Struts

Recommendations about when to replace struts varies depending on who you ask, but between 60,000 to 100,000 miles is average. If you have regular maintenance done on your car, your struts can be checked and replaced when the first signs of wear and tear are noticed. If you’re not someone who has your car regularly maintained, it’s a good idea to be aware of the signs something is wrong with your struts. Struts play an important role in not only the handling, stability, and stopping distance of your car, but safety as well.

Struts are one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to maintenance because wear happens gradually and drivers often adjust the way they drive to compensate. It’s important to know the signs of struts wear as failing to replace them when needed can lead to more costly repairs.

How Often Should You Get an Oil Change?

When thinking about your next oil change, you may consider a popular rule of thumb such as every three months or when you hit a certain number of miles. You may not have considered whether these are accurate because everyone seems to use them. You may even skip an oil change here and there without thinking much about it. Here you will learn the importance of getting your oil changed and how often you should really be doing it.

Why Get an Oil Change?

Vehicle engines have a lot of moving parts and these parts need oil to keep them moving smoothly and without overheating. As oil is used, it becomes dirty. These impurities cause the oil to be less effective over time and if not changed, this can lead to engine trouble and even cause it to break down as the oil will not lubricate the engine parts as well and or absorb heat as well.

What Affects Oil Consumption and Impurities?

Your driving style can cause you to go through oil more quickly or more slowly. The more quickly you use up oil, the sooner you will need an oil change. When engine speed increases, for example, the amount of exhaust is increased and more oil is used. Your car’s engine design also plays into oil consumption. The amount of oil that can enter the engine depends on the clearance space between parts.

Recently made cars have engines with less clearance space, which means less oil will be consumed. Every time the piston reaches the top, a certain amount of oil will be used. Oil becomes dirty over time as it does burn a little along the cylinder walls. The impurities you see in the oil come from small pieces of metal that wear off the moving parts. The oil filter keeps a lot of the impurities from circulating back through the engine, but as impurities build up, it will be more difficult to do.

How Often to Get an Oil Change?

When you began driving, you were probably told that you should change you oil every 3,000 miles or every three months. Checking your oil on a regular basis, such as once a month during a routine trip to the gas station to fill up your gas tank, is a good way to know for sure if it needs to be changed. You’ll be able to see its darkened color and impurities.

You will also want to check car owner’s manual because it’s specific to your car and will be a better gauge than a general estimate. Use the oil that’s recommended for your car. While every 3,000 miles is generally a good rule for changing your oil, if it needs it sooner knowing for sure is better than guessing or putting it off too long.

Making sure to change your oil on a regular basis will help keep your car’s engine in its best running condition.

Pros and Cons of Doing Your Own Car Maintenance

2017 Soul Turbo

Are you wondering if you should do your own car maintenance or is it better to trust it to a skilled mechanic? Depending on the repairs needed, doing your own car maintenance can be easy or difficult. Experience comes in handy when doing your own car maintenance, but you will gain that as you do more of it. Here are the pros and cons of doing your own car maintenance:

Advantages of Doing Your Own Car Maintenance

The biggest advantage to doing your own car maintenance it probably the amount of money you’ll save. Parts and labor will both cost you if you go to a mechanic. If you do the work yourself, you will save money on labor and possibly parts as well if the mechanic marks them up. You can even purchase used parts to do your repairs, which mechanics won’t do.

If you need to buy a tool here and there, it still won’t cost as much as having someone else do the repairs and you’ll have the tools for years to come to use for future repairs. Starting small when doing your own car maintenance will help you to gain confidence and skills.

Types of maintenance that are easy to learn are good ones to begin with. This can include things such as: oil changes, topping up fluids, changing filters and spark plugs, and rotating tires. The tools you can begin with are also basic ones that you’ll be able to use for various projects. These include: wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, and jacks to name a few. Learning the skills associated with car maintenance will also help you if you ever need to change a flat tire or do other small repairs while on the road.

Risks of Doing Your Own Car Maintenance

When you’re new to doing car maintenance, it might take up some of your time. This is normal when you’re first learning, so you’ll want to set aside time, such as a weekend, when you know you’ll be free. It’s important to know what you’re doing before you make any repairs to your car. You need to read about it, watch videos online if possible, and make sure you have the tools and parts necessary.

