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Category Archives: Automotive

Fix Cracked Leather

So, with that said I’m going to give you what I call the “quick fix”. A temporary fix to get you by until the car is sold or you get enough money to do it right. Now I’m not going to give you some substandard way of fixing your leather seat, remember I do this for a living and from time to time I have been asked to do the “quick fix” to get someone by. Although I don’t like doing that for the people I do work for. To me thats my name and reputation that is on that repair, but when someones in a pinch you got to help them out.

Supplies…. you will need some stuff before you start this project and most of them you can get from your automotive paint store.

  • Denatured alcohol – used for prep
  • sandpaper – used for prep and sanding of cracks in leather 240 grit and 400 grit a couple of sheets of each will be good.
  • 1 aerosol can of Sem Plastic and Leather Prep – if not available not really necessary but nice to have. helps to open the pores of the leather to help the adhesion of the dye.
  • 1 aerosol can of Sem Classic Coat or Sem Sure Coat leather dyes (if you get the sure coat, it’s waterborne and is a lot more flexible and more like the finish already on the leather and will not dry the leather out). But most auto stores only carry the Classic Coat which will work, just don’t load the dye on, the more chance for it crack later. Now take the vehicle with you or something to match the color, if you ask the guys at the auto paint store they can probably find the right color for you.
  • A sealer of some sort is needed to seal the raw leather before you dye it but not always necessary. If available Thompson Water Seal will work, or a leather sealer like Leather Tac this will help the dye adhere to the raw leather and help to smooth out some of the rough leather. Another trick is glue, but it needs to be a flexible glue and one that does not contain silicone. If you can get leather glue from your local craft store that would be perfect. Glue will seal the leather and lay down the rough leather.
  • 1 can of a plastic adhesion promoter, I like Bulldog easy to use and it works
  • terry cloth towels
  • paper towels
  • soft scrub brush
  • Scotch Brite pad – green one is fine
  • rubber gloves
  • hair dryer – helps speed things up a little

Ford Focus Ignition

The key itself might get stuck in the ignition, or you may have to jiggle the ignition in order to have it turn – a sure sign that you should have a professional replace the ignition. Either way, if you own a Ford Focus, there is a high probability that you may come across this issue.

Many consumers feel that the general cause of this ignition switch problem is due to poorly manufactured parts by Ford. The manner in which the Ford Focus ignition communicates with the car’s computer is via the Transponder microchip, which is located directly within your car key, so replacing the ignition switch can be a highly complex operation, and is exactly why professional installation is strongly recommended. Yes, a Locksmith can do this job for you, this is not a task where you’ll be forced to seek services from the dealership!

The problem comes from the ignition switch not being of the highest quality and is therefore easily worn out. What happens then is the wafers get stuck into the ignition, and also the cylinder itself becomes bent, making them latch in their current position disabling them from moving. Ford Focus owners need not despair! There are locksmiths out there that do have a few ways of handling this issue ranging from, when possible, fixing the ignition to, in serious situations, replacing the ignition and recoding it to match your key and the rest of the car locks.

Dual Clutch Transmission

The main disadvantage of having a dual clutch transmission in your car is the price. Replacing this type of system requires skill. It is a complicated clutch kit system that needs electronic and mechanical knowledge.

The dual clutch transmission is also known as a semi-automatic transmission. This transmission provides the functionality of two manual transmissions in one. Once the driver changes from one gear to another gear in a regular stick shift car, the first thing that should be done is to press the clutch pedal. This will disconnect the engine from the gearbox and at the same time, it will disconnect current from the transmission.

The driver uses the stick shift to select a new gear as speed increases and torque decreases, which will involve moving a toothed collar from a gear wheel to another gear wheel which has different sizes. Furthermore, there is a device called the synchronizer that helps match the gears so that there is no grinding. Mechanically, it makes sure that the gears are engaged.

The clutch kit includes a disc or grip pressure plate; although some clutch kits have pilot bushings or pilot bearings. All these items have specific functions that are included in the clutch kit.

The flow of power from the engine to the wheel does not exist in a conventional manual transmission. During gearshifts the power will turn on and off then back on again. This will cause a shift shock or what is called a torque interrupt. Sophisticated electronics and hydraulics control the clutches just like in a standard automatic transmission. Clutches operate individually when using a dual clutch transmission, one will control the odd gears and the other will control the even gears.

