Dealing with a malfunctioning mass airflow sensor (MAF) can be quite frustrating. A damaged MAF can affect the performance of your vehicle and make it risky to drive on the road. So, it is important that you get it repaired by a professional automotive repair and services company as soon as possible.
With the help of PA Auto Inspection, you can get your car running in no time.
However, if you want to do some basic troubleshooting yourself, you will need to know how a MAF sensor works.
A MAF sensor is part of your car’s electronic fuel injection system and checks the amount of air that enters the engine. A malfunctioning MAS can cause your vehicle to jerk when accelerating, your tailpipe to eject black smoke, or make your exhaust system backfire. It will also increase your fuel consumption.
MAF sensors are located between the body of the throttle and the air filter. Most vehicles have a platinum hot wire MAF sensor. The microprocessor inside the sensor is responsible for measuring the air entering the engine and maintaining the temperature of the hot wire 200 degree Fahrenheit above the air entering the engine.
The system then calculates the energy needed to maintain the sensor and send it to the powertrain control module. The PCM is responsible for controlling the injectors, thereby delivering the right amount of fuel proportionate to the airflow, which is important for the ideal performance of your engine.
Now let’s take a look at some of the major symptoms of a bad mass airflow sensor.
Let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of a malfunctioning sensor.
The engine control unit is responsible for the full-time monitoring of all the sensors in your car engine to ensure everything is working as it should. If even a single sensor sends a wrong signal, it will illuminate the check engine light.
If you have a malfunctioning MAF sensor, the check engine light will turn on as well.
A faulty MAF sensor will result in a less-than-ideal air fuel mixture, which can cause problems in your car. A car that is unable to accelerate fully may be due to an issue with the air-fuel mixture.
A faulty air-fuel mixture can also make your ride jerky, particularly when you try to accelerate. This is caused by an air-fuel mixture that is “too lean,” which does not provide your car the proper amount of food it needs to accelerate quickly and smoothly.
On the other hand, if the air-fuel mixture is rich, or if there is too much fuel in comparison with the air, it can result in rough idling, increased fuel consumption, and black smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe.
If you notice that your car doesn’t start easily in the mornings, it may be due to a bad MAF sensor. Car engines are sensitive to the right proportion of fuel and air in the engine during the start moment. If the air-fuel mixture is too rich or too lean, your car may not start at all or crank longer.
Your engine is in a sensitive situation when your car is idle. This is the reason why many people notice problems with their ignition or airflow when the vehicle is idle.
If you notice that your idle has become tough or you are liable to stall, there may be a chance that your MAF sensor is malfunctioning.
If one or more of your vehicle’s cylinders fail in combusting the fuel, it can result in misfires. To burn the fuel efficiently, the engine needs the correct air-fuel mixture, a combustion, compression, and exhaust. Hence, if the air-fuel mixture is too rich or too lean, it may cause one or more of the cylinders to not ignite, and this will cause an engine to misfire.
The wrong air-fuel mixture can lead to your fuel consumption either going up and down.
Although it may appear to be a good thing that your fuel consumption is going down, it is not since it can damage your engine and result in an expensive repair.
Now that you have some idea of what a mass airflow sensor does and some of its malfunctioning systems, let us understand how you can test the sensor.
A lot of times, you will find that a malfunctioning mass airflow sensor is due to an accumulation of dirt and debris on the sensor head. This means the sensor is unable to take the correct readings and result in the poor performance of the sensor.
If this is the reason, then you can easily clean the MAF sensor. Simply remove the sensor head from the MAF system and clean it with an electronic cleaner or a special cleaner made for the sensor.
Once that is done, your sensor will start working just fine.
Depending on the make and model of your car and labor associated with it, it can cost you anywhere between $140 and $550 to replace an MAF sensor. Even the sensor alone is quite expensive and can go easily up to $400 alone.
Fortunately, replacing an MAF sensor is quite easy and can be done within 10 minutes for most car models.
You can easily replace an MAF sensor if you know basic car repair skills. However, keep in mind that you need to be sure that you have replaced the sensor the right way. If you are unsure of your ability to DIY this, we strongly recommend you hire the services of an experienced auto repair service rather than make a mistake.
Can You Drive Your Car with a Bad Mass airflow Sensor?
A malfunctioning mass airflow sensor can cause a lot of issues for your car engine so it is not a good idea – or a safe one – to drive with it. However, if you do not detect any serious issues with your engine and it seems to be running fine, you can drive your car slowly and carefully to an experienced auto service without incident.
If your car has a problem with its MAF sensor, PA Auto Inspection can help you with that. Just book an appointment with us and schedule our services by visiting www.paautoinspection.com or calling (215) 259-7500.
Ensuring your car’s maintenance is important all year around. However, it becomes even more essential when the seasons change and the condition of your car components and the road changes with them.
At PA Auto Inspection, our priority is the safety of you and your family on the road. To help keep your vehicle running smoothly with the changing season, we have come up with a list of maintenance tips for you.
Tires are one of the most crucial parts of seasonal maintenance because they change as the seasons change. As the only part of your car that is in contact with the road, tire maintenance is crucial for your safety.
Whether you choose all-season tires for your car or like to rotate between summer and winter tires, you need to ensure that everything lines up well to ensure a smooth driving experience.
