Tag Archives: auto maintenance

Tips on How to Make Internal Combustion Engines Better

In my previous post, I was talking about why burning of automobile gasoline produces pollutants. In this post I will discuss some technologies that make internal combustion engines better.

While the electric motors are on the way, we still cannot announce the demise of internal combustion engines (ICEs). How to improve ICEs?

Clean diesel, variable displacement, revised stop-start systems, direct injection, cylinder deactivation, turbochargers, variable displacement, variable valve timing and lift are some of the tips that make the ICEs better.

Let’s talk about each of them.

Direct injection. With direct injection, the fuel is mixed with air inside the cylinder, allowing the better control over the amount of used fuel and variations depending on demand (acceleration vs. cruising). This process makes the engine more fuel efficient.

Cylinder Deactivation. Cylinder deactivation feature is found on V6 and V8 engines. What does cylinder deactivation mean?
It means that ICEs with this feature can simply deactivate some cylinders when less power is required, therefore, temporarily reduce the total volume of the engine cylinders and burn less fuel.

Variable Displacement. Variable displacement is another way to improve the ICEs which could be done by turning off some of its cylinders. Since the throttle must be opened farther to get the same power from the remaining cylinders, intake-manifold vacuum goes down and efficiency goes up.

Variable Valve Timing and Lift. Different valve timings produce different results (more power, better fuel economy). Traditionally, valve timing was impossible, however many modern engines can do that now, allowing the default low RPM range of the engine to have more economical timing, and the higher RPM range to go for the maximum power. Variable valve timing and lift allows a smaller displacement engine to produce more peak power, this way allowing downsizing and fuel savings.

Turbochargers. Turbochargers allow combustion to generate more power as they increase the pressure inside cylinders, cramming more air. This process doesn’t make the engine more economical, though.
However, since a smaller displacement engine can generate more peak power, you still can downsize and save there easier.

Revised stop-start systems. It’s a great option to turn off an engine when stopped at a light as this way you can definitely save fuel. This action can be easily programmed with an engine-control computer to shut down an engine when the vehicle speed drops to zero and restart it when the driver removes his foot from the brake pedal. The starter and the battery might need to be beefed up to withstand more frequent use.

Hope you find these tips valuable.

14 Apr

noise-from-steering

Do you hear the noise when you turn on the steering wheel? If you do, no matter what type of a noise it is, be aware that it’s not a normal condition for your car and something is going wrong.

Under ordinary circumstances, turning your steering wheel shouldn’t cause any unusual noise; it should simply direct your car in the direction you want to go.

So if you notice some clunks, knocks or squeaks when you turn the steering wheel, it’s a sign that something in the system is causing friction that needs attention.

Depending on the type of the noise, your car might be experiencing one of the following issue.

If it’s clunk, squeak, click, or creak: Usually this is a sign of worn shocks, suspension bushings, ball joints or tie rods.  These noises can also be accompanied by wandering, poor ride quality or vibrations.

Screech, squeal or whine: If you hear screech, squeal or whine, these sounds might indicate a problem in your power steering system, which could be either a lose belt, bad pump or low power steering fluid.

Metallic grind or ring: Metallic grind or ring might speak about the worn brake components. You should get replaced either your pads, shoes or rotors as soon as possible.

Crunching or clicking while turning sharply: If you hear crunching or clicking while turning sharply, then it’s the most likely that your CV (constant velocity) joint has gone bad and should be replaced.

What about the hum? A hum usually indicates the wheel bearing is going bad. The best way is to get it checked by a trustworthy and qualified mechanic to solve the issue as soon as possible.

Whatever sound it is, don’t ignore the noise from steering. In some cases, you might be able to detect and fix the problem yourself, however, if you cannot solve the issue, get your vehicle checked by a qualified mechanic.

Hope the above-mentioned tips will help you in determining the issue your vehicle is having.

26 Dec

While performing routine maintenance is a must to keep the car in a good condition, it is important to drive reasonably. Driving habits have a direct effect on the lifespan of the vehicle. To prolong the life of your vehicle, be aware of the following tips.

