Choosing The Right New Car

Line Up: Signs of Misalignment in Your Car’s Front Tires

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Line Up: Signs of Misalignment in Your Car’s Front Tires

One of the most common issues that can occur with your car’s front end after a mild collision is the wheels being knocked out of alignment. If you’ve been in an accident where the front end of your car was struck or hit something, even if it didn’t cause any visible damage, it may have affected your wheel alignment. Here’s a look at what you need to know about front-end alignment issues, whether caused by an accident or something else, to spot the signs before they cause serious tire damage. What Is Front-End Alignment? Front-end alignment refers to the angle and position of your front tires in relation to the suspension. The alignment of your car’s front tires is determined by the manufacturer as the angle at which your car’s tires are most effective. When the tires are properly aligned, it keeps your car traveling straight down the road when the steering wheel is straight. What Are the Signs of Alignment Issues? Tire Indicators—If your tires are wearing unevenly, it may be an indication of misalignment. When the front wheels aren’t properly aligned, the tires won’t contact the road surface evenly. That means that some parts of the tire are going to contact the road more heavily and wear more quickly than others. If you’re seeing thin tread on one edge and not the other, it may mean that your front end needs an alignment. If you’ve purchased new tires recently, you should have the alignment checked. It’s always a good idea to have the front end aligned every time you put tires on the front of the car, because any variance in the tire could cause a slight misalignment. In addition, the miles your car travels between tire replacements can lead to gradual alignment shifts that you might not otherwise notice until they progress much further. Save the wear and tear on your car and your new tires by having an alignment done whenever you buy new tires. Handling Issues—Any time your car’s front tires are out of alignment, it’s going to cause some handling issues. If the car is pulling hard to one side or the other, that’s a sign that you’ve got an alignment problem that needs to be corrected. You may even notice that the front end shakes a little bit. If so, that’s a warning that your car’s alignment issues are causing uneven wear on the tires. Mechanical Changes—Any time your car is involved in an accident or hits a pothole, that causes jarring on the front suspension. This can shift your front wheels out of alignment, even if the pothole is small or the impact was minimal. It’s always best to consult a collision repair specialist after anything like this, because they can evaluate the alignment as well as the condition of the frame and body panels. In addition to damage, changing any suspension parts, including upgrading the entire suspension, can also shift the alignment of the wheels. If you install a new suspension or change any suspension components, make sure to schedule an alignment afterward. What Are the Steps to Fix an Alignment Problem? Properly aligning your car’s front wheels will require the use of calibrated equipment. It’s not something most people can do at home. You’ll want to reach out to...

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How Should You Winterize Your Truck This Year?

Posted by on Sep 24, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Should You Winterize Your Truck This Year?

If you’re still reeling from the effects of last winter’s weather, you may not want to hear that the Farmers Almanac has predicted more of the same for the winter of 2015 and 2016. Unless you live on the lower West Coast or in the Southwest, you can expect colder-than-normal temperatures this winter, with the Midwest, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic predicted to be hit with heavy snowstorms in January and February. What can you do to winterize your truck in anticipation of snow, ice, and winter precipitation? Read on to learn more about preparing your truck for an extra cold and snowy winter.  Check your tires Going into winter with bald or bulging tires can be a dangerous mistake, particularly when heavy snow or ice is predicted. If your tires aren’t able to grip the road’s surface well (even in 4WD), you could wind up sliding off the road or into another vehicle. You’ll want to have your tires carefully inspected and rotated in autumn, and may need to purchase a new pair or full set if yours are nearing the end of their lifespan. Depending upon the winter forecast for your area, you may opt to purchase snow and ice tires or go with a sturdy all-season tire instead.  When your tires are inspected or replaced, your tire pressure should also be checked, as cold temperatures can force air from the tire and lower its pressure. If your truck isn’t equipped with sensors that can alert you when your tire pressure goes too low, you may opt to keep a small tire pressure gauge in your vehicle to periodically check your tires and ensure they’re still safe. Dilute your antifreeze less than normal Normally, pure antifreeze is diluted with water before being added to your cooling system. In other cases, you may have purchased pre-diluted antifreeze from an auto parts store. But if you’re in a part of the country expecting extra-cold temperatures, you may want to consider increasing the concentration of antifreeze in your antifreeze and water mixture. You should be able to mix a ratio of up to 70 percent antifreeze to 30 percent water without causing any damage to your engine, and you won’t need to worry about your antifreeze becoming slushy or frozen even if your area suffers ultra-cold temperatures.  Make sure your 4WD is in good working condition Few things can be more stomach-dropping than feeling your 4WD fail to engage or cause your truck to run choppily when you find yourself driving in harsh winter conditions. You’ll want to test out your 4WD components and ensure that everything is in good working order well before you find yourself in need of extra power and traction. If you find that your truck isn’t easily transferring into 4WD or makes a grinding noise during shifting, you’ll want to bring it to a mechanic to determine what truck parts are in need of repair or replacement. In some cases, this problem can be as simple as applying some oil or lubricant; in others, you may need a new transfer case or even axle.  Inspect and replace your brakes Like tires, brakes are crucial for winter driving safety. If you’ve noticed that your brakes feel spongy or make a squealing or grinding noise when depressed, you’ll likely need new...