Failing to do this could result in more damage being done to your car. This could lead to breakdowns, accidents, and more money and time being spent to have all the damage repaired. In some cases, doing your own repairs may void the manufacturer’s warranty or other warranty associated with your car.

Be aware of this before you begin doing your own maintenance. Some maintenance and repairs that you should leave to the professionals include: airbag replacement, snapped coil springs, transmission repair, and brake repair. For safety reasons, it’s better to let someone who knows what they are doing handle these.

Doing your own car maintenance has both pros and cons. You may decide to do regular maintenance such as oil changes yourself while leaving other jobs up to the professionals. Starting small is the way to go when it comes to car maintenance. You can build your skills and confidence to do more.

How Do Diesel Engines Work?

Diesel engines are often associated with large trucks that emit thick, black smoke. These days, that image is changing as the diesel engine becomes cleaner and less noisy. The diesel engine is becoming a distinct choice when it comes to cars. Here’s what you should know about the diesel engine, how it works, and its pros and cons:

How the Diesel Engine Works

Like the gasoline engine, the diesel engine is an internal combustion engine. It is designed to convert the chemical energy into mechanical energy. The mechanical energy is what moves the pistons inside the cylinder. The pistons are connected to the crankshaft. The up and down motion of the pistons creates the rotary motion needed to make the wheels of a car turn. This is called linear motion.

A diesel engine also converts fuel to energy through a series of small explosions. The way these explosions happen in a diesel engine is different though. In a diesel engine the air is compressed before the fuel is injected. Air heats up when it is compressed and the fuel is ignited.

The diesel engine uses a four-stroke cycle, which include: intake stroke, compression stroke, combustion stroke, and the exhaust stroke. The intake stroke is when the intake valves open, which allows the pistons to move up and down. The compression stroke is when the piston moves up and compresses the air. The combustion stroke occurs when the piston is at the top and the fuel is injected and ignited, which forces the piston down. The exhaust stroke moves the piston back to the top, pushing the exhaust created out of the exhaust valve. The diesel engine does not contain a spark plug.

About Diesel Fuel Injection

The injection process is different in a diesel engine than in a gasoline engine. Diesel engines use direct fuel injection where the diesel is injected directly into the cylinder. The injector is the most complex part of this engine. It must be able to withstand the pressure and temperature inside the cylinder while still creating a fine mist from the fuel.

In order to spread the mist around special induction valves and pre-combustion chambers are also needed. Some diesel engines also contain a glow plug, which is an electrically heated wire that heats the combustion chambers and raises the air temperature so that during the cold weather the engine can start.

Pros and Cons of a Diesel Engine

One major benefit of a diesel engine is that is lasts longer than a gasoline engine. The downside is the cost of repairing a diesel engine can be costly. In general, a diesel engine can last up to 30 years. Another con is that a diesel engine won’t easily start in freezing winter weather. You will find fuel economy better with a diesel engine. The fuel economy of a diesel engine is quite superior, so if you’re looking to save money in the long run, it’s a good choice.

Diesel engines are becoming a more used option when it comes to cars. There are a number of benefits to diesel engines.

Learn About the Honda Motor Company

Honda Motor Company is a Japanese corporation mainly known for manufacturing automobiles, motorcycles, aircraft, and power equipment. They are known for the quality of their vehicles, and people all over the world enjoy their vehicles. Here’s what you should know about the Honda Motor Company, including its history:

History of the Honda Motor Company

Soichiro Honda got his start working on vehicles as a child and entering vehicles in races. When he was 15, he quit school and began working for an auto servicing company, Tokyo Art Shokai. His first company, Tokai Sieki, produced piston rings for Toyota. The contract for this job was lost as the pistons were not up to standard.

Soichiro would create an automated press that would create better pistons and his company would produce them for Toyota until his factory was destroyed by an American bomber in 1944. Honda Motor Company was established in 1948 by Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa. In 1949 they would introduce their first original product, which was a D-type motorcycle that Soichiro Honda named “Dream.”

By 1964 Honda had become the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. In 1959 Honda would open its first overseas subsidiary in Los Angeles, California. The next few decades would bring expansion to the Honda company. This would include more products and more exports to countries around the world. Honda was so invested in his company that he would personally test all motorcycles and automobiles to make sure they were up to standard.

