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Valve Clearance Adjustment

Does the engine need valve adjustment? It depends on the age, condition and make of the vehicle you drive. Due to the widespread use of roller follower valve train designs that reduce friction and hydraulic tappets (valve lifters) that help maintain optimal valve clearance, older vehicles require more frequent valve adjustments.
If necessary, valve clearance specifications and valve adjustment procedures vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. For example, some recent modern engine maintenance programs require a valve clearance inspection at 60,000 miles. Some Hondas require inspection at 110,000 miles. Some manufacturers advise you to inspect your valve only if it is too noisy. Others have not mentioned valve clearance at all in their maintenance schedule. Your vehicle’s maintenance schedule should be detailed in your owner’s manual, so if you are unsure, check it first.

Types of valves and how they work:

The valve resembles a spring tension inverted golf tee that is opened by a rotating camshaft lobe, either directly on the overhead camshaft motor or by a push rod acting on the rocker arm of the valve. Over head valve motor (pushrod). Prolonged use can increase the clearance between the lobe or rocker arm and the valve stem on which they act. It often causes rattling and more engine vibrations that the driver may not notice for a while as it ramps up but needs to be adjusted to fix. With exhaust valves, as the valve or valve seat wears, the clearance narrows over time, which can reduce the so-called rush clearance between the valve and the valve train component.
The intake valve opens and closes to allow the air-fuel mixture (or air only in some modern engines) to enter the cylinder, and the exhaust valve lets the exhaust gases escape. Too much or too little valve clearance can cause the engine to not “breathe” normally and run at maximum efficiency, resulting in poor performance and disturbed idle conditions. If the clearance is too large, the valve will rattle and may damage the valve, camshaft lobe, or rocker arm in the long run. If the valve clearance is too small, the valve will not close completely, generating excessive heat and losing engine power.

How to check the valve (and when to fix it)?

If the engine makes a loud rattling noise, it may be time to adjust the valve clearance, but the knocking noise can also be caused by loose rocker arms and other components. The mechanic will not know for sure without inspecting the valve. In some engines, the valve does not make noise if the clearance is too large, but valve problems can appear in other ways. Loss of energy can indicate, for example, that the valve spring is weak or broken.
To check the valve clearance, remove the valve cap (or two valve caps for V-engines) and use a thin feeler gauge as shown in the photo above, both the intake and exhaust valves and their lobes. Or you need to measure the space between the rocker arms.
(The camshaft must be in the correct position and each valve must be fully closed for each measurement.) If necessary, adjustments require the installation or replacement of shims with specialized tools, oil Not an input / maintenance item fast delivery as the replacement. Especially in engines that have 3 or 4 valves per cylinder. Plan to pay for at least a few hours of effort and inspection in the shop.

Eliminating valve rattle is one of the benefits of properly adjusting the valve, but the motor can also be smoother and more responsive. Additionally, proper adjustment can extend the life of the valve train.

