Heart in Hands

Monthly Archives: June 2012

When to Take Your Car for a Tune-Up

When to Take Your Car for a Tune-Up

You've been driving that car for awhile now, and you might be wondering whether it's time to take it in for a tune-up. While tune-ups were considered a part of regular auto maintenance not that long ago, manufacturers are now designing cars to go farther and farther before tune-ups are needed. How do you know when it's time to take the car in to a trusted auto repair shop for servicing? This guide should help you know when it's time. What happens during a tune-up? Tuning up a vehicle usually involves replacing the spark plugs, along with checking and replacing the following as needed: Spark plug wires Fuel filter Air filter Rotor and distributor cap Belts In older vehicles, a tune-up also includes adjusting the ignition timing. Note the age, mileage and manufacturer recommendations For vehicles built before 1981 (that is, cars with a non-electric ignition), you should tune up the car every 10,000-20,000 mi ... read more

When to Replace Your Car's Struts

While the 'bounce test' has been the most common way to test older vehicles to see if shocks or struts need to be replaced, newer cars require a more sophisticated approach. In general, if your car feels as though it's bouncing down the road or swaying too much in turns, your struts and/or shocks may need replacement. Here's three indications you need to replace your car's struts or shocks. 1. Vehicle Handling: Struts and shocks are essentially shock absorbers to smooth out your ride, not only absorbing bumps and dips in the road, but also stabilizing during turns, braking, accelerating and the like. Changes in how your car handles and steers are often a sign the struts are worn. Noises coming from steering, the front of the car diving more than normal during braking, swaying or leaning when turning and stiffness in the ride are other indicators you should get a suspension inspection to see if replacement of the shocks and struts is necessary ... read more

Automotive Belt and Hose Inspection

Even if you're handy under the hood, potential belt and hose problems can't always be identified by visual inspection. Belts and hoses are integral parts of your vehicle, and failure can cause multiple issues - especially if you're on the open road. If the water pump belt breaks or a hose leaks, the cooling system can be compromised and you'll end up with an overheated engine. Belt and hose damage or deterioration can also lead to loss of power steering, loss of electrical power, and even catastrophic engine failure. Coolant and heater hoses are made from flexible rubber and other compounds, and are designed to absorb vibration between the radiator and engine. They're susceptible to damage from age, dirt, oil and extreme temperatures. When inspecting hoses, wait until the engine is completely cool, then look and feel for bulges, nicks, fraying, and cracks around the bends. Squeeze the hose to feel for mushy spots that indicate interior breakdow ... read more

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