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An automobile’s motor oil

Motor Oil | A Definitive Guide

While the use of electric vehicles (EVs) is being encouraged for obvious reasons, the majority of vehicles that you see on the roads still use the internal combustion engine (ICE). As anybody who owns one of these vehicles knows, both diesel-powered and gasoline-powered engines require a fair amount of upkeep and maintenance to keep the engine running at an optimal level; this also includes frequent oil changes to improve the fuel economy of a vehicle.

Although motor oil is not something that a vehicle owner often thinks about, as compared to fuel, it still provides a valuable function, as in, making sure the internal components of an engine remain lubricated so that they don’t give way to wear and tear which occurs over time. While all motor oil might look similar to some folks, they are very different in terms of their source material, function, viscosity, and their type.

That said, motor oil has a common function amongst both diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles, albeit with varied specifications that need to be followed depending on the vehicle’s manufacturer recommendations. As in, just grabbing a random motor oil and pouring it into your vehicle can end up in the engine stalling, or worse, serious long-term damage that’s permanent (as in, you’ll need a loan for a new car.)

Since some motor oils are formulated to be used for some vehicles, and others are formulated to be used on others, it pays to educate yourself in the various types of motor oils that are available and how you can choose the best one for your vehicle.

Why Use Motor Oil?

While there’s a difference in terms of quality and performance, the truth is that the importance of motor oil when it comes to the function and efficiency of a vehicle’s engine cannot be denied. For those who are still wondering why motor oil matters for your car, the following are some additional benefits of using the right motor oil for your vehicle. It should be noted that regardless of the type of motor oil, its primary function is to make sure your engine is safe and running smoothly.

  • Provides protection for the emission system.
  • Prevents corrosion, rust, and wear and tear of the engine.
  • Keeps the engine lubricated so that all moving parts do not grind against each other, which could lead to unnecessary damage.
  • Help reduce the mechanical friction.
  • Disperses heat to keep all of the moving parts of the vehicle’s engine cool.
  • Improves the fuel economy of a vehicle.
  • Makes it easier to start internal combustion engines.
  • Keeps the engine clean by flushing out dirt and other tiny particles.

Types of Motor Oils

Over the past few decades, vehicles are getting more and more sophisticated and components more refined. It has also been noticed that these new vehicles require special care and attention when it comes to the motor oil or engine lube being used. Not choosing the right one can result in the engine malfunctioning or irreparable damage to the engine.

The good news is that the manufacturers of vehicles recommend certain motor oil depending on the make and model of the vehicle, along with the engine that’s under the hood. Your vehicle’s mechanic, who has hands-on experience in repairing cars, can also give you sound advice on the type of motor oil you should use in your vehicle.

Keeping the importance of motor oil in mind for the optimal performance of a car’s engine, the following are some of the types of motor oils that are easily available in the market today.

Mineral-Based Motor Oil

This is the oldest of the three and was first introduced back in 1908 for the Ford Model T. This type of engine oil can be divided into two grades; 10W-40 and 15W-40. One of the main characteristics of this basic form of engine oil is that it offers basic engine wear protection. On the downside, this motor oil needs to be frequently changed to ensure the engine’s optimal performance.

Synthetic or Semi-Synthetic Blend

This is the middle ground of motor oils and offers vehicle owners the best of both worlds. This synthetic blend has a lot more to offer as compared to mineral-based engine oils, such as better protection and more kilometers per oil change. However, the steep price tag seems to be the only reason why folks drive away from this synthetic blend.

The engine oil grade of the synthetic blend can be sub-divided into; 5W-30, 10W-40, and 15W-40. One of the main selling points of the synthetic or semi-synthetic blend is the exceptional protection that it offers during cold starts, which makes it a great option, especially for those who live in colder climates.

Fully Synthetic Engine Oil

The fully synthetic engine oil is the latest offering that the auto industry has to offer. This is a fully synthetic fluid that’s been formulated by synthetic materials in labs and offers top-shelf quality, economy, and protection for the engine. One of the main highlights of the fully synthetic engine oil is that they have been formulated with controlled blends, which means that they can bring out the best performance in a vehicle’s engine.

Some of the other factors that set this type of motor oil apart from the rest are that it offers far superior protection and controls the by-products of combustion, along with smooth cold starts as well as high running temperatures. This type of engine oil is graded as; 0W-30, 0W-40, and 5W-40.

When it’s time to choose the motor oil for your vehicle, apart from the mechanic’s recommendations and the manufacturer’s recommendations, it is also a good idea to ask yourself the following;

  • Am I going to be driving in extremely cold or hot weather often?
  • Am I going to be pulling or carrying heavy loads (in case of a caravan or trailer)?
  • Is the vehicle going to be driven in city conditions with many stops and starts?

Answering these questions should get you a good idea of what motor oil option to go with for your vehicle.

Ending Note

As you can see that there are multiple types of motor oils that are available in the market for vehicles, from conventional or mineral-based to synthetic blends and full synthetic motor oils. Each of these options has been specifically designed to improve the performance of specific car engines, as in diesel or gasoline, along with the type of vehicles, as in trucks, caravan, or passenger cars.

Motor oils are also environment-specific, which means you need to keep in mind the driving conditions as well, especially if you happen to travel by car in harsh summers or extremely cold winters. This is why it is always advised that vehicle owners should follow the recommendations made by the car manufacturer or their mechanic to make sure that their car’s engine is always performing at an optimal level, offers great fuel efficiency, and doesn’t contribute to the general wear and tear of a vehicle’s engine over time.

What are the best fuels for your car?

The Best Fuels for Your Vehicle

As Americans, we love to drive. In fact, the average household spends around $4,000 just on fuel for their car every year. If you, like most folks, drive up to the gas station, you may have noticed that there are quite a few options available.

What are the best fuels for your car?
Wawa gas station

Despite that, many tend to use the same type of gas for their vehicle to avoid the high prices of the other varieties of fuel or just to stay clear of the risk of using another fuel option that could stall the engine.

But before you pull up to the gas station and stop at the usual lower octane option, you really should know more about the different types of fuel at the gas station, and more importantly, the best fuels for your vehicle.

If you have never paid attention to the other options at the gas station, then it’s time to right that wrong. Here, we are going to take a quick look at the different types of fuel for your vehicle and answer that age-old question of, “What’s the difference between regular and premium?”

Gasoline

Gasoline, or gas, is by far the most commonly used fuel for vehicles. It is a specialized fossil fuel that is made from refining petroleum, which is where it gets the name “petrol” from if you’ve been driving on the other side of the Pacific. It should be noted here that the hydrocarbons present in the gasoline, along with the carbon dioxide which is released into the air during its production, both contribute to pollution and the rise in greenhouse gases.

Gasoline is available in three octane ratings that are commonly known as grades. These are denoted by the research octane number or RON and the AKI of the formula. For instance, 87 AKI is considered to be the lowest octane rating; up to 90 AKI is mid-range, and an AKI above 90 is considered high grade or “premium.” Sports cars and larger SUVs perform better on premium as compared to the lower varieties.