Maintenance and Repair Comparison Between Manual and Auto Transmission

Manual transmissions are generally cheaper to maintain and repair than automatic transmissions. Automatics are much more complex and have many parts and features that can fail but can vary depending on your driving style.
Automatics have hundreds of mechanical, hydraulic, and electronic assistants that need to work in harmony to change gears smoothly. In contrast, manual transmissions are primarily mechanical gears, depending on the driver to engage the clutch and shift as needed.
The cost of replacing an automatic transmission fluid varies depending on the person doing the vehicle and transmission repair, but generally ranges from $ 100 to $ 200. Manual transmissions also require regular fluid changes, but the cost tends to be roughly half.
Transmission repair costs vary greatly depending on the vehicle and what you need. Repairing a leak can cost hundreds of dollars or less but disassembling the transmission to find the cause of the problem can be much more expensive. As a result, many repair shops recommend replacing the car’s transmission rather than fixing the internal problem with a rebuild. This is especially true for newer continuously variable transmissions and dual-clutch automatics, as parts are difficult to obtain and there is little knowledge about repairs.
Transmission replacement costs vary widely, but manual transmissions are typically inexpensive, ranging from about $ 1,500 to $ 3,000 for non-luxury cars. Automatics are more expensive, ranging from about $ 2,000 to $ 4,000 for remanufactured transmissions for most major brand vehicles. CVT leans toward the higher side of the estimate: An auto shop said it would cost $ 4,000 to install a replacement CVT in the Nissan Sentra, compared to $ 2,500 to replace a Chevrolet Cruze 6-speed automatic transmission. For luxury cars, the price of a new transmission can be close to $ 10,000.
There are other things to consider about costs. Some automatic and manual transmission components are covered by the manufacturer’s powertrain warranty. This warranty lasts for 60,000 miles for many vehicles and 100,000 miles for some.
However, manual transmission clutches are considered “wear” items and generally cover only 12,000 miles. The clutch and related parts are also typically excluded from the additional cost service contract (or extended warranty).
If the clutch disengages quickly due to driving style, repairing a manual transmission can cost more than an automatic transmission. Likewise, if your feet and hands do not work together, you will often use a manual transmission to sharpen your gear or sharpen your gear teeth, but you will be charged over time.
Automatic transmissions can also be damaged by abuse, but they are less susceptible to wear and tear caused by individual driving styles than manual ones. Most people just start and drive them, and they rarely even think about engines and transmissions. Thanks to computer control and other advancements, modern automatics are more durable than ever, even when driven with enthusiasm.
Both auto and manual are good in either ways. Auto provide us more comfortable and restful drive whereas manual is cheaper in cost and cheap to maintain. Beside of these reasons some people prefer manual transmission and some prefers Auto Transmission. Every person has its own choice.

Mechanical Benefits and Tips of Cleaning your Engine

The clean engine compartment makes used cars look newer and better maintained. Some stores that offer engine cleaning services claim that a clean engine will run at a slightly cooler temperature, as removing the ganks of dirt, oil, and grease will make the engine run cooler.
Appearance aside, is a clean car engine that sparkles like new better than one that gets dirty with normal use? Do I need to get rid of the debris or use a degreasing agent for the car to work properly? Probably not.
It is true that the oily and greasy dirt that builds up on the engine can trap heat, but it is doubtful that it is enough to overheat or warm the engine above normal. If your car’s engine overheats, the cause is likely the cooling system. Or it could be because the car is being towed, is too heavy, or due to other issues not related to cleanliness of the engine compartment. There is no evidence to suggest that a cleaner engine performs better than a dirty engine. Simple things like a small reducer or cleaning spray are unlikely to improve vehicle performance.

The Cleaner Engine has Several Advantages:

However, there are certain benefits to cleaning a car engine. By doing this you can first identify where the oil or grease is coming from (such as a valve cover gasket leak), so that you can isolate and fix small problems, such as small oil leaks, and then turn them into large one’s problems. that. Additionally, oils and greases can accelerate the wear and tear of rubber hoses and plastic parts, so cleaning dirt with a degreasing agent can save you some repair work. Plus, for those who like to do a little maintenance, like checking oil levels and accessory belts, a clean engine will reduce the chance of getting your hands and clothing dirty.
Many mechanics and detail shops recommend using tools like degreasers, vacuums with small nozzles, compressed air, and toothbrushes to be out of reach. They are better than blowing up the engine with a high-pressure hose or cleaning the engine with steam, as water and moisture can damage electrical connections and components. Even a small amount of water sprayed in the wrong place can cause serious problems. Engine details require precision and a smooth touch. Trying to tackle this project with water from a car wash or a garden hose can cause disaster.
The aesthetic appeal of a clean engine is probably the biggest payoff. Most used cars, including those sold by private owners, are thoroughly detailed before going on sale, so buyers are expected to see a clean engine when they shop. If the engine of a used car is dirty, the sidewalk will be less attractive.

