Save Money On Your Teen’s First Car

Posted by on 4:06 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Save Money On Your Teen’s First Car

When your first son or daughter reaches the sweet age of sixteen, it can mean a new freedom for both you and them — they get the freedom to drive themselves to school, work, friends’ houses, etc. and you get the freedom of getting back the time that you used to use driving them to all of those places. In fact, it can free up even more time for you because you can send them on errands, like going to the grocery store to pick up some milk, instead of having to go yourself. However, this new freedom can come with a price (buying a car isn’t cheap). Follow these tips to help save some money when your teen starts to drive. Insurance Discounts Teens are what the auto insurance industry refers to as “high-risk drivers,” so their insurance can be costly. However, there are many ways you can make things cheaper: bundling with your own insurance, getting a multi-car discount, and simply shopping around for the company with the best rates for your teen. Your teenager can also do several things to bring down their insurance cost. After they’ve finished with regular driver’s ed, they should look at taking a driver’s safety course, which will help them be “safer, more skilled, [and] involved in fewer collisions with fewer injuries,” according to TeenSMART. On top of being a safer driver, most insurance companies will also offer a discount for teens who have completed the course. Most auto insurance companies also offer discounts for teens who get good grades. While you should always encourage your teen to do their best in school, this is a nice extra incentive for them to do well on their report card. Buy an Older Car At sixteen, your teen doesn’t need to be commuting on the highway or going on long road trips — they just need something to get them a few miles around town. Teens also aren’t the best drivers, so you probably don’t want to get them a nice, new car just to ding-up. Buying your teen an older car can have several cost benefits, as well as the peace of mind that it won’t matter as much if they accidentally scrape it on the curb. It’s cheaper to purchase — Obviously a well-used car will be cheaper than buying new. Look for an older-model of car with low miles for the year and be sure to check online resources to ensure that you’re paying fair market value for the vehicle.  It’s cheaper to insure — As a general rule, older cars are cheaper to insure. Be sure to look over the specific model you’re buying to determine if it has a good safety rating and reliability, and check with your insurance company before you purchase the vehicle to find out exactly what your rates will be. It’s cheaper to fix — When your teen does end up damaging a fender or breaking a headlight, it’s likely that there will be lots of used replacement parts available for the car, which will cost you significantly less than buying new. Get familiar with the scrap yards in your area, like City Auto Wreckers, and find the one that specializes in your teen’s type of car (many auto scrap yards will specialize in domestic, European import, Japanese...

read more

How to Check for an Auto-Reverse on the Garage Door in Pre-1993 Homes

Posted by on 10:14 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How to Check for an Auto-Reverse on the Garage Door in Pre-1993 Homes

Before you purchase a home, there are many things that you should inspect. One item that you’ll want to carefully check if you’re purchasing a house that was constructed before 1993 is the garage door opener. Here’s why, along with how to inspect it. 1993 Regulations Require Auto-Reverse In addition to making sure the garage door opener is working properly, you’ll also want check that it’s equipped with important safety features. Specifically, you’ll want to look for a properly functioning auto-reverse. In 1993, the Consumer Product Safety Commission passed new regulations governing garage doors. The regulations require that manufacturers of garage door openers include auto-reverses on their openers. Thus, all garage doors built afterwards, by law, should have these auto-reverse features. Those built before 1993, though, may not because they weren’t legally required. A garage door might have any of three different kinds of auto-reverses: control buttons, electric eyes and contact sensors. Look for a Control Button Checking for a control button is easy. They’re located on the garage wall and usually look like a normal button that you’d press to open or close a garage door. The difference between a standard button and a control one is that the control button must be continually held down the entire time the garage door is closing. If it’s released, the door will begin opening. To see if the garage door opener of the home you’re looking at has a control button, open the door, press and hold the button that closes the garage door, then release the button. If the door begins opening once the button is released, the garage door is equipped with a control button that’s working. If the door continues closing, it either doesn’t have a button, or the feature is broken. Look for an Electric Eye An electric eye auto-reverse uses a laser to ensure there’s nothing in the path of the door when it’s closing. Most of the time, the laser is just off the garage floor and scans across the opening of the garage door. If anything breaks the beam of the laser while the door is closing, the door will immediately cease closing and start to open. If the garage door has an electric eye, you’ll likely find a small box-shaped rectangle on one of the two tracks that the door runs along. The box should be just above the floor. This is the laser. To check the electric eye, open the garage door, start to close the door, then place an opaque object across the door’s opening, close to the floor. If the object stops the door from closing, then there’s a working electric eye. If the door doesn’t stop, the eye is broken. Look to see whether the box is askew, as that could indicate that the laser is askew and could be fixed with a simple adjustment. If the box isn’t askew, there may be a bigger issue. Look for a Contact Sensor If the garage door opener has a contact sensor, you probably won’t be able to see it, but you can still test for it. To check for a contact sensor, you’ll need a rigid tool. The handle of a hammer or a screwdriver works well. As the door is closing, use the tool to push against the bottom of the door. If there’s a...