Diesel

Diesel is refined using a different method than what is used to make gasoline from petroleum. Diesel is used for agricultural equipment and large industrial trucks. Diesel also comes in two varieties; one for off-road vehicles and the other for regular automobiles.

In recent times, diesel is making a comeback from being frowned upon in the past due to its impact on the environment. However, vehicles that are powered by diesel tend to deliver better mileage and are more fuel-efficient as compared to their gas-guzzling counterparts. Also, there is a very specific difference between a petrol engine and a diesel engine, so it’s best to stick with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Biodiesel Fuel

At the bleeding edge of fuel, we have biodiesel, which is made from animal fats and vegetable oils, hence the eco-friendly name. But bio-fuel can also be created from other sources, such as lard, algae, and soybean oil as well. So, can biodiesel ever replace traditional diesel? The answer is yes.

In fact, biodiesel is considered to be the direct replacement for petroleum-based diesel. The best part about what makes biodiesel such an exciting alternative to regular diesel is that it can be used in any diesel engine without the need for any modifications. This is the main reason why biodiesel is currently being used in diesel trucks, buses, off-road equipment, and even cars in the US. Furthermore, research has shown that using biodiesel in regular diesel engine vehicles can reduce overall emissions by 75%, which makes it great for the environment.

Ethanol

You’re probably wondering how ethanol made it to the list. But despite the fact that it is not used as a vehicle fuel, it is however added to gasoline as an additive. Also, there are a growing number of automobile manufacturers that are designing their vehicles to be powered by ethanol simply because it is so cost-effective to produce. Since ethanol is created from sugarcane and corn, both renewable resources, it is considered to be extremely environmentally friendly. While ethanol is currently being used as an additive in regular gasoline, there are some vehicles out there that are able to run on 100% ethanol if that’s what you’re looking for.

Propane and Methanol

If you’ve been to the gas station lately, you may have noticed a few new options available. We’re talking about methanol and propane, which are a few other types of alternative fuels that are available today. The goal of introducing new alternative fuel sources is to help reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions caused by burning fossil fuels, which is bad for the environment. Hydrogen is another up-and-coming fuel option for all those who are searching for an alternative to traditional gas or diesel.

One of the major benefits of hydrogen fuel cells is that the only byproduct that they produce is water. There are quite a few car manufacturers who are starting to introduce vehicles that run on hydrogen fuel cells as well. However, the only downside to this alternate fuel option is that it requires its own hydrogen fueling station, which is going to require a considerable amount of investment in building the infrastructure before consumers can freely use cars that are powered on hydrogen fuel cells.

For all those who are searching for the best type of fuel for their vehicle, it’s best to stick with the manufacturer’s recommendations or consult with the local automobile mechanic for suggestions. For those who are wondering which gas to go with next time, it is best to stick with 87, 88, or 91 octane gas, rather than go for the lower options, especially if you’re driving a luxury car. For long trips or driving to high altitudes, it is best to fill the tank with the premium octane you need beforehand, just in case you don’t find the octane you need at other gas stations.

Ending Note

If you are like most people, chances are, you probably go with the cheapest option out there when it comes to fueling your car, and rightly so. The cost of fuel has been increasing lately, and with it, the consumer’s concerns, which is why most folks just go with the most affordable option they can find when looking to gas up their vehicle.

However, some only purchase the highest grade and most expensive fuel for their vehicles, assuming that more money equates to better quality, higher mileage, and a longer-lasting vehicle. While that makes sense, the truth is that the price you pay for the fuel does not mean that it’s the best fuel for your vehicle.

This is why it is important for all drivers to have a basic knowledge of the various fuel types that are available in the market today, along with their grades. Using the information mentioned above on the best fuels for your vehicle will help you make a more informed decision the next time you pull up to the gas station.

Causes behind a car not starting

9 Reasons Your Car Won’t Start

It is a heavenly day outside – the sun is peeping from behind the clouds, and the temperature is just perfect. You open your car door and get inside, all set for a productive day at work.

Unfortunately, the engine coughs and sputters, but your car refuses to start.

There are numerous reasons why a car will not start. While you might be forced to turn to professional help in some cases, there are a lot of things you can try yourself before that.

In this blog, we will discuss some of the common reasons your car won’t start.

Why Is Your Car Not Starting?

1) Dead battery:

This is one of the common causes behind a car failing to start. If your battery still has some life, you might find the starter turning slowly. Sometimes, corroded cables can also lead to improper power flow.

However, there are several reasons a battery might die. Perhaps, there is a loose wire somewhere, the component water evaporated and led to insufficient conductivity, or maybe you forgot to turn off the dome light.

Jump-starting the car is an easy way to see if a dead battery is to be blamed for the trouble. If the jump-start is successful, there is a high probability that your battery is dying. In such a case, you could consider cleaning up the connections a bit, or, if that does not help, you should get your battery replaced.

2) Alternator:

An ineffective alternator might mean that your battery is not being charged. If you feel that the alternator is the problem, start by looking for a slipping or worn drive belt. If the belt breaks or the alternator fails, you will almost certainly receive a warning flash of light. However, you might not get this warning in case of a mere flawed system output. There is a simple way to see if your car instrument panel contains a gauge. Just see if the instrument panel is displaying approximately 14 volts. Very few modern vehicles include an alternator gauge, so you might likely require a technician or mechanic to check things out.

There are other warning signs that your battery is not charging, such as a weak cranking starter or headlights that have dimmed.

3) Starter:

When automobiles first came about, the starter owned the car. You would take a crank and walk towards the front of the vehicle. Having assured yourself that the gearbox is disengaged, you would put the crank in the shaft, thereby manually turning and starting the engine.

Technological improvements led to the advent of the electric starter but, despite the increased reliability of modern-day mechanisms, starters are still not immune to failure. A broken starter can usually be detected by a clicking sound and can leave your vehicle in an inoperable state. The only issues related to a starter can be related to the teeth on the driver’s gear or the flywheel.

4) Spark Plugs:

Secondary ignition issues are almost unheard of nowadays – almost. On the rare occasions that they do occur, these problems can render your vehicle unable to start. Three decades ago, an automobile owner would have to undergo regular maintenance to reach anywhere close to the 100,000-mile point. Today, thanks to lengthy replacement schedules for spark plugs – coupled with the fact that most car owners do not hold on to a vehicle throughout its useful life – it is easy to forget about the replacements for long-lasting vehicle parts like spark plugs, thereby leading to car-start issues.

5) Air Filter:

Much like human beings, a car needs to ‘breathe’ in order to function optimally. Over time, your car’s air filter ends up accumulating grease, road dust, and many other types of muck so that your vehicle can enjoy filtered, clean air. However, this buildup of debris can restrict your vehicle from taking in the required amount of air. Without sufficient air, the gas fails to ignite, and no ignition means that the internal combustion process remains incomplete. All you need to do to resolve this problem is to get a new air cleaner, which is readily available at almost every automotive supply store.