Tips to Clean Car Engine:

Spray the engine with a degreasing agent. Cold and hot engines are recommended. Excessively hot engines are not recommended as engine cleaner dries too quickly.
Have a chamois or microfiber handy to wipe excess spray from the car paint. Alternatively, apply a coat of automotive wax to the painted area around the engine compartment before spraying the engine cleaner on the engine.
Manually stir dirty car engine parts and engine compartment area with brush to create clean car engine.
Rinse with water at normal household water pressure from a garden hose, electric pressure washer, gas pressure washer, or self-service car wash area with access to the pressure washer. (Adjust pressure simply by moving the tip of the dipstick away from motor parts. Use common sense here when dealing with sensitive parts).
Do not oversaturate the car engine with water pressure. Wear enough to get the job done and pay attention to the protected area such as the fuse box.
The first person is nervous. But if you are still worried, take it easy and work through the process little by little. Again, I have run hundreds of engines this way and it is still fine. We also consulted with multiple mechanics to confirm the process.
Use a leaf blower or compressed air to blow excess water out of the engine compartment.
Start the engine, raise the engine to normal operating temperature, and allow all engine components to dry completely and completely. Also, turn on the air conditioner so that the compressor runs and runs while the engine is running. The operating time is approximately 5 minutes.
If you want a shiny look after the engine has cooled down, apply the spray engine dressing shown below. This is what makes your clean car engine really blow up!

Time to Change Brake Fluid

The recommended interval for changing the brake fluid varies from manufacturer to manufacturer but varies entirely from every two years to none. Wait, never? Never really.
For example, Chevrolet requires brake fluid replacement every 45,000 miles on most models, but Honda says it should be replaced every three years regardless of the vehicle’s mileage. Mercedes-Benz cars generally require new fluid every two years or every 20,000 miles, although most Volkswagens recommend a three-year interval. By contrast, Ford Escape, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Camry, and other models from these manufacturers do not have recommendations for changing the brake fluid, only instructions for regular inspection.

This leaves the owner to refer to what the manufacturer says in his car’s maintenance schedule and rely on the advice of a reputable repair shop.

Brake fluid resides in a sealed system and can survive for years, but moisture from the surrounding air can enter through hoses and other parts of the brake system. If the brake fluid becomes dirty or contaminated, it can change the behavior of the brake system. The feel of the brake pedal can be affected and heat dissipation during repeated stops can also be affected. Water in the brake line lowers the boiling point of the fluid, so increased heat in the system can reduce the ability to stop from sudden stops. Also, over time, moisture can cause internal corrosion of brake lines, calipers, master cylinders, and other components.
Cleaning and replacing brake fluid can cost up to $ 100 on many vehicles, but replacing rusty brake lines, brake calipers, and other brake components can cost hundreds of dollars. It is worth keeping up with maintenance. As a rule, it is recommended to inspect and test the water content of the brake fluid every few years. If you live in a humid area, check it every 5 years. Drivers who live in areas with good winter weather should also check their brake system frequently, as salt and other contaminants can get into brake fluid.

You may be able to tell when the change should be made by checking to see if the fluid in the brake fluid reservoir, which is usually above the master cylinder under the vehicle’s hood, is still fresh. Brake fluid is usually light brown in color and is clear in some vehicles (at least when new), but it darkens over time and turns cloudy due to water contamination. A better way is to ask a specialist to test your humidity and see what they recommend. In many cases, this service can be performed at the same location as a quick oil change. The technician is already rummaging under the hood, making it easy to take a sample and inspect all the fluid in the vehicle.

Brake fluid is as important as engine oil keeping the vehicle moving, but it has not received much attention.

This carelessness causes serious fatal accidents. Drivers should be aware of these things. These non important things in future cause fatal accidents and serious injuries.

How to restore your headlights shine?