 

Paintless Dent Repair

In comes paintless dent repair. Paintless dent repair has been around for over ten years and was first started at local car dealerships for fixing used cars and increasing used car revenues (like headlight restoration). Paintless dent removal is the repairing of small dents and dings by massaging them out.

Paintless dent technicians are trained with tools similar to pry bars, mirrors and special lights to gently return the bent and stretched metal to its former shape. This may seem difficult, but actually most repairs can be done in 20 -30 minutes and the results are nothing short of amazing. Unless the dent is on a door edge or a difficult crease, the result will be like the dent or ding was never there. It is completely removed.

The average cost is around $50 per ding or dent. Obviously a used car dealership with a lot of inventory will have lower volume prices around $30 per dent. Paintless dent removal, like headlight restoration, is a high profit margin business that any automotive business can use to add to their bottom line. Many businesses actually pay their entire lease or rent from these add-on businesses alone.

All about Tire Safety Piece

What kind of car do you drive? The wear and tear you put on a tire is proportionate to the weight and power of the car you drive. Some types of cars have types of tires specifically designed for them.

Where do you live? If you’re located in a more rural area and do a lot of off-road driving, you might need tires that have more traction and resilience. Similar needs can arise if you live in an area that has lots of ice on the roads – you’ll need tires designed for that environment, or that can easily handle snow chains. For that matter, plenty of tires are designed to work best on dry pavement, perfect if you’re in the city or suburbia.

How often are you willing to maintain your tires? Some types of tires might need frequent rotation or replacing – which is difficult for people who are more interested in getting in and driving away.

There are many other features to look for in tires as well. First, if you’re looking at older tires, try not to buy anything more than six years old. Second, check your owner’s manual to see what tire size is recommended for your automobile. Third, when you’re looking at the environment where you live, as mentioned above, you might want to check with a dealer to see what type of tread is typically used for that area.

It’s also a good idea to have some idea of the standards for federal tire quality grading. All new tires have a paper with their federal grading molded into their sidewall. This system is not the same as a safety rating, but it does provide a means of comparison between different brands of tires.

The three categories within this system are treadwear, traction and temperature resistance. “Treadwear” uses a 100-point scale to determine how long a tire would last while driven on the same road by the same driver for a period of time. “Traction” uses grades of “A,” “B” and “C” to determine how well the tire would be able to stop on a wet road. Finally, “Temperature Resistance” also employs an A-B-C scale to determine how well a tire might respond to overheating from being driven at a high speed.

Oil Monitoring Systems

Mercedes calls their unit a “Flexible Service System”. The FSS on some Mercedes vehicles monitors actual oil quality as well as operating conditions (such as the number of cold starts, average engine temp, mileage driven, oil sump level, rpms, etc.). To measure oil quality, there is actually a sensor that measures the electrical conductivity of the oil. The higher the conductivity of the oil, the greater the need for an oil change, according to Mercedes. Of course, this isn’t likely a perfect model, and will not be nearly as accurate as an actual oil analysis in determining true oil quality, but it is better than no measurement at all.

At any rate, as electrical conductivity increases, this value is combined with all of the operating condition data and run through a special algorithm to determine if the oil is ready for a change. When a change is necessary, a light will flash on the instrument panel indicating such.

The other Mercedes FSS unit, which will be somewhat less accurate, does not actually measure the electrical conductivity of the oil, so it is not testing the quality of the oil in any way. It does, however, measure all of the operating conditions and uses the algorithm to predict when an oil change will be necessary.

This is actually how the GM oil monitoring system works. It does not measure oil quality via electrical conductivity or via any other means. It simply measures operating conditions and “calculates” when an oil change should be necessary based upon those conditions.

So, How Accurate Are These Units? Can They Be Trusted?

That’s a tough question to answer at this point. First off, these systems haven’t been in use long enough to really have much in the way of hard statistics comparing vehicle/engine life with or without these systems in place. Second, many drivers do not trust the longer drain intervals recommended by these units and change the oil sooner anyway, offering, again, little data to show whether the drain intervals recommended by these systems are conservative enough to maintain engine protection equal to that attained with shorter change intervals.

Since these units do not FULLY measure oil quality, in the same way that an actual oil analysis would, it is unlikely that they are completely accurate, but there is good reason to believe that they are fairly accurate.