6) Fuel Filter:

Alongside air, fuel is another essential requirement for both humans and cars. Every vehicle requires clean fuel in order to move effectively. From the car tank to petrol transport, your engine ends up sucking all kinds of muck and filth. A fuel filter makes sure that any unwanted items do not make their way to the combustion chambers. These foreign items keep on accumulating and eventually block or restrict the fuel from entering the engine. To ensure that this situation does not occur, you should change your fuel filters after every 25,000 to 40,000 miles (earlier in case your car travels over dirt or gravel).

7) Fuel Pump:

Even if there is nothing to keep the fuel from making its way towards the combustion chamber, a failed or inadequate fuel pump can significantly impact the functioning of your automobile. In earlier vehicle models, the carburetor was below the tank, and gravity was used to feed the fuel. With those models, even though cars were not able to go over steep hills, a failed pump was no cause for concern.

To check if your fuel pump is working fine, switch the key towards the ‘on’ side and check if you can hear the running of the tank pump. If not, this means that your fuel pump is not functioning, and hence, your car has no fuel to use.

8) Empty Fuel Tanks:

Sometimes, the most straightforward answer is also the correct one. Our modern, sophisticated vehicle dashboards keep us updated with the precise number of miles we have until we run out of gas. Such technology, while making our lives easier, has also spoiled us – we keep pushing our cars to the limit and delay a gas fill-up for as long as possible. If you forgot the refueling or if you altered the speed at which the mileage was displaying, it is possible that your car tank is short of gas. Hence, be sure always to keep an eye on the needle.

9) Locked Steering Wheel:

Sometimes, the key will refuse to budge when turned in the ignition. Many cars lock the steering wheel as soon as you remove the key – an anti-theft attribute. Upon parking, if the steering wheel is in the position of the lock, the wheel will remain in that position. So, while turning the key, nudge the wheel a little to the right or left, and the anti-theft attribute might give way and enable you to turn your key and get the car going.

Final Word

To conclude, there is a wide range of reasons and problems that might be causing your vehicle’s inability to start. If you are struggling with a car that won’t start and require professional help, please feel free to reach out to us.

How to use a car jack properly

Different Vehicle Jacks and How to Use Them Properly

Changing your tire, working on your brakes, and looking for leaks are just some reasons why you’ll have to lift your car. If you’ve ever performed vehicle maintenance, then you’ll know the importance of a car jack. Most car owners who are new to vehicle maintenance aren’t aware of the intricacies involved when using a car jack and may compromise on their safety unknowingly. It is therefore essential to know how to use a car jack properly.

Moreover, you’ll need to keep in mind the different vehicle jacks out there and the one suitable for your car. Let’s explore some of their kinds and how to use each of them properly when lifting your car off the ground.

Scissor Jack

A scissor jack is the most common type of car jack and comes as a standard jack for most vehicles when purchased. They are portable when fully closed and don’t require much maintenance other than oiling or greasing their parts.

The scissor jack is a type of mechanical jack that consists of two arms connected at their ends via hinges. One end of each arm connects to the base of the jack and the other to the saddle that makes contact with the lifting point on your car. Each arm is divided into two sections, with another hinge in between. These hinges are special because a screw runs through them. These two hinges can be brought close to each other by turning the screw clockwise. This causes the arms to extend and lift up your car.

The mechanism used by a scissor jack is simple and easy to use, making it a reliable option for many cases. However, a scissor jack is not meant for everyday maintenance and is more of an option provided by car manufacturers in cases of emergency, like changing a flat tire when on the road. They can’t lift heavy loads and are normally rated at 3000 lbs. Make sure you check their rating before using them; otherwise, its screw may bend and break.

Bottle Jacks

As their name implies, bottle jacks look like cylindrical containers. They are a type of hydraulic car jack that uses the power of Pascal’s Law when lifting.

Bottle jacks consist of two cylinders. One is smaller than the other and has a piston inside connected to a hinge on the outside. The hinge connects to a lever which can be used to move the smaller piston up and down. Inside the cylinder is the hydraulic fluid that gets forced into the larger cylinder when the lever is moved. The larger cylinder has a saddle on the outside that connects to the jacking point of your car.

The difference in diameters of the piston allows the exchange of force while keeping the hydraulic pressure constant. The force applied gets multiplied every time the lever is turned, allowing you to lift your car with ease. To bring your car down to the ground, a screw needs to be turned anti-clockwise. Make sure you turn it slowly, so that fluid in the large cylinder does not get released very quickly, preventing your car from slamming to the ground.

Bottle jacks have a small form factor, enabling you to store them easily. They also have a higher lifting capacity than scissor jacks, up to 50 tons, but for most cases, a 2 ton rated one should suffice. 2 ton (4000 lbs.) jacks are relatively inexpensive and can lift most sedans and SUVs, an ideal car jack to have around the house for home repairs.

Floor jacks

Floor jacks are another type of hydraulic car jack that uses the same working principle as bottle jacks. The two differ in their design. In a bottle jack, all the force is translated vertically, however in a floor jack, the lever pushes fluid to turn an arm upwards, and the force gets translated from horizontal to vertical. The arm has a saddle on its end that connects to your car’s lifting point and sits comfortably within the body of the floor jack when not extended. Hence, the floor jack is closer to the ground, great for cars with a low profile.

Additionally, floor jacks have a wider base with wheels attached to allow for better positioning of the jack when lifting your car. This wider base also provides more stability, preventing your jack from toppling over when your car is lifting from the ground.

The downside of using a floor jack is that they are quite bulky car jacks and aren’t easy to store.It is for this reason that you’ll find them in car repair shops that have plenty of storage space.

How to Use a Car Jack Properly

If used incorrectly, lifting your car can become a dangerous endeavor, leading to cuts, bruises, and, in some cases, even death. You might be hesitant at first, but consulting your owner’s manual is a great place to start.

Safety Tips to Keep in Mind before Lifting Your Car
  • Make sure the vehicle is on level ground. It provides a stable base for the car jack and prevents any excessive weight from being exerted on it.
  • If you’re parked on loose soil or mud, place the car jack on a wider base plate or a plank of wood so that you gain more stability when lifting your car.
  • Make sure your car is in park, has the e-brake turned up, or in first gear (if manual) so that it doesn’t move and fall while being raised off the ground. Consider investing in wheel chocks for extra safety.
  • Never use a car jack for extended periods. If you want to keep your car lifted off the ground, consider investing in jack stands instead.
  • Inspect your car jack before using it. It should be rated for the car’s weight. Consult your owner’s manual for these specifications and the rating sticker on your car jack. Look for any defects in your car jack. A scissor jack may have bent or broken hinges and screws, and a hydraulic jack may leak fluid. Fully extend them once before using them on your car to check their functionality.
  • When on a busy freeway or highway, turn on your hazard lights and wait for help. Changing your car tire in such places may endanger your life and the lives of others.

Lifting your Car

Once you’ve taken all the necessary safety precautions, you can go ahead with lifting your car.

Step 1: Locate the Lifting Points on Your Car

Your user manual will highlight several points near the front and rear wheels from where to place the jack saddle and lift up your car. Placing your jack elsewhere can damage the underbody, topple the jack, and lead to costly repairs.

