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The basics of a car collision repair process.

The Collision Repair Process Explained

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.

Steps Involved in the Collision Repair Process

1) Estimation:

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.

2) Disassembling:

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.

3) Repairing:

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.

4) Paint preparation:

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.

5) Reassembling:

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.

6) Inspecting for quality control:

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.

7) Delivery:

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.

Things to Do When Choosing a Shop for Collision Repairs

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.

1) Consider the customers:

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.

2) Compare consolidators and independent 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.

3) Get multiple estimates:

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.

4) Discuss warranties:

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.

Final Word

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.

Reasons to get a car inspected before purchase.

Importance of Vehicle Inspection Before Buying

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:

  • Test drives
  • Monitor assessments
    • Assessing the monitors of the car’s computer system
    • Assessing the dash warning bulbs and lights
  • System checks
    • Electrical
    • Charging and battery
    • Exhaust
    • Interior and exterior lights
    • Heating & Cooling System
    • Ignition
    • Cooling and radar
  • Mechanical assessments
    • Suspension components
    • Steering linkage
    • Belts and hoses
    • Assessments to ensure that no fluids are leaking
  • Maintenance assessments
    • Brakes and tires
    • Windshield wipers/washers and glass
    • Fluid condition and levels

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.

How to Schedule a Vehicle Inspection?

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.

Make Sure to Choose a Third-Party Vehicle Inspector:

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.

Get a Well-Documented and Thorough Inspection Report:

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.

Benefits of Vehicle Inspection before Buying:

1) Allows you to know what the vehicle’s actual worth is:

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.

2) Opens the door to negotiations:

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.

3) Lowers maintenance expenses:

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.

Final Word

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.

How to maintain your tires?

What You Need to Know About Car Tire Safety and Maintenance

Understanding a Car’s Tires

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.

Tire Wear – Signs to Watch Out For

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.

Signs to Watch Out for During a Tire Visual Inspection

1. Over-inflation

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.

2.  Under-inflation

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.

3. A single edge being subject to tread wear

If tread wear is affecting only a single tire edge, this is an indication that your wheels are misaligned.

4. Inconsistent tread wear

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.

5. Raised sidewall or tread portion

This could indicate separation between the tire carcass belts.

Signs to Watch Out For While Driving

1. Unusual thumping noises or vibrations

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.

2. A pull towards a certain side

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.

Inspecting the Inflation

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:

  • Digital
  • Dial
  • Stick or Pen

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.

Checking Tire Pressure

  • Remove the valve cap placed on the tire.
  • Put the gauge over the valve stream of the tire, and firmly press until you are sure that you did not hear any escaping air. At this point, the gauge will display the amount of tire pressure.
  • If the pressure is abnormal in any way, adjust accordingly. While adding air, make sure that the hose is firmly pushed inside the valve until the air is unable to escape. Keep checking the tire pressure after every two or three seconds to assess the quantity of air making its way inside the tire. Keep doing this until you reach the recommended level of air pressure. If you find that the tire pressure is excessive, use the tire gauge nipple and press the tire-valve stem center to release air.
  • Place the tires’ valve cap back.
  • Repeat this process for every tire – including the spare one.

Tire Maintenance

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.

Tire Rotation

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.

Tire Balancing

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.

Final Word

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:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/tires
https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/tires#the-topic-being-tirewise
https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/tires#the-topic-buying
https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/tires#the-topic-maintenance
https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/tires#the-topic-aging
https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/tires#the-topic-labeling
https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/tires#the-topic-fuel-efficiency
https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/tires#nhtsa-in-action

Car safety and emissions inspection

What is a Car Safety and Emissions Inspection?

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.

Car Safety and Emissions Inspections: Explained

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:

Car Safety Inspection

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.

Emissions Inspection

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.

State Law

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.

Ending Note

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.

What are biofuels

What are Biofuels and Which Ones Can You Use in Your Vehicle?

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.

What are Biofuels?

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.

Primary Biofuels

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

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

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.

Cellulosic ethanol

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.

Biodiesel

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

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.

Auto Brake Maintenance Tips

Auto Brake Maintenance Tips

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.

Troubleshooting Auto Brake Issues

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.

Replacing Brake Pads

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.

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.