It is a good idea to roll on summer tires as the warmer season comes as they are designed with tougher and harder rubber compounds. These tires can withstand hot temperatures and can also offer excellent road grip, handling, and efficiency when driving.
During the cold season, you may consider winter tires, which are made of softer rubber and have a more aggressive pattern for better traction and non-skidding ability. Depending on how and where you drive, you might consider a range of tires like snow tires, studded tires, high-traction tires, and tire chains.
In addition, during the winter conditions, it is especially important that you keep your tires inflated as the cold can result in reduced air pressure in the tire. Your tires also need to be properly inflated if you want to drive them on snowy, icy, or slick roads.
Aside from the change of tires, there are other considerations that are important for tire maintenance. These include regular rotation and alignment. Over time, the treads on your tire will wear them, typically more on one side than the other, which can lead to misalignment, uneven driving, and difficulty in steering. By rotating your tires, you can ensure an even wear, extend the life of your tires, and make sure your vehicle runs smoothly.
Changing your oil and oil filter at the right intervals is one of the best ways to keep your engine up and running. You can find out when you should change the oil and oil filter in your car through your owner’s manual.
Summer and spring seasons can result in excessive dust and debris in your vehicle. Dusty roads, insects, mud, and other environmental factors can impact the health of your car more intensely than in the cooler seasons. Hence, this makes it an important time for an oil change.
Your oil gets dirty over time; however, in the summer season, the increased heat can also result in faster fluid depletion in your vehicle. If you do not change your oil about twice a year it can make it sticky and clumpy, and it will be unable to start your car.
Neglecting to change your oil engine can lead to higher fuel consumption, poor performance of the engine, and in the long run, severe damage to the engine, which is very expensive to repair or replace.
It is imperative that you keep an eye on your car’s other fluids regularly as well. Low or dirty vehicle fluid can lead to car breakdown, which can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere.
When temperatures begin to drop, it is important that you check the antifreeze mixture in the cooling system with the help of a hydrometer or test strips. Keep in mind that you only remove the cooling system’s cap when the engine is cool or it can lead to severe burns.
Typically, your cooling system should consist of 50% water and 50% antifreeze. An antifreeze blend that is too lean can cause your cooling system or engine to freeze, which may lead to damage to important parts like the engine block, which can be very expensive to repair.
Aside from the antifreeze, you should also check other fluid levels and quality, including the brake fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid. Many vehicles also have fluids that need to be checked beneath the car, like the differential fluid. If you have the knowledge, you can check these fluids yourself; otherwise, an auto service can do it for you.
The rain season can have a big impact on your car. During the rainy season, you may notice that your windshield wiper needs to be changed or that your hazard lights are not running properly.
There is also a risk that the moisture can seep into odd places in your car, creating a health hazard for you and your family. Steering wheels, seats, and gear knobs are very susceptible to mold formation so it is important that you regularly clean your car and keep it dry.
Proper air conditioning inside your car can help regulate the temperature and prevent mold and mildew growth. You should also ensure that your defogger is working perfectly and all the electrical components of your car are free from rainwater.
Externally, you should keep an eye on the body of your car, look for signs of rust formation, and make sure your coat of paint is intact.
Ice and snow can result in an increased risk of skidding so you need to make sure your brakes are in tip-top condition during the winter season. When the ice melts, it can add extra moisture to your brake fluid, which can lead to slow brake responsiveness and increased time for the vehicle to fully stop. However, you can prevent this by scheduling a check in with an auto repair service and getting the brake pads, drum, rotor, and caliper checked out.
If you have not changed your brake pads in a while, it is a good idea to do so now so that you have peace of mind that your car will come to a clean stop when you brake.
Brake maintenance is just as important during the summer season as well since hot roads and wet roads both require excellent braking power. In addition, the hot weather can further add stress to your braking system.
To ensure everything is right with your brakes, you need to get your pads inspected to check whether they can withstand the increased wear and dissipate heat well. Also get your drums and rotors checked to ensure they have the right thickness.
When the seasons change, you want to drive in a vehicle that can regulate the temperature the right way. So whether you are expecting a heatwave or a cold snap, the changing of the seasons is a good time to get your car’s heating and cooling systems inspected.
It can be very frustrating to hop into a car that has turned into a furnace and turn the air conditioning on, only to find warm air blowing on your face. It is also important to get your fans, heaters, and front and rear windshield defoggers checked in anticipation of the winter season.
Our mechanic can do a thorough visual inspection, check for any leaks or other issues in the vents, and make some tweaks to ensure your car remains comfortable in all seasons.
It can be easy to forget the maintenance of your battery, but if you don’t pay attention to it, you will never be able to start your car.
Summer is an excellent time to make sure your battery terminals are clean and rust-free. If you see some corrosion around the terminal posts or cable ends, it is best to remove them. You can also apply dielectric grease to the terminals to ensure it connects well with the cable and it does not corrode.
A strong battery is even more crucial in the winter season since the cold will slow down the chemical reaction in the battery. That is why it is important to check the battery and its terminal connections before the cold rolls in. If your battery is over two years old and performs poorly in moderately cold temperatures, you need to get it tested. To be completely safe, it is a good idea to replace the battery altogether.