Headlights of a car are an essential part of car body in many perspectives. It is very important for car’s look as well as for driving at night. If your car’s headlights look dusty and yellowish in color, there is no need to replace them with new one immediately. The clean headlights not only make the vehicle look like new, but also clearly illuminate the road, allowing for safe and unobstructed driving. Haze, fog, stain, whatever you want to call it, there is an easy way to get rid of the rust on that plastic that will cloud your car’s headlights after years and miles of driving.
There are many headlight repairs kits for sale at auto parts and home improvement stores. In this story, we tested two different kits. Maquila’s $ 25 kit and $ 10 Turtle Wax kit (Cars.com purchased both sets of headlights separately and did not contact representatives of either company.) Both sets include clarifying cleaning compounds, wet sanding pads, and protective sealant solutions. What can I get for $ 15 or more? The more advanced Maguire kit includes a clean microfiber detailing cloth, an ergonomic grip for wet sanding pads, and a buffing ball to attach to the drill. The most affordable Turtle Wax kit comes with two solutions and a set of numbered sanding pads.
In this article you know basic way to restore polish of your headlight in two ways.

Idea 1:

Detach headlights from your car body and wash them with the help of water and washing powder. Then place them in sunlight to dry for some time. After headlights got dry you have to take a number 0 emery paper. Note (Please confirm it that it is a 0 number emery paper used for polishing cars paints.) Dip it in water and wait for 30 minutes after this take a dry cloth (Good if it is of a toweling material) and rub it on the headlight after this take emery paper and start rubbing headlight gently with emery paper. Keep emery paper dipping in water frequently.
You clearly see that yellowish color water is visible after completing rubbing dry the headlight and with polishing machine polish it. After polishing take a dry cloth and rub it on headlight here your headlight shine come back.

Idea 2:

Step 1. Clean the headlight area with soap and water to remove dirt and debris from the surface level. Household glass cleaners or Windex can do that trick too. Make sure the headlights are completely dry before proceeding to step 2.
Step 2. When dry, glue around the area near the headlights (the painted panel on the car body that touches the headlights). This is an important precaution to avoid sanding damage to the car paint during the repair process.
Some headlight repair kits, like the turtle wax we use, require a coat of clear compound to be applied to the headlight assembly before wet sanding.
Other headlight repair kits may instruct you to skip the required sanding in steps 3-5 and start polishing.
Step 3. Both headlight repair kits provided different types of grit or strength sandpaper. Use a spray bottle filled with water or the supplied lubricating fluid to illuminate the headlights and wet the minimum amount of sandpaper.
Step 4. Apply pressure to rub a minimum amount (1,000 or 1) of sandpaper over the entire surface of the headlights, moving left and right, being careful not to touch other parts of the bodywork. You should create a complete “glass” appearance that covers the entire headlight assembly. Always keep the piece of sandpaper and the headlight assembly wet.
Step 5. Go to the next highest grit number (2000 or 2) after the sandpaper and rub the headlights in the opposite up and down motion. Keep the sandpaper and headlamp assembly damp unless instructed otherwise.
The Turtle Wax Kit (shown above) comes with 2 additional levels of sandpaper with a finer grit for more sanding. These little pads took more effort to use, but they were able to tackle the curved areas of the headlights better than the Maguire kit (shown below).

Automatic content migration:

Steps 3-5 will take 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how cloudy the headlights are. Be patient and be careful not to accidentally touch the applicator with other parts of the car. Scratches and paint damage can occur.
Step 6. Dry the headlight with a detailing cloth or paper towel.
Step 7. Lightly tap the included polishing solution or stick it onto an applicator pad or polishing ball (like the one included in the Maguire kit above). Use an applicator pad or buffing ball to continuously flick back and forth on the headlights to remove polish from wet sand. You should be able to see the difference in the transparency of the vehicle’s headlights almost immediately. Once again, the buffing ball did not touch the curved surface of the headlights or the turtle wax kit.
Step 8. Dry the headlight again with a detailing cloth or paper towel.
Step 9. When you are satisfied with the improved appearance of the headlights, pour a small amount of sealer protector onto another applicator pad or towel, or in the case of a turtle wax kit (pictured above), a small amount pre-applied protective agent Towel – and rub it on the headlights.
Step 10. Peel off the tape around the headlights and you are done. If possible, let the sealant dry for a few hours and seal everything to ensure a new protective covering.