Honda Motor Company’s Vehicles

In 1969, the Honda Motor Company would introduce its 4-cylinder Honda CB750, which would prove to be a sophisticated motorcycle. In 2012, the CB750 would be named the motorcycle of the century. The first automobile produced by Honda would be the T360 in 1963. The T360 was a mini pick-up truck, which was powered by a small 356-cc 4-straight gasoline engine. The first car produced by Honda would be a sports car. The S500 was also released in 1963. This car would use a four-speed manual transmission with chain drive at the rear wheels.

Another car, the S360, was unveiled in 1962 but would not end up being put into production. It was one of the first automobiles created by Honda. The first Accord, a hatchback, would make its appearance in 1976. In 1986 Honda would launch its luxury vehicle, the Acura. In 1987 the Honda Prelude would become the first four-wheel drive car.. In late 1999 Honda would introduce the first hybrid vehicle to the United States.

Awards Won by the Honda Motor Company

The 2017 Ridgeline, Pilot, and CR-V were all awarded the 2017 IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety Pick+. These cars are equipped with Honda Sensing and LED Lights. The 2017 Accord Hybrid was awarded the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for its impressive crash safety performance. The 2017 Accord, Civic, Ridgeline, Fit, Odyssey, and HR-V were all given top marks with 5-Star Overall Vehicle Scores from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

From the beginning, the Honda Motor Company has strived for safety and reducing their environmental footprint. It’s a company that continues to get better with time.

How to Drive in the Winter

Driving in the winter can be tricky. The conditions can vary from wet to icy to snowy. You may experience multiple conditions in just one driving trip, so you want to be prepared and know how to handle each one safely and effectively. Here’s what you need to know about driving in the winter.

Have the Proper Tires

Having the correct tires on your vehicle during the winter months is probably the most important factor in driving safely during winter. The tires you use for summer driving won’t be effective in the snow. If you deal with serious winter conditions that include snow, ice, and freezing water on the roads, you’re going to want winter tires. All-season tires are different from winter tires. All-season tires are more stiff than winter tires, which actually reduces their grip on ice.

Check Your Brakes

During winter conditions, you want your brakes to be in their best condition. If you’re already dealing with brakes that are struggling to do their job, adding winter condition to the situation won’t help. For everyone’s safety have your brakes checked.

Driving in Icy Conditions

Ice and black ice conditions require cautious driving. Black ice is regular ice that forms over pavement, but because it forms without bubbles it becomes transparent making it hard to see. During cold temperatures it’s a good idea to drive slowly in the event you hit an icy patch. If you do, it’s important to stay calm and don’t react in fear by braking quickly or swerving to get away from it. Continue driving straight. If you drive a manual car, you’ll want to shift into a lower gear. If you begin to skid, you can press lightly on the brakes. In a car with anti-lock brakes, press the brake with even pressure and let the ABS take over.

Driving in Snowy Conditions

Snow can also create hazardous driving conditions. Snowy roads can make it difficult to slow down as quickly as you’re used to, so leave a good amount of space between you and the car in front of you. In the event you have trouble slowing down, you’re less likely to hit them. When driving, don’t press too hard on the gas as you never know when you might encounter a patch of ice. If you have a four-wheel drive, be aware that you need to take the same care as other drivers. While you may be able to get going faster, you face the same issues slowing down as anyone else, especially if you hit ice.

In addition to the tips listed above, it’s also a good idea to keep your gas tank at least half full for two reasons. If you get stuck on the road, you don’t want to run out of gas. But keeping the gas tank at least half full will keep the fuel line from freezing up. It’s not always possible to avoiding driving during wet, icy, or snowy conditions, but you can learn to drive safely in these conditions.

How to Recycle a Car

Instead of letting your old car sit around and collect dust, you can consider recycling it. Recycling your car is an environmentally conscious way to deal with a junk car you no longer have use for. Here’s what you should know about recycling a car.

Benefits of Recycling a Car

Almost all parts of a car can be saved and reused. In fact, approximately 90% of a car can be recycled. Recycled tires are mainly used to make pavements bases that help to create new roads. Recycled glass from cars can be used to make tiles, glass beads, jewelry, and countertops. Scrap metal that comes from the car’s door handles, rims, and other parts can be melted down and used to create new items.