Not sure which part of your car needs seasonal maintenance? A full tune-up is an excellent way to get peace of mind before the weather changes. Visit www.paautoinspection.com today or schedule a maintenance appointment with us by calling (215) 259-7500 today. See the difference in the performance of your car this season.
Preventative maintenance and care is something that is applicable in pretty much any aspect of our lives. However, when it comes to vehicles, we often ignore this concept. Some vehicle owners think that if the car is working fine, it does not require any maintenance. Well, the truth is that your car requires maintenance so that it can continue to function smoothly.
Let us put it this way: your doctor tells you that you are prone to getting a clogged artery, and in order to prevent that, you must make sure to do a half-hour walk every day. Now, would you rather do the walking, or wait until you have to be rushed to the operation theater with your life hanging in the balance?
Similarly, car regular preventative maintenance allows you to keep your car in the best possible condition and prevent any major issues ‘down the road’. In this blog, we will be discussing some of the reasons that preventative maintenance is important for used cars.
Preventative vehicle maintenance is not just restricted to the replacement of filters, belts, and spark plugs – although these are definitely vital in ensuring the smooth functioning of your car.
However, beyond that, preventative care allows your mechanic an opportunity to search for any other current or potential problems.
Often, minor issues do not make themselves noticeable. However, a capable professional knows exactly what to look for and dig out these minor problems before they become major inconveniences.
When compared to the repair or replacement of damaged parts, preventative maintenance is quite inexpensive. Naturally, then, you should opt for the route that will prove more cost-effective over the long-term. In other words, prevention is indeed better than cure. When you adhere to regular car maintenance, you reduce the chances of major problems that could cost you a lot more money.
For instance, if you regularly get your tires aligned and rotated, the procedure would cost you somewhere between $150-200. On the flipside, if you neglect the deteriorating condition of your tires, you would eventually have to get them replaced prematurely – an expense of approximately $1,000.
Similarly, regular oil changes can keep the engine in optimal health and maximize its useful life, while tune-ups will make sure that the electrical components stay in top shape.
Consistent vehicle maintenance makes sure that every part of your car is operating in the manner that it should, which makes the car safer for you to drive. In other words, preventative care reduces the chances of vehicle breakdowns.
As we mentioned, routine maintenance allows the mechanic to detect any systems vulnerable to future problems and address those prospective problems before they materialize.
During winters, your car will probably require extra maintenance, especially if you drive around any icy terrains or roads.
In addition, maintenance does not only enhance your safety, but also of other drivers and pedestrians.
Routine vehicle maintenances are far simpler for mechanics to deal with – especially if they have been scheduled in advance. This means that you will be able to get the procedures completed quickly without hampering your daily routine.
On the other hand, if you bring your vehicle to the mechanic only after you have had a major problem, there is a fair chance that you and your vehicle will have to remain separated for a great deal more time.
Complex vehicle repairs can often take many hours or days to execute. At times, specialty parts have to be specifically ordered, which brings the entire repairing process to a halt.
So, you will either have to manage in the absence of your car, or will need to rent one (which will further add to your expenses).
Not only is routine maintenance more efficient, but it also offers you more control. You can decide when to take your car in for its routine care as it is not an urgent requirement.
At the start of this blog, we compared a vehicle to a human being – this is because, just like us humans, cars also have lives. And, as is the case with humans, the more we care about the health of our vehicles, the fewer the problems we will have to endure. So, as long as your car is enjoying regular maintenance and care, it will likely remain healthy.
According to many consumer reports, the average life of a vehicle spans 150,000 miles or eight years. There are plenty of well-built car models that can easily exceed this limit. However, you will only to able enjoy maximum value if you commit to your vehicle’s maintenance and care.
The more you care for your car, the more your car will return the favor. For instance, a well-maintained car will be extremely efficient in fuel consumption and will also minimize damage to the environment.
On the other hand, failure to get the vehicle regularly maintained or air-filters or motor oil replaced can lead to lower gas mileage. In other words, your car will break down more frequently and affect the engine. Consequently, you will need to fill the gas tank up more frequently, leading to loss of both money and time.
So, in order to avoid such a situation, you need to stick to your vehicle maintenance schedules. For the precise mileage value for your vehicle, you can refer to the car’s owner’s manual. Keep in mind that, as long as the vehicle is taken care of, the engine will be able to perform all its vital functions without stressing itself out.
Maintaining your vehicle will allow you to retain a greater proportion of its value. If you want to sell your car off in the future, you are bound to get a better price if it is in good condition.
A savvy used-car purchaser will be aware that the better the condition of the vehicle, the lower the chances of expensive problems in the future.
You cannot quite describe the ease of mind that comes with driving a car that you know you can depend on. As long as you are caring for your car in the way you should, you will be able to drive with safety and confidence.
To sum up, preventative maintenance helps you maintain and even improve your vehicle’s functioning and safety, saves you money, and offers tremendous comfort and peace of mind.
To learn more about preventative vehicle maintenance or to schedule a maintenance session for your car, please feel free to reach out to us.
Here are a few resources that may be helpful:
If this is the first time you have gotten involved in a vehicle accident, you might have feelings of bewilderment regarding the collision repair process. Even though many customers are only interested in the ultimate result and do not really concern themselves with the technicalities involved, we believe that it is essential for every customer to understand at least the basics of the collision repair process.