read more

Three Used Car Parts That Will Save You Money

Posted by on 3:48 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Used Car Parts That Will Save You Money

Junk yards are full of totaled cars that nonetheless have many fully functional parts. Following are seven used replacement car parts you may be able to find that will save you significant sums on repair costs. Some mechanics have access to used parts that they glean through area junk yards, so don’t hesitate to ask them for help if you aren’t mechanically inclined. After all, mechanics make their wages on providing labor rather than on the prices of the parts and may be glad to cultivate loyal customers by assisting them in saving money on car parts. Following are three major car parts that can save you money if purchased used. Radiators If your radiator has developed water or coolant leaks or shows signs of corrosion, it’s time to have it replaced, particularly if the engine has already overheated. Continuing with an old, worn-out radiator has the potential to completely destroy your engine. Unfortunately, new radiator prices can be prohibitive, but the good news is that used radiators can frequently be found that will do the job just fine. When buying a used radiator, be sure to inspect it thoroughly for signs of leaks or rust and make sure it is the type designed to fit into your particular vehicle. Check the hose fittings to ensure that they’re intact and look for areas of exposed bare metal that should be covered with paint, because this is a sign that the unit has developed a coolant leak. Pass it up if you see evidence of cement or epoxy patching—this means that the radiator has been previously repaired and probably isn’t in the greatest condition.  Fuel Tanks Leaky fuel tanks or those that have started to develop rust should be replaced as soon as possible. Not only will you lose money by driving with a leaky fuel tank due to gas prices, you’ll put yourself and passengers in possible danger because of the highly flammable nature of vehicle gas. Rust in the tank creates oxides that can corrupt the gas as well as form chunks that clog the fuel filter. A fuel tank is one type used auto part that is always OK to use, provided the one you select is free from holes and rust.  Transmissions  Transmissions are major car parts that can also be purchased used in order to save money. When buying a used transmission, it’s very important to ascertain it’s mileage—the lower, the better. Salvage yards maintain CarFax or Auto Check reports that provide this information. It is imperative to avoid purchasing a used transmission that has experienced water damage because the chances are very good that the electronic sensors in the transmission have malfunctioned beyond repair. Naturally, you should reject any used transmissions that show obvious signs of damage, such as signs of fluid leaks or cracks in the case. You can also manipulate the gears manually on a stick shift transmission to check to see whether it shifts gears smoothly. Because a transmission is a integral part of a vehicle’s operating system, it’s wise to have the used transmission thoroughly checked out by an experienced mechanic before making a purchasing commitment.  Never forget that any used part that you buy should be compatible with the make and model of your vehicle—otherwise, you’ll simply be wasting money. Also, it’s often...

read more

Diesel Particulate Filters: Separating Fact From Fiction

Posted by on 7:41 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Diesel Particulate Filters: Separating Fact From Fiction