What is the right time to Change your Brake Pads?

Usually, people don’t care about their vehicle brake pads but it is a necessary thing to care about. As our vehicle fuel consumption vary from place to place, we drive and how we drive our vehicle is the same case with brake pads.

While driving in crowded urban areas where brakes are used frequently, brake pads damaged earlier than driving on Motor ways. So there is no time for a driver at the end of which so the driver must go for a replacement of the brake pads. Therefore, you should trust your ears and the advice of an experienced auto technician. Most vehicles require the tires to be rotated at least every 6 months. This is a good opportunity to inspect the brakes as well. Mechanics can check the thickness of the pad and the condition of the calipers and drum hardware for wear.

Many cars have built-in wear sensors that scrape the brake discs when the pads need to be replaced. The driver hears an unpleasant screeching noise when the brakes are applied (or when the brakes are released in some vehicles). Some cars have an electronic wear indicator that alerts the driver with an alert on the dash when the pad reaches the minimum thickness, but this feature is generally found in expensive luxury cars. Better to rely on regular brake maintenance inspections than to assume your car has your back.

These sensors are not installed on all vehicles or necessarily all wheels, so drivers can hear squeaks, squeaks, metal-on-metal grinding (a sign that the brake pads are completely gone) and should listen to other noises that indicate wear. Cleaning the brakes can remove a small noise, but a persistent, noticeable noise generally means parts are worn.

If the brake pedal pulses with light or moderate brakes, it may reflect disc wear or distortion. (If the car is equipped with the antilock braking system required for new cars in the United States starting with the 2012 model, pedal vibration during panic braking is normal.) The steering wheel is pulled, or the car is on one side or the other. If pulled to the side When you apply the brakes, the front pads may be worn or damaged.

Another symptom of driving is that prolonged stops or braking bring your feet closer to the ground. Brake pads wear out over time and you may not notice any performance degradation. Therefore, the eyes of an experienced mechanic will help.

Most cars have a brake warning light that comes on for a few seconds each time you start the car. If it works while driving, the brake system may be out of fluid due to leaks or problems with the brake master cylinder. Note that this may or may not be the same as the warning light associated with the parking brake and is different from the light that would come on if the ABS function were lost.

The discs hold some resurging’s, but do not be surprised if you are told you need a new rotor at the new pad time. Those who now think they do not have enough materials to be corrected by reopening, for example, it cannot last if it is more than 10 years. In addition, repair shops are reluctant to reappear for rotors as they increase repair time. In addition, the quality of work depends on who performs it and how they got it. Conversely, a repair shop simply installs a new rotor with new bearings, making it faster, easier, and more profitable.

Air Filter: Why and When to replace it?

The air filter is in the intake system to trap dirt and other particles before damaging the internal parts of the engine. Engine air filters are generally made of paper, but some are made of cotton or other materials and should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. A mechanic usually checks the air filter every time the oil is changed, so look at how dirty the oil is.

Most modern cars also have a cabin air filter that traps dirt, debris, and some allergens in the air that passes through the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. The cabin air filter should also be changed regularly and more frequently than the engine air filter.

For what reason do I need to supplant the air channel?

The filter cleans the air entering the engine and traps particles that can damage internal engine parts. Over time, the filter becomes dirty or clogged, limiting air flow. Dirty filters that limit air flow slow down acceleration because the engine is not getting enough air. EPA testing has concluded that filter clogging hurts acceleration rather than fuel economy.

Right Time to change Air Filter:

Replacing the engine air filter is an often-overlooked maintenance item, but a dirty air filter can negatively affect the performance of the car.

Modern cars usually have two air filters, one for the cabin and one for the engine. The cabin air filter also needs to be replaced regularly, but the schedule is different than the engine air filter. The purpose of engine air filters is to prevent dust, dirt, and other environmental contaminants from entering the engine. Over time, the air filter becomes dirty and clogged and needs to be replaced.