Apart from eliminating a certain amount of mystery surrounding this process, having knowledge about the collision repair job allows you to better understand the labor, time, and overall costs that go into the restoration of a damaged car.
Although the specifics can and usually will vary between repair shops, there are certain fundamental steps involved in pretty much every repair process – and in this blog, we will be discussing those steps.
As you would have expected, the repair process will initiate with the vehicle inspection. This inspection is performed by estimators and will take place at the car body shop that will be used for the repairs. Once the paperwork concludes and the inspection results are available, the estimator will take pictures of your car. Next, all vital information shall be communicated to you as well as to your insurance company.
During the disassembling step, the insurance provider has the option for requesting a vehicle teardown. This request is made to ensure that every bit of damage has been correctly documented, as well as to see if the vehicle needs a repair. After you and your insurance company have authorized the car repair, your chosen body shop can go ahead and place orders for all necessary vehicle parts.
During the repairs, the car body shop will make use of a measuring system that will analyze the car and ensure that it is restored to its original, pre-accident condition. Naturally, this is an essential step, since it will make sure that there are no structural issues with the frame of your vehicle. If required, suspension repairs including wheel alignment shall also be performed. Every mechanical repair needs to be performed alongside the vehicle’s structural repairs.
This is an essential step in every vehicle refinishing process. The car body shop will be responsible for the preparation painting panels, before they prime and seal. This improves adhesion during the application of top colors and the supplementary clear coating.
In this section of the process, every final molding and detailed piece is restored to your vehicle. During reassembling, the personnel will also assess the various systems in your car. Upon reaching this stage, you can be assured that your car is pretty much repaired, and will soon be delivered to you.
Once the parts have been completely reinstalled, your vehicle will be thoroughly washed and get its interior cleaned. The car surface will be cleaned, while the vehicle’s body paint will undergo polishing. Alongside physically inspecting the vehicle, the personnel at the body shop will also be test driving the car. The test drive is to ensure that the vehicle is free of any driving problems associated with the newly repaired parts.
After performing the quality control assessment, the collision repair process reaches its final stage. You will be requested to come to the vehicle body shop and collect your repaired vehicle. At this point, you will be receiving all the paperwork, along with a detailed explanation regarding the billing. Once this is done, you can drive home in your car that has been restored to precisely how it was before you met the unfortunate accident.
Running into accidents is always traumatic, regardless of the intensity of the crash. However, once you have recovered from the mental trauma, you need to focus on getting your car repaired. If you have read this guide thus far, you are now aware of the essential steps that will be involved in the car repairing process. However, you also want to make sure that you find a repair shop that will effectively and efficiently perform all the above steps, and do a comprehensive and honest job – and if you do the things mentioned in this section while finding a collision repair shop, you will be just fine.
We strongly recommend seeking recommendations from people you know before deciding on a shop for your vehicle repairs. So, if you are aware of people who have tried out certain body shops, ask them about the service and their experience. Else, you can always seek assistance from the internet and look up what customers are saying about different shops.
The shops present at pretty much every corner are drastically different to the ones that have a mere few locations. While cost is an essential factor, you also need to consider other things. For instance, a consolidator has high overhead costs, and is usually committed to reaching their gross profit objectives. In other words, they might be concerned with only their profit figure, and might not give your vehicle the best-possible treatment. This allows them to get in the maximum possible number of cars, allowing them to cover their costs and make a healthy little profit on top. Naturally, you must consider and remember this while deciding.
With an independent shop, you will often find the owner present there. Since the owner is the primary decision-maker, they will be able to offer good deals, extra assistance, and a lot of other benefits that a shop worker in a consolidated shop might not have to offer.
There are plenty of situations in which you will be able to get a free repair estimate from a body shop. However, you must not base your decision on that single estimate, and put in the effort to get more. In addition, learn more about the body shops that you are considering, including the quality of the parts and their work. Instead of making a decision based solely on cost, integrate all of these factors and come to a more informed decision.
Remember that not every repair shop offers a warranty for the work that they do. Hence, it is important for you to ensure that your chosen repair shop comes with a work warranty, before you initiate the repair process. If a shop offers lifetime warranty, you can be assured that it is confident in the work that it does.
We understand that getting your vehicle repaired after an accident can be immensely overwhelming. This is why we have prepared this guide that we hope will be able to alleviate some of stress and uncertainty pertaining to the collision repair process.
It’s safe to say no one would purchase a house without examining it – not even if the current house-owner claimed that everything about the property is perfect and in order.
Why? Mainly because a lot of money is involved in a house purchase, and there are several things that might be wrong and fixing them could cost you extra.
For a lot of people, a vehicle is their life’s second-most expensive purchase and one that is highly complex. Naturally, a car is made up of numerous parts, any of which might require repair, and many of which might affect your and the car’s safety.
This is why a pre-purchase car inspection is not just essential, but also much more comprehensive than we think. Hence, if you are not an expert in the vehicle department, it is best to hire a trusted automotive technician who can conduct a thorough examination of the car before you pull out your checkbook.