Back in 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized new emission standards for a broad variety of diesel-powered vehicles, including heavy-duty highway vehicles and personal pickup trucks. These new standards, which went into effect for the 2007 model year, require diesel vehicles to use diesel particulate filters (DPF) and other tools to achieve cleaner emissions. It’s a move that’s generated mixed reactions among truck buyers, setting into motion a number of myths and misconceptions about DPFs and how they affect engine performance. The following sheds some well-needed light on DPFs while dispelling a few myths along the way. Myth #1: You’ll Spend a Lot of Time and Money on DPF Maintenance and Upkeep Located in line with the exhaust, diesel particulate filters work by capturing particulate matter (commonly known as “soot”) found in the exhaust stream. The captured soot is usually oxidized and burned to ash during the regeneration process, where exhaust temperatures can reach as high as 600 degrees Celsius. Eventually, the leftover ash and other various deposits have to be cleaned out of the DPF. Most people assume that the cleaning process not only has to be done frequently, but that it’s also expensive. In reality, the cleanup process isn’t as expensive or frequent as you’d think. Tom Berg from Heavy Duty Trucking Magazine recommends having the DPF filter cleaned every 50,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first. However, most diesel engine manufacturers have their own specific schedules for DPF cleanings. For example, Cummins requires a thorough DPF cleaning for its medium-duty engines every 300,000 miles. DPF cleaning services are also becoming more affordable as time goes on. A typical DPF cleaning can be done for around $250, with some independent shops charging less depending on the type of truck and the severity of the buildup.    Myth #2: It Costs a Lot of Money to Replace a Failed DPF Another common misconception is that a DPF filter can cost a lot of money to have replaced if it completely wears out or ends up damaged somehow. However, the cost of replacing a failed DPF has become more reasonable in recent years. A typical OEM DPF costs around $3,000, with aftermarket and wholesale versions available at lower costs. As time goes on and as DPF technology matures, it’s likely that the average cost of replacing a DPF will decline even more. Myth #3: A DPF Puts a Drag on Your Truck’s Fuel Efficiency A major fear once shared among truck owners was that the introduction of DPF technology would cause poorer fuel economy, especially for vehicles that use active regeneration as opposed to passive regeneration. Not only does the engine spend a little more fuel on the active regeneration process, but the accumulation of ash also has a slight increase on exhaust back pressure, which is also a factor in fuel consumption. Nevertheless, a recent study found that despite the exhaust back pressure increase caused by ash build-up, the use of DPF only raised overall fuel consumption by 2 to 3 percent. It’s a far cry from the severe mileage drops that many truck owners have reported at the start of DPF adoption. It’s also likely that the relatively small drop in mileage are being made up by other fuel-saving moves elsewhere, including the use...

read more

How To Use An Ordinary Board And Cable Ties To Remove A Motorcycle Tire From The Wheel

Posted by on 9:00 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Use An Ordinary Board And Cable Ties To Remove A Motorcycle Tire From The Wheel

If you own a motorcycle with a leaky tire and would like to patch it yourself, then one of the biggest challenges you will face is removing the tire from the wheel. A motorcycle mechanic uses specialized tools to remove the tire, but unless you perform tire work often, it may make little financial sense to spend money on the tools. Fortunately, you can use a few inexpensive items to easily and safely remove a leaky tire. Below is how you do it: Tools and materials needed 8-foot long two-by-four pine board Saw Measuring tape 24-inch cable ties Plastic spray bottle Liquid dish soap Flat pry bar Corrugated cardboard Scissors or knife Cinder block Helper Step-by-step procedure 1. Prepare your bead-breaking tools – before beginning, you need to create a couple of “tools” that will help you free the tire from the rim. First, you will need to construct a set of bead-breaking boards. Find a solid 8-foot long two-by-four pine board that does not contain any substantial knots, cracks or other weak spots. Next, measure and cut off a piece of the board 18 inches in length. Cut the other board to 6 feet even by removing 6 additional inches. Discard the 6-inch section. 2. Break the tire beads – lay a flat section of corrugated cardboard on a smooth, flat surface such as a driveway or garage floor. Next, place your wheel flat on the cardboard, sprocket-side up if it is a rear wheel, and position a cinder block approximately three feet from the wheel. Lay one end of the 6-foot board you cut in step 1 on top of the cinder block and line up the board so that it rests on top of the wheel. Ask your helper to hold down the end of the board at the cinder block so it won’t move. Next, lift the free end of the 6-foot board and position the 18-inch board so that its end rests on the bead of the tire. Lower the 6-foot board until it rests on the opposite end of the 18-inch board; viewed from the side, the entire assembly should resemble a somewhat-crooked letter “T”. As the helper holds the 6-foot board on top of the cinder block, apply downward pressure on the long board so that it applies force to the 18-inch board. If you positioned it correctly, the 18-inch board will compress the bead and cause it to separate from the rim. If you are unsuccessful, reposition the boards and keep trying until you are able to obtain bead separation. Once the bead separates in the first location, turn the wheel over and separate the bead on the opposite side. Use your hands to push in the remaining bead circumference around the rest of the rim on both sides. 3. Position cable ties – after the beads are fully separated from rim, spray a solution of liquid dish soap and water into the space between the tire bead and rim. This will provide lubrication so you can more easily maneuver the cable ties into position. Slide a 24-inch cable tie through the gap between the tire and rim on one side and push it all the way through so it protrudes from the gap between the rim and tire on the...