The problem, from my perspective is, how were the limits set? Quite frankly, it’s in the best interests of vehicle manufacturers to have their engines begin to decline in performance somewhere shortly after the 100,000 mile marker. Many people these days don’t expect a vehicle to perform well much beyond 100K, so building a vehicle and recommending maintenance practices that will help the vehicle perform longer than that is not in the best interest of the OEMs.

So, I would be willing to bet that, if you are an individual that likes to keep your vehicle as long as possible, oil quality limits have been set to a lower standard than would be appropriate to getting the absolute most mileage from your vehicle. It really only stands to reason.

How many companies do you know of these days that build MORE quality into their products than their typical customer expects? Not many. In fact, unfortunately, I’d be willing to bet that most of us could count on one hand the number of products we’ve purchased over the past year that offered quality/durability that was BETTER than we expected. Although this is a sad commentary on the business world we currently live in, it is a pretty accurate reflection of the attitude of most companies these days. Why would today’s automobile manufacturers be any different?

Of course, that being said, I have no proof of the above statements. There do not appear to be any websites out there collecting oil analysis data from GM and Mercedes owners to compare the ACTUAL oil quality to that “measured” by the oil life monitors. I looked. In fact, if you happen to know of one, please let me know – I’d love to see the results. I’m guessing I know what they’d be, but I’m certainly open to the possibility that I’m wrong.

I think the main thing to remember is, nobody yet REALLY knows just how accurate these oil monitoring systems are nor how conservative their oil change interval recommendations are. So, be careful how much trust you put on their oil change interval recommendations.

Syn vs. Petro – Does INITIAL Oil Quality Affect Recommendations

Well, that’s an interesting question. As it turns out, these systems can’t tell whether you’ve got synthetic or petroleum oil in the crankcase, and, this DOES make a difference. In fact, we can see this in the light of a class action lawsuit that was filed against Mercedes Benz a few years back.

Apparently, the MB FSS assumes the use of synthetic oil in the engine. Most Europeans are using synthetic oil by default, since typical oil drain intervals in Europe are MUCH longer than those recommended here in the states (although that gap is closing). In contrast, most North American drivers are still using petroleum oil.

Well, there were no significant warnings given to these MB owners with regard to the FSS units and the use of petroleum vs. synthetic oils. So, many users were utilizing petroleum oils and using the FSS as a guide for when to change their oil. Unfortunately, since the FSS was designed to recommend SYNTHETIC oil drain intervals, severe sludging was occurring in these vehicles. The petroleum oil simply couldn’t hold up for the oil change intervals the FSS was recommending. Bad news for your engine.

In the end, the vehicle owners won their suit and there was a 32 million dollar settlement issued against Mercedes. It is my understanding that MB is now very careful to make it explicitly clear what type oils should be used in order to rely on the results of their FSS monitor.

So, clearly it makes a difference. And, since these systems can’t tell what type of oil you’re using, you’ll need to adjust accordingly. The way I understand it, the GM units assume petroleum oil usage (with the exception of vehicles which specifically require synthetic lubricants – such as the Corvette). So, if you’re using synthetic oil in a GM vehicle that does not specifically require it, the oil life monitor will likely “go off” much sooner than necessary.

I have heard that you can have the dealership adjust these units to account for the fact that you’re using synthetic oil, but, even then, there are significant differences in quality from one synthetic to another, so this may still not be completely accurate. If you’re using a premium synthetic oil which is designed for much longer oil drain intervals (such as AMSOIL’s 25,000 mile oils or Mobil 1 Extended Performance 15,000 mile oils), the unit will very likely “trigger” sooner than necessary. However, at least you’ll know that you have a considerable margin of error due to the enhanced quality that is built into those oils.

Clean a Car Battery

  • You will need to determine the configuration of the terminals as there are different types. Determining the configuration will help you to pick the correct wrench to loosen the nuts that keep the cables in place.
  • Now, you need to unfasten the cables (negative and positive respectively) from their posts. Twisting might be necessary to release the cable as they might have been put on quite tightly.
  • Before continuing with the process, checking for leaks and cracks is a must. Car batteries lose acid and could corrode the rest of the components of the engine. If you do see any cracks or leaks, the battery must be replaced.
  • Cables and clamps could also have cracks along the wiring. They could easily be replaced with new parts.
  • This is the part where a basic household item is required to clean the battery: baking soda. The ratio to mix baking soda and hot water in a small container is 1:17. This is usually a tablespoon of baking soda and a cup of hot water.
  • Then it is time for the scrubbing and cleaning. A toothbrush would be ideal for this process so that your hands don’t come into contact with the battery.
  • Dip the toothbrush into the baking soda and hot water mixture, and scrub away at the corrosion build up. Usually the clamps and cable posts contain the most build up and will need the maximum amount of cleaning.
  • Once all the corrosion is off, it is an absolute necessity to rinse away any baking soda and loose corrosion with cool water.
  • The battery has to be completely dry before replacing the cables and clamps to avoid short circuiting the system.