The entire examination process takes at least 45 minutes, and will normally include all of the following:
This feels like a lot, and probably because it is. As a matter of fact, a comprehensive vehicle examination must involve approximately 200 checkpoints. While searching for a car, you are probably considering factors, such as model, make, color, price, stereo, door numbers, and so on. In other words, the tangible aspects of the vehicle are what attract you to it. However, the elements that determine the success or failure of your car purchase are often intangible in intangible, hidden, and unknown. At the end of the day, the color and hood of your vehicle are not of much use if it cannot safely take you from one point to another.
Now that you know exactly what an exhaustive vehicle inspection entails, the next question is how you can schedule a vehicle inspection prior to closing the deal. In most cases, car sellers allow potential customers to take the car and get it inspected. If you find your prospective seller declining or hesitating at your request for an inspection, you should see this as a red flag and turn to another seller.
Ideally, you should be able to borrow your chosen vehicle from the dealer or seller, arrange an inspection, and drive the vehicle off to where the inspection has been scheduled. If your seller is not allowing you to take the car by yourself, you could always ask them to accompany you to the inspection spot. You could also consider mobile inspection, although such inspections are not very comprehensive, since they do not involve lifting the car to examine the vehicle’s ball bearings and any other components present underneath or for any leakages.
Dealers often avoid reporting any problems with their cars. Getting any issues repaired would cost them money, and it is obviously in their best interest that this money is taken out from your pocket instead of from theirs. This means that, regardless of how much the dealer tries to assure you about the flawlessness of their car, do NOT take them at their word.
Instead, you must find an independent inspector – ideally someone whose primary profession is car inspection. A lot of repair shops emphasize less on inspections and more on repairs. The mechanics working at such shops do not enjoy examining vehicles, and will therefore try to get it done as quickly and shallowly as possible. For this reason, you must find an inspector possessing a trained and keen eye, and is fully focused on their task. Make sure that the vehicle is lifted during the examination, and do not forget test driving it once the examination is over. No matter what anyone says, there is absolutely no shortcut when it comes to vehicle inspection.
Ideally, you should get an online report that also contains pictures. In the old days, an inspection report would be a mere paper lined with various checkmarks. Thankfully, in the modern era, the automotive industry, like many others, prioritize transparency over everything else. Hence, today, there is nothing stopping you from obtaining a high-quality inspection report from an equally high-quality inspection company.
A key reason that we recommend pre-purchase inspections is that they allow you to decide a fair vehicle price based on the basis of its actual condition. More often than not, dealers will quote prices that are higher than the car’s actual worth.
Inspection carried out by a capable and experienced inspector lets you determine the vehicle’s current state. With a thorough assessment, you can learn if what you are paying for the car is really worth it, and if the car will even last you enough to make the investment worthwhile.
Learning the actual vehicle value can fetch you a better final deal, since you will now not be lured into overpaying.
If the vehicle inspection reveals multiple issues, you can use the inspection report to leverage a lower price. The amount that you will be paying for prospective repairs is also a crucial factor in determining a vehicle’s value. If the seller declines your best offer, you can simply walk away with the satisfaction that you avoided a potential rip off.
Alongside repairs, you must also consider maintenance costs during the purchase of a used vehicle. Even if the vehicle is operating fine during the negotiation process, remember that worn-out oil filters, brake pads or tires will eventually require replacements.
Once again, a professional inspector can give you a fair idea about the amount that you will be spending on a vehicle’s maintenance.
While even the most thorough of inspections cannot promise to identify every flaw in a vehicle, getting the car looked at by a trained inspector can enable you to avoid the most serious problems. Spending a few dollars and a couple of hours of your time on inspection is certainly worth it, especially when you consider that you will eventually be paying several thousand dollars for the car. While you concentrate on the aesthetic aspects of the vehicle, let a trained inspector focus on the mechanical nitty-gritty. If your inspector offer warranties on their findings, that is even better.
A car’s tires are vital parts that have direct interactions with roads. Tires are important for a vehicle’s safety, handling, ride, and braking. To ensure that your car’s tires are performing optimally, they need to have the right air pressure, balance, and tread depth, along with proper alignment.
To ensure your safety – as well as the safety of your vehicle investment –it is imperative that you conduct regular assessments of your tires. Ideally, you should perform a tire inspection at least once a month. If you come across debris or potholes on roads, reside in a cold area or use your car for covering long distances on a regular basis, then your tire assessments should be even more frequent.
It is also important to examine your tires before going off on a lengthy trip. Remember that the more frequent the tire inspections, the higher the chances that you will nab and fix a minor problem – such as an attached nail – before it becomes a major, time-consuming and expensive issue.
Inadequate maintenance often causes tires to wear out prematurely, leading to more frequent blowouts and flat tires. The tire itself is not the only factor that can impact a tire’s performance and condition – poor wheel alignment and damaged suspension parts, for example, can both lead to lower tire performance and quicker wear and tear.
Excessive air pressure means that a tire’s middle portion comes into most contact with the road. As a result, the central tread is subject to greater wear, compared to the edges of the tire.
If the air pressure is too little, it can cause the outer edges of the tire to come into contact with the road. As a result, the wear is greater on the edges, compared to the central tread.
If tread wear is affecting only a single tire edge, this is an indication that your wheels are misaligned.
Such tread wear is also referred to as ‘cupping’ and what it indicates is poor wheel balance or that you might need to replace your suspension components, such as shock absorbers.
This could indicate separation between the tire carcass belts.