The frequency with which the engine filter should be replaced varies. The maintenance system for both vehicles from various manufacturers. It depends on how often the air filter is replaced. Most Cabo-ray engines are recommended. The interchange interval is 45,000 miles, but the trail says 30,000 miles need to go on many engines. Even today there are 30,000. My name is “severe” movements, like heavy traffic in hot weather and frequent movements on unpaved roads and dusty conditions. The condition is reduced to mail 15000. These rules also apply to other manufacturers. They are often carried out in these situations. In that case, it may be necessary to replace the air filter as soon as possible.

You may know when you need to replace the filter just by looking at the filter. If there is a black part where the outside air is coming in, it may be time to replace it. Fortunately, most engine air filters are easily accessible and can be found in your owner’s manual if you need help.

You cannot tell just by looking at it, but if it’s been 3 years or more than 30,000 miles, you probably need to get a new one (especially if you can save money doing it yourself). However, if the repair shop says that you also need a new air filter every time you change your oil, you must be offended. In most cases, drivers are expected to take at least a year or more, perhaps two years or more, to replace the air filter, depending on conditions and mileage.

According to a 2009 study by the US Department of Energy, clogging air filters does not significantly affect fuel economy, but can have a negative impact of 6-11% on acceleration. Acceleration is more difficult to measure than fuel economy, so you gradually slow down, and you may not notice a decrease in performance. Therefore, it is advisable to visually check the engine air filter regularly to make sure it is clean.

How to Repair Power Steering Fluid Leaks

The power steering assembly in your car transfers the hydraulic power from the steering fluid to each of the wheels so your car will be more responsive and easier to direct when driving. After a few years of use, you may notice the steering is not as good as it was. This may be a result of fluid leaks, often in the hoses or as a result of a bad steering rack. When this happens, there is a lot you can do to fix the problem yourself.

Step 1 – Use Some Brake Fluid for a Temporary Fix

Many people who have had some leaks with the rack and pinion problems will put some brake fluid into the power steering reservoir. This will not replace the power steering fluid, but will add it into the mix. This has been successful as a short term fix in order to get you home or to a repair center.

Step 2 – Park Car on Ramp

To get at the rack and pinion, you will need to crawl under the vehicle. A pair of heavy duty car ramps are a good option for safely lifting your car enough to work under it. Place the ramps on a flat surface and carefully drive the front wheels of your vehicle onto them. When you reach the top, put the car in park and turn off the engine. Place wheel chocks behind the rear wheels and apply the emergency break so it does not accidentally roll while you’re working.

Step 3 – Clean Hoses

Take some time to clean the hose from the rack and pinion of any grease, dirt, and fluids. This will help you better determine where the leak is coming from. Also, look at the overall condition of the hoses while you are cleaning them. You may find that they are dry and brittle, in which case they will need to be replaced.

Step 4 – Locate the Leak

Fill your power steering reservoir only slightly with fluid, briefly turn your vehicle back on, and turn your steering wheel back and forth for a few minutes. Then, turn the car off again and carefully inspect your power steering hoses and rack. Since you just cleaned your hoses, any new fluid on them should tell you the source of the leak.

Step 5 – Drain Power Steering Fluid

Place a drip pan underneath the power steering unit, remove the bottom bolt, and drain out the fluid completely. You will always want fresh fluid in the system after a repair. Make sure you dispose of the old fluid properly as well.

Step 6 – Replace Hoses

The power steering hoses that are connected to the rack and pinion are high pressure hoses that will be bolted into place, so you will need to remove them with a line wrench or a socket wrench. Since they need to be on very tight, you might have trouble getting them off. In this case, you can use a lubricant to help. Loosen the top bolt on the hose first before removing the bolt down by the steering rack. Then, fit your new power steering hose in place starting at the bottom and moving to the top. Get the bolts nice and tight again so you don’t have to worry about problems later.