Step 2: Positioning the Car Jack

Place the car jack such that it sits under the jacking points. You can adjust the positioning as the saddle connects to the lifting point.

Step 3: Lifting the Car

If you have a scissor jack, use its accompanying crank to turn the screw in a clockwise direction until your car lifts sufficiently from the ground.

If you have a bottle or floor jack, make sure its screw is turned clockwise before you place the lever in its position. Jerk the lever in an up and down motion to lift up your car.

With each jack, you’ll feel the weight of the car as you lift it up.

Final Word

Knowing how to use a car jack is one of the most basic skills that every car owner should be aware of. It can help you in emergencies, given you fulfill all the safety requirements prior to lifting. Like every skill, it requires practice to master, and after a few tries, you’ll find that it’s quite an easy job.

Your owner’s manual is the best resource for you if you’re looking to gain more knowledge on this subject and will tell you how to lift your car safely. If you’re still unsure, try asking for help from experienced professionals as they may be better at guiding you.

Oil, Motor, Changing The Oil, Maintenance, Vehicle

7 Car Fluids to Maintain Vehicle Performance

When it comes to taking care of our vehicles’ fluids, it is “out of sight, out of mind” for many of us. However, the fluid is essential to your vehicle’s smooth running and if there is something wrong with it, your vehicle may not be able to start or worse, become unsafe to drive on the road.

If you want your car to run smoothly for several years, to need to take care of your car’s fluids and maintain them properly, as well.

Why Is Maintaining Car Fluids Important?

Your car’s fluids are its lifeblood. You need to make sure these fluids are clean so that your car works properly. Not only will maintaining your car fluids allow your vehicle to run optimally, but it will also result in low incidents of repair.

Here are some important fluids that affect
the performance and function of your car:

Engine Oil

Your engine oil is a special type of lubricant that cleans and greases up the inner workings of your car. It runs through your engine as well as the turbochargers. Today, engine oil consists of natural base oils with a number of additives that allow it to perform better.

Checking your engine oil is very important. To do that, typically you would have to park your car on a flat surface and allow it to cool down. Then, you should open the hood, pull out the dipstick and wipe the oil from it. Place the dipstick back and then pull it out again to see where the oil level reaches on the stick. The stick has notches that indicate the minimum and maximum levels of oil.

Before, you needed to change the engine oil every 3000 miles or every three months. However, thanks to modern lubricants, most vehicles can go as far as 7,500 miles or even more between oil changes.

It is best to get your engine oil checked every three months to ensure all is right with this vital lubricant.

Transmission Fluid

If your car’s transmission breaks down, it can be very expensive to get it fixed. That is why it is important to keep them lubricated. Transmission fluid allows the gears in your vehicle to keep running smoothly.

There are some modern cars that have transmissions that are designed to prevent the inconvenience of changing transmission fluid. However, it is a good habit to eventually top-up or change the transmission fluid in these cars as well, particularly if the fuel looks dark and has a burnt smell. However, you get the benefit of not doing so for tens or even hundreds of thousands of miles.

Since transmission fluid is located in a closed system, if you notice a leak, you need to get it checked out immediately by an automotive repair and services company.

Power Steering Fluid

If you hear strange sounds coming from your steering wheel when you turn it, it may be a sign that you are running low on power steering fluid.

Power steering fluid allows you to smoothly move your steering wheel. That’s why it is important to check this fluid every month. One of the good things about this fluid is that it rarely, if ever, requires complete flushing; however, you may need to top it up. You may only need to replace the fluid if your car has traveled over 50,000 miles or so.

Depending on the make and model of your car, there will be different requirements for maintaining your power steering fluid. You can consult your car manual to find out about your vehicle’s specific needs.

Radiator Fluid

The radiator transfers the heat from the engine outside, keeping it cool. Although driving any car can cause your engine to heat up, it is especially so for performance vehicles. If you put your cart to heavy use, you will need to make sure your radiator fluids are at optimal levels; otherwise, you may see smoke coming out of the hood of your car as a result of heating and find yourself stranded at the side of the road.

The content of the radiator is pressurized, so make sure you allow your engine to cool down before you take off the cap from the radiator. If your coolant is not almost at the very top, you will need to refill your radiator.

Brake Fluid

When your car is racing on the highway, it also needs to have the ability to stop at a moment’s notice. This can only be done if your brakes are in impeccable condition.

A car’s braking system is hydraulic and relies on fluid pressure to make the car stop. Therefore, it is very important that your brake fluid is maintained and reaches the optimal level as it directly affects your safety.

The brake system is also a closed-off system. So if you are getting repeatedly low on brake fluid, it could be a sign that you require new brakes. In addition, if the brake fluid appears more brown than golden, it is a sign that it needs to be replaced.

Typically, your brake fluid will need to be changed every two years. However, it is good practice to get it checked every time you have an oil change.

AC Coolant

It can be extremely uncomfortable to sit in a hot and stuffy car in the summers. So if you want a chill ride, you need to check your AC coolant, also known as a refrigerant or Freon gas. Checking this fluid requires some specialized equipment and can be relatively difficult, so you can let a reliable auto service do it for you.

However, if you want to do it yourself, you need to get an AC gauge and thermometer from an auto repair store. If you discover your coolant is running low, you can easily recharge it with some additional tools from the auto parts store.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Having a squeaky clean and clear windshield increases your visibility and driving safety. If you like to take your car to places where it can collect a lot of dust and debris, then a windshield washer fluid can help keep your windshield clean.

Checking your windshield washer fluid is quite easy. Most cars have reservoirs with a label on the cap that says “washer” or “windshield.” To check the fluid level, just twist off the cap. Since the fluid is not hot or pressurized, handling the reservoir is not dangerous.

If you require more fluid, it is best to get a good quality washer fluid, rather than simple soap and water, to get rid of dirt, droppings, bugs, or other road debris, and refill the reservoir.

To make sure your car runs in an optimal way, you need to take care of all the essential fluid in your car. Whether you need to top off the fluid or flush it out completely, it is best if you take your car to a reliable automotive repair and service company in Pennsylvania like PA Auto Inspection. Our experienced and highly skilled staff can save you the trouble of checking and maintaining your car and will make sure all systems are set for a safe driving experience. Visit us today.

Auto maintenance due

Seasonal Auto Maintenance Checklist

Often we neglect the importance of proper and periodic maintenance. Instead, most of us wait until the indicators go off. However, this is not the best practice, and auto maintenance is usually scheduled based on the mileage. However, seasons can take a different kind of toll on your vehicle. If the vehicle is not maintained correctly, the chances are that your car will break down frequently.

Not only does regular maintenance save you from unexpected breakdowns, but it is also a safety hazard to be in a poorly maintained car. From failing brakes to engine overheating, anything can go wrong. Moreover, the more you delay maintenance, the more the condition will deteriorate. This affects the vehicle’s overall health and also increases your repair costs. A poorly maintained car will lose its resale value, and even though you might get a repair job done before selling it, you will likely not get the same value as a well-maintained car.