If you notice any thumping noises or sense vibrations, you could be dealing with a tire that has lost its balance, a tire tread with a flat section because of a panic stop that locked the wheels or tires with belts that have been separated.
If you are at a steady driving speed and notice a kind of pull to a particular side, it could indicate that the tire is either damaged or underinflated on the side to which the car is being pulled. In some cases, this pull could also reflect wheel misalignments or brake problems.
Ensuring that your tires remain sufficiently inflated is one of the simplest ways of maintaining decent gas mileage and good tire life. Use a decent gauge to assess your tire pressure on at least a monthly basis – make sure that you use a gauge that provides pressure readings in PSI (Pounds Per Stick).
The different types of pressure gauges that you will probably find at an auto parts store, are:
Dial and digital designs have the dual advantage of higher accuracy and ease of reading, although a quality stick or pen gauge should also get the job done. Remember that the gauges that you find at gas station hoses are usually abused and, therefore, frequently inaccurate.
Since the recommended pressures are provided for tires that are cold, you should make sure to assess the pressure at an ambient temperature and before you have driven the vehicle. If you check the pressure while your tires are warm, you could end up with readings that are as high as 5 PSI above the recommended level of pressure. To check the recommended level of pressure for your vehicle tires, you can either go through the owner’s manual for the car, or check the information decal that is attached to the jamb of the driver’s door. If you have an older vehicle, you will probably find the decal inside your car’s fuel-filler door or glove box.
There are a few maintenance procedures related to tires and those procedures should ideally be performed by professionals, since they demand special knowledge and tools. However, being aware of those procedures will help increase your confidence during the maintenance process.
Remember that the rear and front tires of any vehicle do not operate at identical loads and have their distinct braking and steering functions. This means that the wear patterns for your vehicle’s tires are usually unequal. To enjoy maximum tire life and performance, you need to rotate the car tires. For information regarding mileage recommendations, go through the owner manual for your vehicle. Generally, a tire rotation should be performed after every 6,000 to 7,000 miles.
Tires that are properly balanced reduce the chances of uneven wear and lead to greater performance and longer tire life. The wheels of balanced tires contain small weights that limit tire vibration during turning. You also need to get your tires balanced every time you remove them from their wheels, such as during puncture repairs.
Tires are, in many ways, the foundation of your car, and a foundation that is poor is bound to cause a wide range of problems. Therefore, it is important that you stay two steps ahead as far as your car tire maintenance and safety are concerned.
Here are a few resources that may be helpful:
For some, driving is a fun way to pass the time; for others, it is a mode for transportation to and from work on a daily basis, while for many it’s a little bit of both. Regardless of the reason why you bought a car, paying the dealership and driving your car from the lot is not the end of your responsibilities. We are all aware of the adverse effects of global warming, and while it’s not fair to put the blame on your sedan that’s parked outside, research shows that vehicle emissions do contribute to not just ambient air pollution, but also environmental health concerns.
While the smoke that’s being coughed up by your vehicle’s exhaust might look like harmless smoke – it is actually a combination of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides, when if left unchecked, can do a number on the environment and your vehicle. This is mainly because a larger volume of these gasses being emitted from your vehicle means that there’s an issue with the engine that needs to be addressed.
According to the US VIO Vehicle Registration Statistics, there are around 287 million vehicles on the road in the US today, so it’s safe to say that the number of gas-guzzling vehicles is only going to rise (not just in the US, around the world). This is where car emissions testing comes in. Here, we are going to take a quick look at all you need to know about car safety and emissions testing to make sure that your vehicle is safe while on the road, not just for the environment, but also for its own longevity.
Many US states require vehicle owners to carry out safety and emissions inspections, but surprisingly, there are many folks who still do not know what is a car safety inspection and emissions inspection. It goes without saying that you are going to need a qualified mechanic to perform these inspections, which means you will have to your car to a mechanic’s shop that has a mechanic who is certified to carry out a thorough and accurate car safety inspection and emissions inspection. Once you’re at the mechanic’s shop, you can expect the following:
When you want a car safety inspection for your vehicle, the mechanic will check a number of different components and features of your car thoroughly before assessing whether or not each component is performing at an optimal level. Some of the components that a mechanic will inspect during a car safety inspection include, but aren’t limited to the bulbs, reflectors and lamps, brakes, wheels and tires, mirrors, windshield wipers, exhaust system, steering wheel, horn, seat belts, gas caps, and window coating or tinting if you have any.
During the car safety inspection, if the mechanic notices any issues, he will make a recommendation on whether that particular part or component needs to be replaced or repaired. It is essential to follow the instructions of the mechanic for not only your safety but also the safety of your passengers. Once the car safety inspection has been passed successfully the mechanic will place a sticker on the car’s window, indicating that your vehicle is safe for the road. This sticker will come in handy for keeping law enforcement from stopping your vehicle if they suspect car safety issues.
As the name implies, an emissions inspection is going to check the amount of emissions that are coming out of the exhaust. The state laws on emissions inspections vary, but it is recommended to get an emissions inspection once every year to protect the environment and promote better air quality. Just like with a car safety inspection, for the emissions inspection, you will have to go to a certified mechanic who will carry out the emissions inspection at their workshop. During a regular emissions inspection, the mechanic is going to inspect the exhaust system for any signs of high and unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide and other dangerous gasses.