Troubleshoot Brake Booster

Vacuum Failure

When the engine of your vehicle accelerates, the vehicle shouldn’t have the vacuum failure. But if this happens, you may need to check the check value and get it replaced if it’s the cause of the problem. It can be found inside the inlet fitting. Once replaced, if the issue is still there, you may want to replace the brake booster.

Locked-Up Brakes

You may want to use fresh brake fluid if your brakes don’t release properly. What happens is that hygroscopic brake liquid tends to absorb moisture. Moreover, an excessive amount of water in the fluid may lead to vapor lock. As a result, the wheels of your vehicle may have to bear more pressure.

Air Noise

You may hear the air noise from under the dash of your vehicle. According to experts, this is not an issue. The sound is generated when you apply the brakes and the air gets into the filter of the booster. You can reduce the noise easily. All you need to do is move around the silencer.

Brake Pedal Won’t Return

If the brake pedal won’t go back after you have released it, you can troubleshoot it. You may have a faulty brake booster spring. According to experts, if your vehicle has a broken spring, the brake light may stay on even if you have released the pedal. Aside from this, the broken spring may cause overheating issues as well.

Info of Changing Flat Tire

waking up and discovering that a vehicle has a flat tire or ending up on the side of the road with a flat tire. The reason this situation is so horrible for many drivers is that quite a few people have no idea how to change their own tire. Once a person has learned how to handle changing a tire on their own having a flat tire becomes nothing more than a minor inconvenience.

Before you get ready to tackle changing a flat tire, make sure that you have all of the proper equipment. Many vehicles come with the necessary materials but it is always better to be safe so that you do not end up being very sorry. Most of these items are in the trunk of the average vehicle underneath a mat. If you are unsure of where the material needed to change a tire is located read your vehicles owner manual.

The things that you need to change a flat tire are a car jack for raising the vehicle, a tire iron, and a spare tire. When you have these items and you are sure the car on level ground use the tire iron to loosen the lug nuts which are attaching the tire to the car. Once the lug nuts are loosened (do not remove them) it is time to use the car jack to raise the car. The car only needs to be jacked up enough to raise the tire two inches from the ground and once the tire is off of the ground it is safe to completely remove the lug nuts and the flat tire. It is then safe to place the spare tire on the vehicle and replace the lug nuts. Make sure the lug nuts are on securely before lowering your vehicle and then use the tire iron to make sure that the lug nuts are completely secure.

Water For Gas

So after about a week or so of contemplating, I decided to actually give it a shot… I figured that the rewards of this actually working far outweighed the expenses of it being a scam… So I read and reread the website… and read it again! Just to make sure that I fully understood every single detail and “promise” that this site claimed their system would do for me. Finally, I ordered the e-book… but I didn’t read it right away… I actually went back and read the sales page again! (a little “obsessive compulsive” huh?) Then I decided to dig in… the book as very well put together. The instructions were very simple and easy to follow. (a little too easy actually) but anyway, I read the entire e-book front to back… and then guess that I did? I read it again! (I know… I know…)

(Moving forward…) Three days later… after reading the book enough times that I probably could have rewritten it myself verbatim, I decided to actually give it a try. It took me a few hours to complete everything… because of course, if I’m going to read the manual almost million times, I’m certainly going to take my time actually using it! I mean, hey, I have to make sure that it’s done “right”! Right? So bare with me here…

After about a week, I realized that I only had to fill my gas tank once! Are you serious? Only one time for an entire week? I drive out of town everyday to go to work… One tank of gas is unheard of for me! I figured that this had to be a fluke or something… So the next week came… and the exact same thing happened! I could not believe it! The ridiculously simple instructions in this e-book actually worked… but I was actually mad… very mad… if I could have been using water for gas all this time, why didn’t anyone every tell me! Do you have any idea how much money I’ve spent just in the last year on gas alone? More importantly, do you know how many Jack in the Box tacos buying gas has cost me? I feel so ripped off…