When driving on a cold day, let your car warm up first.  It’s well known that the cold weather is tough on a car’s engine. It is harder for the car to burn a gasoline and for the moving parts to operate when the oil is cold and thick. The best option is to turn the engine on, wait about 30 seconds to a minute at most, and then gently drive the car until it warms up without working it too hard.

Don’t speed: Driving fast wastes gas, increases emissions and is definitely dangerous as you might lose control of the vehicle when driving even a few miles over the speed limit.

The ideal cruising speed for most cars and trucks is about 50 to 55 miles per hour (80.5 to 88.5 kilometers per hour). To cruise at 60 miles per hour (96.6 kilometers per hour), it is required about 73 percent more horsepower and at 70 miles per hour (112.7 kilometers per hour) nearly 160 percent more horsepower. Now think how much harder your engine has to work to put out that kind of power.

Do not overload your car: Smaller cars and smaller engines have a hard time towing big object, so do not overload your car.

Shift gears properly: It’s important to be in the correct gear when driving. If you have a manual transmission, you should shift gears properly. If you have an automatic transmission, shifting gears should not be a problem as the car will take care of itself.

Consider the break-in period: The car’s first 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) is usually known as the break-in period. During the break-in period the piston rings need to get accustomed to their role in a car and shape themselves to the engine’s cylinders. This takes time and requires careful driving. The car may continue to burn oil down the line if the rings aren’t seated correctly.

Hope these tips help you prolong the life of your engine.

3 Aug
General Car Care Tips to Follow Posted by admin Comments Off

car-care-tips

Taking good care of your car definitely makes the difference between being a proud owner of a good looking, long lasting, reliable automobile, as opposed to being a resentful owner to a rusty, faded-paint jalopy that fell apart or broke down long before it was destined to.

How could one take care of a car? Here are some basic tips every car owner should know.

Tip 1. First of all, car care is about checking and changing oil regularly. Regular oil and filter changes will make an engine last longer, while neglecting oil-level checks or timely oil changes will destroy it faster.
This goes for both the engine oil and transmission oil.

Tip 2. The next step is to flush the cooling system and change coolant annually.
This will prevent corrosion and deposits from building up inside the cooling system and will keep it in a good shape.

Tip 3. Keep your car clean, both interior and exterior, since anything you run over can also become stuck on the inside of the vehicle.

Tip 4. It is important to apply grease to moving parts. Poor lubrication can cause early retirement of the car parts such as ball joint, etc.

Tip 5. Apply wax once every six months. With a coat of quality wax, your car paint will look good, fresh, and the car will be protected.

Tip 6. Park your vehicle in a shaded area to protect the interior plastic and use a window deflector screen.
Additionally, apply a UV protectant to prevent the interior plastic and vinyl from drying out.

Tip 7. Brake fluid easily attracts moisture and later causes car components to corrode and fail.
To avoid this, replace fluid and bleed system once a year. Brake fluid is cheaper than calipers, hoses, and sensors.

Tip 8. Finally, inspect, clean, and repack wheel bearings with wheel bearing grease according to service intervals.

Be a proud car owner! With diligent care, your car will serve you long.

22 Jul
3 Easy Ways To Keep Your Vehicle Clean Posted by admin Comments Off

3-easy-ways-to-keep-your-vehicle-clean

Keeping your vehicle clean has many advantages. Some of the key ones are keeping you and your passengers safe, prolonging value to allow to sell at higher price and allowing you to take pride in your ownership.

  • As with all things, safety is first and foremost. Loose garbage or bottles can collect and find their way under the floorboard, preventing you from being able to stop safely in an emergency. Also, should you leave food in the car for an extended amount of time, it can invite unwelcome guests like flies and other insects. But the worst of spoiled food and spilled drinks is mold which can lead to a bad odor and possibly health issues.
  • If you wash your car, take special attention to both the tires and the area between the tires and the car, called a wheel well. By keeping the tires and wheel well clean of any pebbles or debris, your car will continue to get good traction on the road and maximize the life of the tire. Keep a close eye on the tire pressure as this is a very serious component in driving safely at freeway speeds. Uneven tire pressure between tires may be dangerous. All of the tires should have the same pressure as recommended by manufacturer and also labeled on the tires.
  • Lastly, if you are planning to or have to drive on the snow, make it a good practice to wash thoroughly not only the body of the car, but underneath it to ensure there is no salt buildup that would otherwise be a staging ground for rust to form. This is often the case with many cars losing their values due to excessive wear and tear caused by weather conditions and lack of maintenance. You need to get best buck when it the time to trade-in or sell comes.