Some of the main reasons why cars tend to fail the emissions inspection include, but aren’t limited to; a faulty oxygen sensor, faulty carburetor or fuel injection unit, a vacuum or injector leak, malfunctioned air injection system, or a defective gas cap or valve. Any of these problems in your car can result in unusually higher amounts of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons being released by the car’s exhaust.
This could also include what is called a ‘Second Generation On-Board Diagnostics Test,’ which basically checks whether or not the onboard computer is functioning properly. This test is mostly required for a vehicle older than 1996. Also, a ‘Single Idle Speed Test’ may also be performed by the mechanic for vehicles that were manufactured between 1976 and 1980. The test measures the vehicle’s emissions while the car is idle.
Both the car safety inspection and emissions inspection, although they may vary from state to state, ensure that the driver and passengers are safe in a car and that the exhaust is having a minimal effect on the environment.
The state law on vehicle emissions varies, depending on the state. For instance, some states, such as the states of Washington, Ohio, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Mexico, Connecticut, Maryland, and Delaware require vehicle owners to get an emissions test every 2 years.
States such as New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Nevada, Maine, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Georgia are all known to have strict car safety and emissions inspection laws that require annual inspections. While other states, such as, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Rhode Island, and California use a combination of an emissions inspection and a safety inspection that’s required under the law every two years.
Depending on which state you live in, vehicle owners may also be required to have a safety and emissions inspection when the car crosses 4, 8, or 10 years, or on an annual basis for older cars. This is why it is best to do some research on the vehicle laws in the state in which you live to find out more about the laws governing car safety and emissions inspections.
The good news is, there are many after-market devices that can be attached to the tailpipe of your car and can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 12%. However, nothing beats emissions testing once in a while that can help determine the level of air pollutants that are being emitted from the exhaust of your car. To find out more on the importance of car safety and emissions inspections visit Pa Auto Inspection today.
At the most basic level, the ability to fulfill energy demands is what governs prosperity in the world. History is a testament to this fact, considering the number of civilizations that failed because of energy depletion. Plus, the discovery of fossil fuels greatly accelerated industrial development, advanced technology, and infrastructure, and increased the standard of living across the world. It wasn’t until much later that we realized that it too would deplete one day. Countless wars have been fought over oil, all because regions across the world depend on it for meeting their energy demands and growth before reserves run out.
As a solution, we turn our eyes towards biofuels. A source of renewable energy with the potential to change the way we look at fuel. Let’s take a closer look at what it is and how it can benefit our primary area of consumption – fuel for vehicles.
Fuel is essentially an energy carrier. They store energy in chemical form. The energy is released and utilized normally after combustion converts it to heat energy, the most primordial form of energy. It can then be used as fuel for heating, generating power, and run machinery.
What distinguishes biofuels from fossil fuels is that they’re derived from organic sources like animal and plant wastes. In contrast, fossil fuels are energy stores as a result of natural geothermal processes within the Earth’s crust. They take millions of years to manifest useful fuels like oil, natural gas, and coal. Additionally, unlike fossil fuels, Biofuels are mostly carbon neutral. Meaning, the carbon released during their consumption is less than or equal to the carbon captured during their growth stage.
The concept of biofuels is not a new one. In fact, it was the primary source of energy before the discovery of fossil fuels. We used wood as a source of fuel way before we started using coal. However, it was normally not grown for use as fuel. You can still see remnants of primary biofuel usage in the lumber industry.
Primary biofuels are unprocessed ones. Fuels like wood can be harvested quickly and easily and burned to release energy. Though it is a renewable source, harvesting wood as a cash crop cannot match the rate at which energy demands are increasing. As a result, we have to suffer large-scale deforestation, a carbon-positive process. Moreover, wood cannot be utilized in our vehicles. To match this growing need, we have to turn our attention towards secondary biofuels.
Secondary biofuels are where it’s at. These are derivative products of plant-based raw materials that output refined fuels. The good thing about secondary biofuels is that they result in fuel mixtures that can already be integrated with our transport industry’s infrastructure.
The use of next-generation biofuels that are currently being researched will allow us to make the process more efficient, resulting in a more sustainable process of production and delivery. Below are some biofuels that have been around for a while and are already being utilized in vehicles.
Bioethanol is the most abundantly used biofuel. There are two main centers around the world that produce Bioethanol, the United States and Brazil; however, the process is more or less the same.
It is essentially brewing a sugar by fermentation, a biochemical process that alters the chemical properties of sugars in the presence of yeast such that it produces ethanol. Much like brewing alcohol for consumption. However, it is normally denatured with other compounds, like methanol, which makes it unfit for drinking.
Brazil is the world leader in producing bioethanol, owing to its vast sugar cane crops. That’s primarily due to the fact that Brazil required vehicles sold in the country to be FlexFuel vehicles (FFVs) since 2003. These vehicles run on a blend of 85% gasoline and 15% ethanol, marketed as E85 fuel. Soon after, car manufacturers across the world started producing models that could hold up to this standard.
The US primarily uses corn sugar as a raw material for producing ethanol for fuel; however, the industry is still in debate whether the production process is energy negative or not. Meaning more energy is required to produce bioethanol from corn than the fuel releases. So why is it being produced like this? The most likely answer point towards government subsidies that protect farmers and millions of those who are employed in the industry. Plus, the carbon-negative process allows us to rely less on fossil fuels and move towards a sustainable future.