Step 7 – Replace Gaskets

There are a few gaskets on the rack and pinion assembly that may need to be replaced if they are dried out and worn. Simply remove the old ones and make sure you buy suitable replacements. Then, refit them in the same spot and secure them.

Step 8 – Replace Rack and Pinion

Some leaks are caused because the rack and pinion is failing. When this happens you can use some Leak Stop to seal up some of the cracked areas, but you will need to replace the rack and pinion to stop the leaks entirely.

Start by securing your steering wheel so it doesn’t move when the rack is removed. Then, take off both of your front wheels to give yourself easier access to the steering rack.

Unfasten and remove the tie rod from the vehicle; a new steering rack will not come with one, so you will have to attach it to the existing tie rods before you can finish the installation. Unscrew the rack assembly from the tie rod next, and then repeat the process on the other side of the car.

Next, remove the stabilizer bolts from the torsion bar and unbolt it from the frame. Slide this out of the way some so you can get to the bolts that actually hold the rack in place. You’ll need to remove the power steering lines from the rack as well before you finally unscrew the pinch bolt on the steering column shaft so the whole assembly slides off.

Slide the new rack into this groove and begin reversing the whole process to secure it in place. Make sure your tie rod is aligned identically on either side to what it was on the old assembly. You should still take your vehicle into a shop after this repair for a realignment, however, just to be sure you’re set.

Step 9 – Refill the Power Steering Fluid

Now that your leak has hopefully been fixed with new hoses, new gaskets, and a new steering rack, it’s time to refill your reservoir with fluid.

11 Essential Gadgets for Auto Repair

If you don’t have the basic tools you need, you won’t be able to do any work on your own car—and that’s no good for anyone with a DIY spirit. Gather the 11 essential gadgets you need to keep your car running well and save yourself in the event of car trouble, and you’ll be prepared for anything.

1. Safety Basics

If you plan to work on your car at all, assemble the basic safety tools you’ll need to get any job done. You want a sturdy pair of gloves to help you grip and handle parts of the engine. Add safety glasses to your safety kit to protect your eyes from debris and dangers while you work. And don’t forget a good light. A simple auto light that can be attached to the hood of the car is best, but even a flashlight will do. It’s a simple law of nature that if something’s going to go wrong with your car, it will happen when it’s dark out.

2. Drip Pan

If you want to work on your car, but you don’t want to create an environmental mess everywhere, get a drip pan. This is a simple but oft-overlooked piece of automotive equipment that will make a world of difference. Stick a drip pan under your car any time you’re changing out fluids or moving major pieces in and out of the vehicle. The drip pan catches all those corrosive chemicals, which will otherwise rain right down on your driveway or garage. If you do end up spilling some fluids outside the pan, throw some kitty litter on the spill. The litter will soak up the chemicals and make cleanup much easier.

3. Tire Sealant

Always carry a can of tire sealant in the car in the event of a punctured tire. Sometimes, this little can will make the difference between getting home safely and putting a spare tire on your car. Small holes in the tire can be repaired with a can of tire sealant. It’s a quick fix and it’s not permanent, but it can help you get to your destination so you can more properly fix that busted tire.

4. Jumper Cables

Having a set or two of jumper cables on hand is essential. Jumper cables allow you to jump start your car when the battery dies. Keep them in the car at all times because you never know when they’ll come in handy for you or someone else. Jumper cables are marked with symbols on them to make them easy to use. Look near the handles, and you’ll see where the cables are supposed to connect to the battery.

5. Pliers

Grab hold of spark plugs, hoses, and other sensitive parts of your car with a good pair of pliers. Always use the right tool for the job to prevent doing damage to your vehicle. Pliers allow you to handle pieces that you don’t want to break or damage.

6. Ice Scraper

It’s a simple tool that seems ubiquitous—until you step outside on a freezing winter day and discover that you don’t have one. Always keep a good ice scraper in the car even if you live in an area where frost is rare, because you don’t want to be caught unprepared when winter’s fury strikes.