Here in this article, we will discuss some vehicle features that require maintenance from one season to another. Here is your seasonal auto maintenance checklist.

Spring

Winter is the harshest season for almost everyone and everything. The same goes for the vehicles as well. This means that when spring comes, your car has endured through a tough time and needs a good maintenance check-up to continue working properly.

Cleaning the Body

Snowfall and chilly winter air can have a drastic effect on your car’s exterior. The chances are that you did not get your car washed or serviced anytime in the winter. When spring arrives, it’s important that you get the entire exterior washed, especially the underbody. This is because snow and salt mixed together can corrode your car. While the process may be a little slow during the winter, residual salts can damage your underbody in a warmer season. Getting your vehicle cleaned will also make any corrosion or rust visible so that you can actively take care of it before it worsens.

Tires

Winters can take a toll on your tires, especially if they are not snow tires or all-season tires. Not only is it not recommended to drive in regular tires in snow, but it also damages the tires. You must check for all kinds of damages.

If you had all-season tires, they might have survived the winter just fine. However, the season does have its impact on your tires. If there are no visible damages and the drives seem okay, you don’t need any replacement. However, it is recommended that you rotate your tires.

If you had snow tires, it is time to get them changed. Snow tires do not perform well in other seasons and can become a safety hazard very quickly.

Brakes

Your brakes would also require a maintenance check after winters. Brakes play a crucial role in controlling your car, and this labor increases in the winter season when there is snow all around. The chances are that your vehicle’s brake pads are worn off. You may or may not hear squealing sounds every time you apply brakes. However, you will definitely feel a reduced control over your car. You should not push the brakes to their limits. It is important that you get worn brakes replaced as soon as possible.

Oil and Filters

Your engine will be required to put in more effort in warmer weather, which means you need to change the engine oil to keep the performance at par. A fresh oil change can enhance your vehicle performance marginally. Even though the oil change is generally due after a certain mileage, the seasonal check will ensure that the oil consistency is not affected by any moisture due to condensation in winter.

Filters should also be replaced to better prepare yourself for the spring. The number one reason is the pollen in the air that can cause various allergies. If you have a worn-out filter in place, it will expose you to dust and allergens.

Summer

Summer is the second harshest weather after winter. The weather gets pretty hot, and there is dust all around. A car breakdown in summers means standing in scorching heat waiting for help. However, this can be avoided by following this maintenance checklist.

Car Cooling System

Given the increased temperature of the atmosphere, your car is more likely to get overheated. Although there can be many different reasons for it, a failing cooling system is one of the biggest reasons for a car breakdown in summer.

In winters, the ambient temperature is generally pretty low, which in turn aids your car’s cooling system. If there is something wrong with the cooling system, winters may hide the fault. The same goes for spring when the temperature is not as warm as it is in summer, which means that the cooling system may get neglected in these seasons. However, it is important that you flush out your vehicle’s radiator and refill it with a new coolant. Please note that you should not open up the radiator while the engine is hot, you must let your car cool down before you change the coolant, or you should do it before starting your car.

Tires

You must keep a check on your tires in all seasons. Even if you have all-season tires, it is better that you check their condition after each season. Apart from the physical conditions, tire pressure becomes crucial in the summer season. It is important that you check for the recommended air pressure throughout the season. Keep your tires at lower pressure in summers. The heat can cause the air to expand and, in turn, burst the tire.

Air Conditioning

It is likely that you have not used air conditioning in the spring. And even if you have, spring being a little less warm than summers, you can get by with your car air conditioning low performance. However, low-performing air conditioning will make your drive in summers a terrible experience. You must get your air conditioning checked at the beginning of the season.

Fall

There is a high probability that if your vehicle is well maintained, it will not require any specific maintenance in the fall. Fall is not as harsh as summers and winters, and the change from the summers to fall is not that drastic either. You can have a please drive experience if you have been following previous maintenance checks.

However, you may want to check for your air filters. If you experience dry and dusty summers, you may need to replace your filters at the beginning of fall. It is also good practice to check your tires and start preparing for winters beforehand. The same goes for vehicle fluids, including oils and coolants.

Winters

Winter is a tough season for your cars. There are a few things that you need to make sure are working perfectly.

Car Cooling Systems

While your system requires a coolant in winters, it is important that you fill your radiator with antifreeze in winter. You need to flush out the regular summer coolant and replace it with an antifreeze solution that goes with water. This will make sure that the internal systems do not freeze overnight, which may cause trouble for you.

Tires

Given the role of tires in a vehicle, it is important to reiterate that you need to check your vehicle’s tires in every season, especially summers and winters. If your car is still on all-season tires, you may want to replace them with snow tires. Snow tires give you the best performance in winters. However, if your all-season tires are in good condition, you can use them as well, but you must rotate them with the season change.

Wiper Change

It is crucial that your wipers are in good shape after a harsh summer. Heat and dust often ruin the wiper, and since the use of wipers will increase drastically in winters, you must ensure they are in prime condition.

Heater

Much like air conditioning in summers, your car’s heater needs to be functional in winters. It is a large period of time in which you probably will not use the heaters from spring to fall. This increases the likelihood of the heating system being in bad shape. You must run a maintenance check on your heater system to avoid freezing.

Takeaway

Your vehicle is an investment that you would like to keep in good shape. Maintenance is a crucial element in keeping your vehicle in prime condition. Regular maintenance check-ups are essential. Even if you don’t feel that the car needs it, you must get it checked anyway. Maintenance also helps you stay ahead of any developing condition in your car. We hope that this article will help you make a checklist for all seasons and keep your vehicle maintained.

Jump-start a car battery

How to Jump-Start a Battery

Have you ever been stuck in a situation where you put your keys in the ignition, and all that you hear is some sputtering? Or maybe you hear nothing but your car doesn’t start either. If yes, then it means that you have experienced your car battery dying.

You must be aware that car battery dying can become quite a nuisance for you. It is important that you frequently check your battery condition to avoid any such scenario.

However, the only solution, if you are stranded somewhere, and your battery has given up, is to jump-start your battery. Here in this article, we will provide you some insight into how to jump-start a battery.

What is Causing the Battery to Die

It is important to identify why a battery may die. Multiple factors can affect your battery, like cold weather, battery draining out, your car generator not working, or your battery has run its course and needs a replacement.

Cold Weather

Cold weather can have a drastic impact on your car battery. Even it is new and completely charged. If you have a rather old battery, the chances are that you will have a hard time starting your car in the cold weather.

To prevent this effect of cold, you first need to identify the state of your car battery. If it needs charging or replacement, you should get it done before you get into any trouble. Moreover, frequent driving can keep your battery charged and warm. Ensure that you run your engine for a while even if you are not driving to maintain battery life.

Battery Draining Out

Another reason why your battery may give up on you is if you leave your car lights even after you have turned the engine off. The battery is responsible for two main functions. One is to start the car and help ignition. While the other is to provide power to lighting systems, radio or speaker systems, or other things that do not get power from the engine.