To see if your vehicle can run on E85 fuels, you’ll have to look at its vehicle identification number (VIN). The eight characters in the 17 digit VIN provides this indication. It is normally located on the front of the engine block, front of the car frame beneath the hood, in the rear wheel well or under the spare tire, and inside the driver side door jamb or doorpost. Some vehicles also come with a sticker inside the fuel door covers that indicate their FlexFuel capabilities.
Another problem with using agricultural feedstock for fuel production fails to account for the land usage and food costs that come with it. As fuel demand rises, arable land for crops intended for food will be converted to farmlands for fuel. Cellulosic ethanol provides a solution to this problem. It is a second-generation biofuel that produces ethanol by the same process but using agricultural waste like bagasse, wood, grass, and inedible plant parts.
Using cellulosic ethanol dampens the effect on the human food chain while reaping the benefits of a carbon-negative fuel. Agricultural waste normally ends up wasted in landfills or dried for usage as a primary fuel. By converting it into ethanol, it can be utilized for a wider market.
A huge chunk of the transport industry, particularly logistic service vehicles like lorries and freight trains, rely on diesel as a primary fuel. However, is one of the most polluting fuel, producing a higher percentage of oxides of nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon.
Biodiesel is the answer to substituting diesel-based petroleum products. First-generation biodiesel is produced using the oils extracted from plants. Even waste vegetable oil from the fast-food industry can be utilized to make biodiesel. Like ethanol, it too is blended (normally 20%) but can also be used in its pure form.
The chemical process that converts oils to biodiesel is called transesterification. The process involves reacting oils with alcohol in the presence of a catalyst. Pure biodiesel is obtained, as well as glycerin – a by-product that can be utilized in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
Second-generation biodiesel is looking towards culturing microorganisms, like algae, that contain a high concentration of oil reserves relative to their weight. Algae are also photosynthesizing organisms, thereby offsetting the carbon in the environment as well as exhibiting the potential to produce biodiesel on a large scale.
Biogas is perhaps the least used fuel for transportation; however, it has the largest impact on climate change if utilized. The trouble with biogas is that it is produced as a natural by-product of degradation. As a result, landfills and animal waste contribute towards producing its main component, methane, in large quantities. Methane, a greenhouse gas, approximately 40 times more potent at warming the Earth than carbon dioxide, escapes into the atmosphere.
In order to mitigate its impact, a better alternative would be to collect it and utilize it as fuel for combustion. Buses that run on biogas are already being experimented with in parts of Europe by utilizing biogas produced via digesters near cattle farms.
It can be collected by letting natural bacteria aid in its degradation in an anaerobic environment. The reason it hasn’t gained mass popularity is due to the process being slow and the rate of production requiring immense investment for scalability. Plus, its mass adoption will require a drastic change in infrastructure not just on fuel stations but also within cars. Not to mention the safety requirements one needs to adhere to when having a pressurized cylinder in your car.
Your car’s brakes are one of the most important systems, yet brake parts wear out regularly. As part of seasonal auto maintenance, learn simple ways to inspect your auto brake system for worn parts and troubleshoot any problems so you can stay safe on the road.
When brakes are in good condition, they operate well without making noises, like squealing. You can stop easily without needing to press the brake pedal to the floor.
If your brakes make a grinding noise when you press the pedal, they are seriously worn. In this case, skip the troubleshooting and head straight to the auto repair shop.
When your brakes feel spongy or soft, or when you hear other noises while braking, troubleshoot the issue.
First, check your car’s brake fluid container. Low levels of brake fluid can cause braking problems. By topping off the fluid levels, you may be able to fix the problem.
If things still aren’t right, try a test drive. As you drive down the street, pump the brake pedal a couple of times. This may fix the issue.
If pumping the brake pedal doesn’t resolve it, drive down the block and come to a full stop. Pay attention to how long it takes the car to stop. Listen for brake noises and watch for a vibrating steering wheel or a drift when you brake. Once you can describe the symptoms, take your car to the mechanic, let them know what you’ve been experiencing, and get it fixed by a professional.
If you can change your tires, you can replace your brake pads.
Pick up brake pads that fit your vehicle’s make and model from your local auto parts shop. Using your jack, jack up the car, remove tire lug nuts using the tire iron, and pull off the wheel. This exposes the brake caliper. Take the bolt out of the brake caliper and push up on the caliper to expose the brake pad, which is held in place with retaining clips. Pull off the retaining clips, then pull off the brake pad.
Push the new brake pad into place, then press the retaining clips in place. They will snap when they are in place. Use the tube of grease included in your brake pad kit to grease the brake pad clips, which prevents squeaks.
Before you can fit the brake caliper over the brake pads, you’ve got to push the brake pistons back in place, so they clear the brake pads. Use a hard object, like a piece of scrap wood, to push the pistons past the brake pads, then attach the brake caliper and bolt. With everything back in place, you can reattach the wheel.
With these tips, you can keep your car’s brakes in good condition, respond to any problems, and avoid the danger that comes with driving with bad brakes.
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.
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.
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;
Answering these questions should get you a good idea of what motor oil option to go with for your vehicle.
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.