By taking these tips under consideration, you will keep yourself and your passengers safe, keep your car in good condition while making it possible to get top dollar for it!

13 May
Car Care Tips: Summer Maintenance Posted by admin Comments Off

summer maintenance

Summer can be a brutally hot time of a year that will make your car work harder through some challenging conditions where it will need to function properly while keeping you cool. Here are three ways to keep your car in tip top shape as summer approaches.

  • First thing to keep in mind is that there are many moving parts in an engine and clean motor oil is essential to keeping them run cool. Make sure that you stay on schedule for your oil and oil filter change. Are you unsure of how often you need to change your oil? Check with your mechanic to see what kind of oil is best suited for your car and the intervals of how often to change it. This is a very important piece of information as wrong oil may damage your car’s engine. Don’t have a mechanic? Give Pristine a call and we will gladly assist you. Some motor oils such as “synthetic”, may allow you to drive your car without changing the oil as often, saving you money. Whereas other oil can be specifically designed for older cars and needs changing more frequently.
  • Check your car’s radiator fluid. This fluid may be a combination of antifreeze and water which is the best combination. Often times, people just pour water or just antifreeze; however, it is a best practice to mix water and antifreeze together equally for Los Angeles, California climate. If the radiator water level keeps on dropping, you may have a leak in the radiator. Immediately check with your mechanic as this may cause serious damage to the car and may be dangerous as it will also cause sudden stops with dangerously overheated engine.
  • And lastly, check your tire pressure. Winter can put a beating on tires and it’s a good practice to ensure your tires’ pressure is equal and that there is enough tread. There will be an article discussing more about tires and how to maintain them throughout the year.

P.S. As an additional maintenance, check your windshield wiper fluid reservoir and your windshield wipers. Your mechanic will be able to tell you the size wipers you need and show you the different kinds of fluids you can use that will help keep your vision clear through the thick summer storms that sometimes bring armies of bugs crashing on the glass. An easy way to check is by feeling the wiper to feel them smooth and not rough. Also, they should be able to clean a windshield without issue. There are a variety of windshield wiper manufacturers, price typically is a sign of quality and longevity but ask your shop to hear what they say is the best.

29 Apr
Safety Check – Tires Posted by admin Comments Off

tire-safety-maintenance

Tires are the only part of the car that make direct contact with the road, making them a vital part of driving safely. Regular monthly maintenance and attention is important to keep you, your passengers and the people on the road around you safe and sound. There are some things you can do to ensure a safe ride but some that a certified shop will need to help with. Let’s start with what you can do yourself.

  • First, check the tire pressure monthly – especially during colder months. To find out the correct pressure, consult your car’s owner’s manual if it is a factory tire or the tire manufacturer directly. This is not only to ensure your tires are maintaining the correct pressure to ensure a smooth ride but it also plays an important factor in keeping good gas mileage.
  • Next, when checking the pressure of each tire, inspect the surface of the tire. Ensure there are no bubbles or foreign objects lodged into the tire. If there is a bubble in the tire, immediately have the tire replaced. If there is a foreign object in the tire, there is a chance it can be removed and the tire can be patched at a shop.
  • Lastly, check your tires’ tread. This is the part of the tire that is making the direct contact with the ground and typically has grooves and different patterns. To measure tire tread, use a small ruler that has 1/16th graduations. Measure the outer, center and inside edge to ensure they are all above 3/32s of an inch. If the depth is less than that, it’s time for new tires.

Proper maintenance does however go beyond what we can do at home and it is strongly recommended to have your tires rotated by a certified technician every 6,000 miles to prevent uneven wear. Every 12,000 miles an alignment may need to be performed.