While the car is running, the battery is being utilized while simultaneously being charged by the alternator in the car. When you turn off the engine but forget to turn off the lights, for example, the batteries would be all used up and not get charged. This will result in your car failing to start the next time you try switching the ignition. It is important that you are mindful of your habits when it comes to leaving the car to avoid any such scenario.

Generator Not Working and Old Battery

These are the technical faults that are hard to identify by yourself. While you should have an idea about your battery conditions, there are chances that it will stop working out of the blue. If the battery is too old and you believe that it needs to be replaced, do not delay.

If the generator is not working, your car will have trouble running. But since your battery is not being charged at all, you will drain all your battery while driving, and the next time you turn your car on, it won’t start.

Jump starting a battery can help in all of these situations, except the one where your battery has completely died. This will only happen if your battery is old and you have not given it much thought to maintaining it.

What is a Jump Start?

Jump starting your car battery means providing it enough power to get the ignition working. Once the engine is turned on, you do not require alternate power supplies. The engine can maintain its own power, and this will be enough to get you to your destination.

We use an alternate battery pack or a battery from another vehicle to jump-start a dead battery. You will require jump-start cables. These cables are high-grade wires with large crocodile clips at their ends. These cables can withstand the large amount of power that is required to jump your car. They are usually color-coded as black and red, denoting the battery’s two different terminals, negative and positive.

How to Jump-Start A Battery

We will be discussing two different methods to jump-start a battery. Both of these would require you to have proper cables. Jump-starting your car with some other cables can be very dangerous. Another thing that is required is an alternate power source. That is what differentiates our two methods. Jump starting by another vehicle or by a jump-starting battery pack.

A word of caution before we get into the details about jump-starting your battery: do not attempt to jump-start your car in the presence of flammable fumes, gasoline, or anything flammable, for that matter. The batteries are packed with high voltages to run your car, and the process of jump-starting may involve sparks which can lead to a mishap if you are not mindful of the environment around you.

Jump-Starting by Another Vehicle

The first thing while trying to jump-start your car battery is to identify the terminals on your battery. All the batteries have two different terminals, marked positive and negative.

Once you have identified the terminals on your car battery, identify the terminals on the other vehicle as well. This information is crucial to the process.

Step by step


How to jump start a car battery. Step by step
How to use jump starting a car jumper cables to jump start a car from another vehicle.

Park the two cars close enough to easily connect the two batteries using the jump start cable. However, do maintain a distance. The maximum cable length should be utilized to avoid any sort of capacitive shock. Moreover, the two cars should not be touching at any cost. This can lead to current leakage being bypassed through one car into another, which can cause shocks.

Turn off the engines of both the cars and take out the keys from the ignition. This is a preventive measure to avoid any uncertain accident.

Once all this is done, it is time to connect the two batteries together. The convention is to connect the negative terminals using the black wire and the positive terminals using the red wire. This convention is derived from basic electrical engineering practices where these colors represent the two terminals. It is critical that you connect the negative terminal to another negative terminal and the positive terminal to the other positive terminal. While connecting these cables, also make sure that once you have clamped the wire to one end, the other end of the wire does not get in contact with anything else. Place these terminals ensuring all the safety hazards. Wearing rubber gloves is an added safety measure.

If the cables are messed up, there are chances of fire, sparks, and electrocution; so be very vigilant around the batteries.

The safest order is to first clamp the positive terminal on your battery and then attach it to the positive terminal of the other car. And while connecting the negative terminals, clamp the other car’s battery terminal first and then attach it to your battery.

Once the batteries are connected together, start the other car. When you start the other car, it starts charging its own battery as well as the battery in your car. If your battery is old, give it a few moments, this will help your battery get some charge.

After a little while, try switching your car on. This may take more than one attempt to bring your car back to life. Remember to not turn the ignition for long. This will only drain your battery further. When you switch your car on, hold it for a few seconds and if it doesn’t respond, leave it and try again in a moment.

Once your car has started, you are good to go. The only thing left to do is to disconnect the two batteries properly. Disconnect the cables in the reverse order, and be very careful. These cables now contain live current that is much more dangerous. Do not touch the ends of these cables before you have disconnected both ends. Similarly, make sure they don’t get in contact with anything until separated.

Jump-Starting with a Battery Pack

Nowadays, jump-starting battery packs are available that can be kept in your car for emergencies. These are rather simple to operate, a little bit safer as well. All you have to do is to connect these battery packs to your car’s dead battery.

However, you must still take all the precautions and maintain a safe distance. The whole process of connecting the batteries is similar to the previous process. You must make sure you connect the like terminals together.

If you are using a random battery, you don’t need to do anything else other than connecting the two and waiting a while before you start. But if you are using a proper jump starting battery pack, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Although the process would be very similar, you should be certain of what you are doing.

Takeaway

We hope that this article will be able to help you in case of emergencies. Remember, always carry safety tools in your trunk for emergencies. Car batteries are high power sources that pose a great threat. If you are uncertain of the process, do not attempt to jump-start your car by yourself.

Auto Service Tire Replacement

A Guide to Tire Buying

Buying a new tire can be a daunting experience if you’re unfamiliar with it. It’s not your fault though, because there are so many specifications and types of tires to consider that it can become easily overwhelming for anyone. Since getting a new set of tires is vital for your safety on the road, you do still have to make that decision. To ease this process a little, we will discuss some critical pointers that you should keep in mind when buying new tires.

When Should You Change the Tires?

First and foremost, you must have an understanding of when to change the tires of your vehicle. We often think that replacement is only due when the tires start to wear out, but that is not the only factor contributing to the need to change them. Here is what you should check for to know if your tires are due for a replacement:

Disappearing Treads

Treads are what provide traction to your car and are imperative to keep the car in your control. There are different kinds of tread tracks,but they are all supposed to have a specific depth measurement. With time and use, these treads start to wear down, and the depth between the tracks starts to decrease, causing an alarming situation. You don’t want to wait a long time before you get your tires changed if your tread has worn off enough.

The most common method of checking if you are in the safe zone is through a quarter or a penny. People in the tire industry suggest that you should place a penny or a quarter between the tread tracks. If you are using a penny, check if Abe’s head is completely visible from the side. If yes, this means it’s time to shop for some new tires. Similarly, when using a quarter, look at Washington’s head; if you can see all of it, then your tires are too worn to use.

Cracked Sidewalls

Cracked sidewalls on your tire are the most obvious indicators that you need a tire change. If it is cracking, it will blow up any day, so don’t take your chances. Moreover, these cracks may also lead to your tire leaking, which means that you will have to check for air more often.

Deformations

Often a bad tire or a tire in rigorous use will start to show some deformations in the shape of bulges on the outer surface, usually on the sidewalls. This indicates that the tire is weakened and should be replaced soon.

Wobbling Tires

If you feel your car wobbling while driving, it is an indication that you should check your tire for deformities and leaks. You will have to get your tires checked, and the mechanic will let you know what the diagnosis is. If you don’t find any physical problem with the tire or if you have recently changed the tires, check if they have been properly installed.