read more

All Fueled Up! Diagnosing And Cleaning Dirty Fuel Injectors

Posted by on 6:25 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Owning and operating a car is imperative for many people’s daily lives, but it can also be stressful. From the initial purchase and gas costs to cleaning and maintenance, it is easy to see how a car can be overwhelming. While you may be placing enough importance on oil changes and tire rotations, other maintenance is necessary for your engine’s performance. Considering fuel injectors are imperative for optimal engine performance, emissions, and fuel efficiency, ensuring they are clean and in good condition is key. Using this guide, you can diagnose and clean problematic fuel injectors. Misfire If your fuel injectors are clogged and dirty, you may experience an engine misfire. While driving, you may feel a jerking motion from the engine. This misfire refers to a faulty combustion process inside the cylinders. Although annoying while driving your car, the misfiring sensation is a key sign that there is a problem. Consult your auto repair technician immediately after noticing this engine problem. In addition to an engine misfire, inconsistency in the car’s performance is a sure sign of an injector issue. When injectors are clogged, the fuel flow will be inconsistent, as well. This causes the engine’s RPM to fluctuate, leading to abrupt power instead of a slow and smooth acceleration. Idling Issues Vehicles with rough idles are most likely to have an issue under the hood. In many cases, this issue stems from dirty or damaged fuel injectors. Pay attention to the following to determine if there is an idle issue: Rough – No matter what the temperature is, your engine’s idle is rough. Stall – If your engine stalls during an idle, there is an issue to address. Irregular Idle – If the idle changes from normal to inconsistent periodically, an injector cleaning may be necessary. Reduced Gas Mileage Currently, the average cost of gas is $2.43 per gallon. While these prices are lower compared to a year ago, wasting gas is not financially feasible for most Americans. Many factors contribute to a reduction in your average gas mileage, but clogged injectors play a large part due to the abnormal engine performance and rough idling. Considering abrupt acceleration reduces gas mileage 33 percent, maintaining your injectors can be beneficial. Gas Leaks The rough engine performance and idling issues will increase the amount of gas necessary for everyday travel, but this increased abuse may cause cracks to develop in your injectors, as well. The cracks eventually expand, causing gas to actually leak from the engine. If you notice spots on your driveway or smell gasoline periodically, you may have cracks in your fuel injection system. Your auto repair technician will recommend replacing your injectors as soon as possible. Cleaning your Injectors Gasoline deposits, minerals, dirt, and debris quickly build up inside your engine and clog your injectors, leading to the above problems. Thankfully, cleaning your injectors is an effective way to ensure your vehicle runs at its peak performance. Use the following steps to clean your injectors: Disable your fuel pump and connect a U-tube in its place. This ensures the fuel flows back into the tank. Disconnect the pressure regulator. In most vehicles, releasing a simple spring allows you to disconnect this part. Connect your fuel cleaning kit directly to the fuel port. Remove the fuel cap from...

read more