7. Strong Chain

If you live in an area with heavy snow and ice or you plan to drive in rough terrain, keep strong chains handy in the car. Tire chains prevent slippage and give your wheels better grip on dangerous roads. Tire chains are specifically fitted to your wheels, so purchase these for the vehicle you intend to use them with and not as an any-vehicle tool.

8. Socket Set

You won’t get a lot of work done on your car without a good socket set. You’ll need to remove bolts to reach your spark plugs and other stuff under the hood you might need to maintain or repair, so look for a standard, simple set containing both regular and metric measurements. Check that the set includes 1/2-inch, 1/4-inch, and 3/8-inch sockets, which are common sizes you’ll need for auto work. The set will include the ratchet, so you’ll have everything you need to grip those nuts and bolts that hold your car together.

9. Screwdrivers

Get a few screwdrivers in multiple sizes and types, and you’ll end up using them for everything. Screwdrivers can help you with prying out pieces you need to work on or replace, and there are all sorts of screws holding your car together.

10. Wirecutters

A small pair of simple wirecutters will help you get all sorts of automated-related DIY projects done. If you have a mind to install a stereo or add speakers, wire new headlights or address any electrical issues in your car, you need wirecutters. Get a good, sharp pair that feels comfortable in your hand, and you can get to your car-related DIY projects even sooner.

11. Owner’s Manual

One of the most essential tools you’ll need is actually the owner’s manual for your car. This will contain detailed specs and information that will tell you all sorts of stuff you need to know about measurements, tire pressure, and other vehicle essentials. Look up parts that need replacement and get the exact information you need to make the right purchase. Keep the manual in the glove box so it’s always on hand.

How to Flush a Rusted Radiator

An efficient radiator cools your engine by circulating coolant through its pipes. It is important to keep it free of rust or blockages and it is even suggested that you flush and refill it every six months. It is easy to learn how to flush a rusted radiator but you will find that it is a bit messy so be sure to wear old clothing, keep children and pets away from your work area, and stay away from storm drains in case of any spills. Whenever working on your radiator, it is important that the engine is cold. Below you will find step-by-step instructions on how to flush your rusted radiator.

Step 1 – Drain Coolant from System

Park your car on a flat surface, turn on your heater, and then turn off your car. Be sure to set your emergency brake and place your car in park or in gear if it is a manual transmission. Let the engine cool.

Set your bucket under the radiator plug and open it. Allow all the coolant to drain into the bucket. If your engine also has plugs in the engine block, you can remove those too so that you can drain any remaining coolant. Once the flow has stopped, replace all the plugs.

Step 2 – Fill the Radiator with Cleaner

To remove the rust and sediment left in your system, you will now need to fill the radiator with radiator cleaner. You will use the mix of radiator cleaner and water as specified by the product’s manufacturer.

Step 3 – Run the Car with the Heater on

Turn your car on and turn on the heater to a high setting, following the instructions from the product’s manufacturer for the proper length of time to let it run.

Step 4 – Drain the Cleaner

After you have run the heater for the proper amount of time, you once again need to let the engine cool. Once it has cooled, place your empty bucket under the plug again, remove plug, and as before, allow all of the cleaner to drain out of the system.

Step 5 – Fill the Radiator with Water and Repeat

You need to flush the cleaner fully out of the system again, this time using only water in the radiator. Again, run the car with the heater on, allow the car to cool, and drain all the water out of the system once again by the plug.

Step 6 – Refill the Radiator with Coolant/Antifreeze

Always consult with the owner’s manual of your car for the proper coolant to water ratio. Being sure all the plugs are in, fill the radiator with the mix, and then fill the reservoir tank to the marked level (usually found on the side of the tank) with a 50/50 mix of coolant to water.

Step 7 – Run the Engine and the Heater

Start the car and run the engine to what is roughly a normal operating temperature. Run the heater on high again. This will circulate the coolant throughout the system. Be sure to check for leaks. You can now drive your car as normal.

Step 8 – Test the System

After several days of normal use, test the concentration of the coolant with either a hydrometer or test strips and adjust as needed.

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