Age

Tires come with a set life span, and even though you may or may not exploit their full potential, you must not use them after their recommended life. The compounds with which a tire is made changes over time, regardless of wear and tear or usage. And after a certain amount of time after their production, they are not safe to drive.

Their date of production is printed on the sidewalls, and the experts in the tire industry suggest that you get your tires changed every six years.

Choosing The Right Tires

Before you start figuring out what tires you are going to get, you should evaluate your requirements. You should keep in mind details like your mileage, what kind of tracks you are driving on, weather conditions, and other general questions regarding your driving routine. This will help you find the best fit for your vehicle.

Seasons

Weather conditions and seasons play an important role in your tire’s performance. There are three main classifications among tires in terms of season.

  • Summer Tires
  • Winter Tires
  • All Season Tires

Choosing Right Car Tires

Summer Tires

Summer tires are made such that they perform the best on warmer days. Their rubbers cater to any sort of weather-related expansion very well and, in turn, provide you with great response and traction. They are also made such that they can manage wet roads just as well as dry weather. However, they have one shortfall, and that is they become a hazard whenever the temperature drops below 40 Fahrenheit. The name summer tire makes it quite evident that they are not for winters and cold regions, but dropping below 40 may be usual in your region, even in the summer. The dangerous level to which these tires lose control makes it impossible to drive.

Winter Tires

As the name suggests, these tires have unparalleled performance when it comes to cold and icy conditions. These tires are engineered to best cater to the slippery conditions in cold regions, especially when there is ice. However, contrasting with summer tires, these tires are not suitable for driving in warm conditions. Once the weather starts to warm up, these tires will start wearing quickly and, in turn, drop in performance.

All Season Tires

These are your safest bet if you live in a state where you see all of the seasons in their full glory. These tires are designed such that they decently cater to all kinds of weather conditions. However, they are also further classified, but generally, the idea behind these tires is to provide a safe drive, regardless of what the weather is like. They do not match the performance of the tires specifically made for a certain season, but they do not pose any danger either.

Tire Specifications

To best fit your car, there are certain tire specifications that you need to be aware of. If you are replacing your tires on a car that has been with you since it was manufactured, you may replace them with identical tires set. We suggest this because those specifications are meant for the best vehicle performance. However, depending on whether or your drive preferences, you may also opt for some other tires.

Size

In order to get a different size than what your existing tire is, you may need some upgrades on your wheel as well as your car. Usually, when replacing a tire, people tend to get the same size as their existing tires. This decision is the safest and saves you from a lot of hassle.

Speed Rating

A speed rating tells you how fast you can go without jeopardizing your safety. After a certain speed, the tire may start to lose traction and get out of control. If you know your speed limits, you must ask for the tire that caters to it.

No Flat Tires

While always carrying a spare tire is a good thing, No-Flat tires or Run-Flat tires help you out with a small commute even after they are punctured. This way, you don’t have a completely flat tire, and you can reach a safe or more comfortable place to change the wheel without having to change the tire. This is also a safe option since a tire going flat at high speed can prove to be dangerous.

Safety Code

Lastly, you must check that the tires you are about to buy meet all the US Department of Transportation requirements, and are certified for safety.

Tires play an essential role in your safety while driving, and to stay out of harm’s way, you must ensure regular maintenance and replacement check-ups on your tires.

Tips to save money on gas

13 Tips to Save Money on Gas

Your annual fuel bills aren’t completely in your control as fuel prices fluctuate throughout the year, guided by the rise and dips in the demand and supply of natural resources. While you may not be able to control how much you pay every year, you can ensure that you aren’t paying any more than you absolutely need to.

Here, we bring you tips to save money on gas.

1. Ensure Regular Maintenance

Regular car maintenance ensures your vehicle is in optimal condition and that your vehicle’s engine is as happy and healthy as possible. If your engine is old and tired, it will consume more fuel. During your regular checkup, you can also look into oil levels.

Make sure you use a good quality oil as that directly affects the engine’s health. You will also have to consider seasons and temperature changes when trying to find the right oil for your car. You may need to switch to a thinner oil during winters and a thicker one during summers to prevent clogging.

While you check on oil, check your air filters as well. They usually need replacement annually or bi-annually. Lastly, keep an eye on the tire pressure. Your tires should have optimal air pressure at all times, as that can help you save money on gas by allowing the engine to run smoothly and efficiently.

2. Combine Your Errands

Instead of making multiple visits to the grocery store per day or per week, plan a weekly grocery shopping trip and get all you need on that visit. If you have to pay bills or go for a dental checkup a few days apart, try scheduling them on the same day. It takes a little bit of extra planning, but fewer trips ensure lower gas consumption, helping you save quite a substantial amount of money.

3. Carpool Often

Carpooling to work can help you save quite a bit on gas. Even if you can get another person to share a ride to and from work with, you cut your gas costs in half. If you can find one other person, you can save a substantial amount of money by splitting costs.

Just make sure that each carpooler lives close by, so you don’t end up driving fifteen minutes out of the way to pick them up before making your way to work. You could also decide on a convenient meetup place. It will save you a lot of time and allow for easier coordination. You can also join a carpool network to find willing participants easily.

4. Work from Home (If Possible)

We understand that not all employers allow employees to work from home. But if you have it, avail it as much as possible. You could take to your employer and set a few days a week where you go into work and sort whatever in-person meetings or tasks you need to deal with, and work remotely for the rest of the week.

5. Utilize Gas-Saving Apps

Some apps watch gas-prices and compare rates at various stations near you to help you find the cheapest available options. Even it costs a couple of cents less than your usual gas station, you should consider switching. A single cent on every liter, over a year, makes for a substantial amount of money when it comes to saving money on gas, every penny counts.

6. Find Fuel-Efficient Routes

Most cars have a built-in navigation system, but you can use other tools such as Google Maps to ensure you find the shortest and faster possible route. Usually, shorter routes are more fuel-efficient. However, in some cases, they may be traffic-clogged during your regular commute hours, so you may be better off taking a slightly longer but open route to save fuel. We suggest you check for the best available route every day to avoid getting stuck in traffic and burning more gas than necessary.

7. Don’t Leave Your Car on Unnecessarily

Many people turn their car engines on for ten to fifteen minutes before they start driving the vehicle. They don’t realize that the car doesn’t need to be left on for as long as fifteen minutes, and even a minute or two can get the engine heated up enough to drive safely even in winters.

You should also ensure you turn the engine off every time you step out of the vehicle. In case you have a companion, take them with you to the shop to avoid burning extra gas by leaving the vehicle running with air conditioning or heating on.

8. Pay Cash

In general, you should avoid using your credit card unnecessarily, so you don’t have to pay interest on the bill. However, you should particularly avoid paying your gas bill with your credit card as some gas providers charge a substantial amount of money as fees for using the card. You may also end up paying more for using plastic in some places. Make sure you ask the gas provider about additional costs before you chose a payment method.