Batteries should be recycled to keep the toxic chemicals from contaminating the environment. The plastics on a car, such as lights, gas tanks, bumpers, and dashboards can be shredded and made into new products. Even engine oil can be recycled as it never wears out, it just gets dirty.

Sell Your Used Car to an Automotive Company

There are companies who buy used cars to break them down for parts. Every car recycling service is different, so you’ll want to do some research. Information you’ll want to collect from each service include: a quote (a free quote would be best), whether they will pick up the car, and whether they will help deal with paperwork involved. You will have to transfer the title of the car.

If you’re looking to make some money on your old car, this is a good choice. You can contact a few companies and weigh their offers against each other. It’s important to note that companies that recycle cars are not the same as scrap yards. You’re more likely to get more money for your car if you sell to a recycling company and know that more of the parts will be recycled.

Donate Your Old Car

If you don’t want to sell your car, but want to help others in some way, donating your car to a charity is a good option. If the car is in working condition, the charity may choose to use it themselves. If the car needs work, or is beyond repair that the charity can pay for, they can sell the car and use the money to benefit the charity.

Research charities that accept cars and figure out where your car can best be used. Don’t forget to deal with paperwork properly and save it all when you donate your car. You may even get a tax deduction when you donate your car to a charity. You may also consider contacting a school that teaches automotive classes as they need cars to practice on.

When getting rid of an old car, you have the choice to sell it or to donate it. Either choice is a good one, it depends on what your goal is. Your ultimate goal, of course, is to know that your car is being recycled and put to good use instead of tossed in a pile of garbage.

Want more information? Learn how to sell your car here or visit this page to learn how to donate your car. 

What to Expect When You Have a Rear-Wheel Drive Vehicle

Rear-wheel drive has become a popular choice for vehicle designers, but whether you choose a front wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or an all-wheel drive depends on a few factors such as the conditions you drive in and what kind of driver you are. Here’s what you should know about the rear-wheel drive, how it works, its benefits, and its drawbacks.

What is rear wheel drive?

Rear-wheel drive is a transmission system that provides power to the rear wheels of a vehicle while the front wheels take care of the steering. Rear-wheel drive is most commonly found on mid to large-sized sedans and family cars, trucks, SUVs, and sport and performance cars.

How does a rear wheel drive work?

A rear-wheel drive vehicle sends all of its power to the rear wheels. Getting power to the rear wheels begins with the engine. The engine in a rear wheel drive is located at the front of the vehicle. The engine is connected to a driveshaft, which sends power to the rear wheels. A lot happens during the process, and this is just a simplification.

Combusting fuel in the cylinder will push the pistons to spin the crankshaft. This creates rotational energy. This energy is sent to the transmission, which takes power from the crankshaft and applies it to various gear ratios. The transmission will use engine power to spin the driveshaft. It’s important to note the driveshaft is connected to the engine on one end and the differential at the other end. The differential is what will send power to the wheels.

Pros and Cons of Rear-Wheel Drive

Better vehicle balance and therefore better handling is one of the main benefits of a rear-wheel drive vehicle. A front-wheel drive will carry much of the weight of the engine and transaxle, whereas a rear wheel drive will help spread the weight evenly from front to back. This is why most sports cars are rear-wheel drive. If the rear-wheel drive has a solid axle design, it will be able to take more abuse without needing expensive repairs.

If you run over a curb, for example, with a solid axle rear-wheel drive, it’s unlikely anything will break. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should be careless when driving and jump curbs when it seems convenient. The downside of a rear-wheel drive is that it doesn’t handle as well as you might want in rainy and snowy conditions due to increased loss of traction. This lack of traction is due to more weight being at the front of the car than at the back. If safety is a concern (and it should be), rear-wheel drive vehicles are best not used if you’re going to be driving in snow. A rear-wheel drive will handle much better in dry conditions.

Rear-wheel drives are most common in performance cars, such as race cars, but because they are also found in every day vehicles, it’s important to know how they work and under what conditions they’re best suited for. Rear-wheel drive isn’t for every vehicle and every driver, but it might be perfect for you.