14 Oct
What are Common Mechanical Problems

Common Mechanical Problems

What are Common Electrical Problems and How to Avoid Them?

Electrical issues are the most common problems that can happen to your car.

Alternator

The alternator provides electrical power to your vehicle when the engine runs. It also makes sure that the battery is charged after the car has been started. If the alternator fails, the car will not start. In addition, stalling at spotlights, dimming of headlights, and a battery that won’t charge is a sign that your car alternator has failed completely.

If you’re suspecting that your charging system has given out, you can test it to be certain. Get your voltmeter and touch its probes to the plus (+) and minus (-) terminal clams of the engine when running. If the electrical current registers from 12.8 V or 14.7 V or in between, your vehicle charging system is good. However, there can be a problem in your alternator if the voltage is below 12V.

Fusible Link

The fusible link is a connector with high capacity that protects accessories directly wired from the battery, which include the starter. The fusible link can fail suddenly or gradually. Signs of faulty fusible link include odd behavior of accessories, unusual pause before the starter turns on and sluggish electrical accessories. Basically, a fusible link must be replaced when damaged.

This can be pretty expensive, so you need to check for other possible issues in your car electrical system before you install another fusible link. Also, avoid jump starting your car when the clamps are revered as you may actually damage the fusible link.

Stop by Pristine Automotive Center in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, voted best auto repair in Los Angeles, and let them inspect your car for any and all problems, leaving you with a piece of mind.

20 Aug
Why You Shouldn’t Top Off Your Gas Tank Posted by admin Comments Off
gas tank spilling, Topping of Gas Tank

Topping Off the Gas Tank?

When you fuel up your vehicle, the gas pump shuts off automatically after the gas tank is filled. From this point, you have the option to stop fueling or add another gallon. For some reasons, you need to avoid topping off your gas tank. Below are the reasons why you shouldn’t top off your gas tank.

Mechanical Problems          

When you fuel up the gas tank, it expands and then creates vapors. The vehicle’s vapor recovery system absorbs this vapor and burns during the combustion. But, if you top off the gas tank, there is a huge possibility that the liquid gas will force itself to the vapor holding chamber and make it fail. This can lead to high emissions, poorly running vehicle, and end up in auto repair shop.

Environmental Concerns

In old cars, the gas caps have holes, allowing the vapors in the gas tank to escape. This vapors mix with the air in the environment, which leads to the huge development on how vehicles are made. These days, new car models have a gas recovery system. Besides, topping off your gas tank can lead to spills or leaks of fuel that not just hurt your pocket, but also contribute to the vapors in the environment and add to pollution.

By not topping off your gas tank, you can save money and protect the environment at the same time. If you have the habit of topping off your gas tank, this can be the right time to stop it. Also, it’s critical that you have your car’s vapor recovery system checked for any possible damage and prevent costly repairs that may happen in the future.

WHY A GOOD MECHANIC TO TREAT YOUR VEHICLE IS ESSENTIAL?

            As with our own health, the health of our automobile is equally important and must be taken care of appropriately in time. Thus, a good and reliable mechanic and a auto repair shop is a must for detecting and treating the problem your vehicle is suffering from.

Reliable Auto Body Shop in Los Angeles

    • A professional mechanic is an expert at his work with just a few glances into the car machinery are enough to catch hold of the problem and thus, it helps save a lot of time.

    • Also, being well versed with the technical know-how of the vehicle, he will be able to repair the fault with ease.

    • As an expert in his field, he will not be afraid to tackle challenges or chronic issues affecting your car.

    • A trustworthy mechanic along with a good body shop ensures right handling of the machinery and if any part needs to be replaced, you can be sure of only genuine and authentic parts being used.

    • An efficient vehicle technician is also, able to detect any impending malfunctioning of the parts beforehand and thus, helps in timely remedial action to prevent future inconveniences or bigger repair costs.

    • If a mechanic is able to answer all your queries explaining the problem of the vehicle as well as the possible solutions to it, you can rest assured that your car is in safe and reliable hands with you being charged reasonably.

Finding a competent mechanic and a reliable repair shop is essential for long and efficient running of your car without digging a hole in your pocket.