9. Know When to Refuel

You should not drive your car with the gas pump nearing empty as that can damage your fuel pump and ruin its consumption efficiency. Ensure you keep an eye on the tank and get a top-up as soon as it near the last quarter. It also helps with vehicle maintenance and prolongs vehicle life.

10. Turn Off Air-Conditioner

If the weather is nice and breezy, turn off the air-conditioner and roll down your windows. Letting the wind whip through your hair will help you feel rejuvenated and fresh. It also takes away much of the stress of long commute hours and helps keep gas consumption to a minimum.

11. Keep an Eye on the Speed

The faster you drive, the more fuel you will burn. In fact, it can increase your fuel consumption by a good fifteen to thirty percent, depending upon how fast your drive. Try to drive at a constant speed of around 60 to 70 miles per hour for optimal fuel economy. If you drive aggressively and increase and decrease your speed frequently, you will end up burning a lot more gas than necessary.

12. Claim Gas Expenses on the Vehicle

If you own a business or use your vehicle for business operations, you can claim gas expenses on your tax returns. However, there are certain rules regarding claims and deductions on taxes. You should consult a tax consultant or visit the Internal Revenue Service’s website to learn more about their terms and conditions and how to file for tax returns.

13. Buy Gas from a Wholesaler – Costco

Costco usually has cheaper rates than other gas providers in the city. You may want to look into the gas rates they offer and compare them with your regular service provider. If you find them cheaper and have a Costco seller easily accessible to you, consider switching to Costco.

Costco Gasoline
Costco Gasoline. Gasoline Station.

Concluding Note

Fuel expenses make a substantial portion of monthly costs for all car owners. In fact, many commuters avoid purchasing a car and prefer using public transport to save costs. However, with these tips to save money on gas, you can enjoy the comfort of your own vehicle without stressing about extensive monthly gas bills.

Knowing more about car batteries.

A Guide to Car Batteries

Located under the vehicle’s hood, a car battery provides the electricity to power the door locks, lights, sliding windows, and several other accessories. Most importantly, though, your car battery is pivotal for starting your vehicle. With a dead battery, your car ceases to be functional.

Often, a problem with the car battery is not easy to identify. There are times when you have to merely recharge your battery, while other instances require a replacement. However, if you know what to look for, it is not all that hard to keep tabs on your car battery. In this guide, we will help you learn more about charging, boosting, checking, and replacing the battery.

How Long Does A Car Battery Last?

There is no consensus on the length of a car battery’s life. While some people might claim that a battery rarely lasts beyond four years, others will tell you that six years is a more reasonable estimate.

The truth is, there are several factors that determine how long a car battery will last:

Climate: Extreme temperatures might cause the battery’s overall capacity to reduce.

Vibration: Vibration also negatively affects a vehicle battery’s life, and hence, you need to ensure that your battery is fastened securely under the hood and that all the bolts and brackets are in place.

The use of in-car electronics: So many in-car features require power, which ends up depleting the battery. Some of these features include headlights, windshield wipers, car stereo, AC/heater, backup cameras, and navigation.

When Should You Replace A Car Battery?

It is certainly hard to determine the health of your car battery from the outside, but there are other ways to gain a deeper insight. One of the telltale signs that something is wrong is a slow crank. If you hear your vehicle wheezing during ignition, it is a sign that there might be a problem, especially if the weather is not particularly cold.

The wheezing might be the result of a weakened alternator that is struggling to charge the battery fast enough, so the problem might not be with the battery specifically. However, there are a few checks that will help you determine if your battery needs a replacement or not.

Checking Your Car Battery for Damage:

It is a good idea to start checking your car battery more frequently if you have had it for a period of three years or more. There are two checks that you can perform – the eye test and the load test.

The eye test:

The eye test simply involves lifting the hood and performing a visual inspection. Check if there are signs of corrosion around the cell connectors or the posts that hold the battery, cracks on the sides, or the top or bottom of the battery, unusual stains, or a broken or frayed cable. If you spot any of these signs, it might be time to get a new battery.

The load test:

A load test will allow you to assess the charge and capacity. You will need a handheld voltmeter or multimeter, both of which will easily be available at any automotive or hardware store.

The load test involves the following steps:

  1. Setting the multimeter or voltmeter at 20 DC volts.
  2. Lifting the hood and matching the prongs to the black (negative) and red (positive) battery terminals.
  3. Pushing the start button (there is no need to start the vehicle yet).
  4. Checking for a reading that maintains 9.6 volts. If it reaches that mark and then drops steadily, it is a bad sign. Instantly dropping to zero is also indicative of a problem.
  5. Turning on the engine and waiting for the measurement to hit around 12.6 volts. If it is higher than 12.9 volts or lower than 12.2 volts, your car battery either requires its excess charge to be removed or needs a slow charge.
  6. To remove the excess charge, you can connect your high beam headlights.
  7. For an undercharged battery, use an electric cord with two cable jumpers with alligator clips and a plug. Connect the alligator clips to the positive and negative terminals. Remember that, in the long-term, a slow charge is more beneficial for a car battery than a fast one.

If you notice that your battery is constantly struggling to retain its charge, it is time to get a new battery.

Factors to Consider While Choosing A Car Battery:

  • Battery size:

Car batteries are segmented into group sizes which are based on the battery length, width, and height. You can ask a mechanic to help you determine your vehicle battery size or refer to the owner’s manual. Your battery should fit perfectly in the battery tray, making sure that the battery remains secure and not vulnerable to any damage.

  • Reserve capacity:

The reserve capacity is the amount of time that a car battery can function using its own power without the engine and prior to discharge. A battery with a high reserve capacity will help your car get through complicated situations such as alternator failure, non-compliant engines, or lights that are accidentally left on.

  • Power requirement:

Power requirement is measured using the Cranking Amps (CA) and the Cold Cranking Amps (CCA). Cranking Amps is the power required to start a vehicle at a temperature of zero degrees Celsius, while CAA measures the battery’s ability to start a car at a temperature of zero degrees Celsius. CCA is a useful measure for colder climates; the higher your car’s CCA, the better.

  • Maintenance:

You can either get a battery with low-maintenance or one that is maintenance-free. The latter type is normally sealed and allows the liquid electrolyte to run throughout the life of the battery, needing no replacement. Low-maintenance batteries, on the other hand, are unsealed and have caps that let the owner occasionally add distilled water.

Replacing a Car Battery:

Once you have determined that your car battery needs to be replaced, you can follow the below steps to perform the replacement by yourself:

  1. Ensure that the vehicle is not on and that the parking brakes are in place.
  2. Use your smartphone to take a picture of the battery compartment before removing it. Taking a picture will help you remember how the new battery needs to be reconnected.
  3. Start by disconnecting the negative (black) cable. Next, disconnect the positive (red) cable.
  4. Remove the battery restraint with the help of a wrench.
  5. Take out the battery. Make sure to keep it steady while lifting it up.
  6. Reverse the uninstallation steps and replace the new battery.

Remember to properly dispose of the old battery. You can take it to a store that deals in new car batteries.

To conclude, we hope that this article equipped you with some essential information about car batteries and how to work with them. To learn more about car batteries, please feel free to contact us.