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Should Your Next Pickup Truck Have A V6 Or V8 Engine?

Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Should Your Next Pickup Truck Have A V6 Or V8 Engine?

Light-duty pickup trucks like the Chevy Silverado have always offered their buyers a choice between six-cylinder and eight-cylinder engines. In an age where just about every engine offering has seen vast improvements in power and fuel economy, you’d have to wonder if two cylinders still make a difference. The following takes a look at the latest V6 and V8 engines, as well as the question of which should be under the hood of your next pickup truck. V8: The Traditional Option When you think “pickup truck,” chances are you’ll think “V8 engine”. It’s a buyer preference that’s lasted for several decades. Of the approximately 1.4 million pickup trucks sold in 2013, the majority of them were equipped with eight-cylinder engines. There are plenty of reasons why V8 engines remain the go-to for many pickup truck buyers. For starters, V8 pickup trucks have traditionally been able to haul and tow heavier loads than their V6 counterparts, thanks in large part to the V8 engine’s extra muscle. In many cases, the tow and haul rating on the V6 version of a pickup truck was always rated lower than its V8 counterpart, under the assumption that the engine wouldn’t be able to handle the same type of load without undue strain.   The choice of a V8 over a V6 also comes down to audial aesthetics — many buyers enjoy the deep, burly burble of a V8 engine, along with the seemingly sedate and effortless takeoff it offers. There are also those who believe that a proper pickup truck should always have a V8 engine, regardless of what would actually suffice. V6: Smaller and More Economical Traditionally, V6 engines have been the province of fleet sales and misers looking to squeeze every penny they could out of their trucks. However, recent improvements in power output and fuel efficiency have made today’s V6 pickup trucks a compelling purchase for many buyers. V6 engines also represent a slight savings in fuel economy, although the difference is usually only 1 to 2 mpg when compared to a typical V8 engine. One competitor has turned the concept of the V6 engine playing second-fiddle to its bigger V8 counterpart on its head by introducing a twin-turbocharged variant of its V6 engine in its best-selling light-duty pickup truck offering. The twin-turbocharged setup not only gives the engine more horsepower than its V8 counterpart, but buyers also benefit from an increased tow and payload rating. The company’s turbocharged and naturally aspirated V6 engines made up nearly 40 percent of its truck sales volume in 2011. With mainstream sedans moving away from naturally aspirated V6 and V8 engines in favor of boosted four- and six-cylinder powerplants, one has to wonder if the same fate is in store for the full-size light-duty pickup truck in general. Automotive expert Tim Esterdahl speculates that the major pickup truck manufacturers will have turbocharged engines as a standard option by 2025, displacing traditional V6 and V8 engines that currently fulfill that role. Which Should You Choose? At this point, choosing between a V6 and V8 engine is mainly a matter of preference — the slight difference in fuel economy is usually not much of a concern to prospective buyers. Instead it’s the power and overall performance that’s often the deal breaker when it comes to...

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Thinking About Buying A Used Engine? Here’s What You’ll Need To Know

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Thinking About Buying A Used Engine? Here’s What You’ll Need To Know

A brand-new engine for today’s modern cars can cost thousands of dollars out-of-warranty. With a new engine out of reach for many car owners, it’s no wonder used engines are a highly popular and comparatively affordable alternative. Used engines are inexpensive and readily available, in most cases, but they can also be a bit of an unknown quantity. When buying a used engine, it’s important to know what you’re looking for and understand the pitfalls and caveats that often come with purchasing any used component. Take Stock of Appearances With a used engine from an auto salvage yard, what you see is usually what you’ll get. Unless the engine was removed the moment it reached the yard and stored for safekeeping, chances are other customers may have cherry-picked any number of parts from the engine or its accessories (such as the alternator, starter, sensors, etc.). For this reason alone, you’ll want to have an original schematic as well as a reference image of the engine in question. This gives you an opportunity to see what’s missing, as well as ensuring the engine itself matches up to what you need in your vehicle. Look Out for Rust Auto salvage yards aren’t kind environments to engines. Most of the time, the hoods are left open or taken off altogether, exposing the engine to the harsh elements. If the engine was partly disassembled for any reason and left that way for an extended period of time, that could allow rust and corrosion to take place deep within the inner workings of the engine. This can cause damage in a wide variety of areas, including the coolant passages, pistons and cylinders. The amount of rust you may encounter depends on the age of the engine itself, the climate of the area where the auto salvage yard is located and the amount of time it spent exposed to the outdoors. So if you’re looking for a used engine for your 1950s-era cruiser, don’t be alarmed if you see sizable surface rust. As long as the engine manages to turn freely, you can deal with most rust problems. Check the Dipstick Although it is usually standard procedure for an auto salvage yard to drain all of a vehicle’s vital fluids, there may be plenty of left-over residue on the dipstick and within the engine oil pan. You can use this residue to help gauge the engine’s health prior to arriving at the salvage yard. Here are some things you’ll want to look out for as you search for that perfect used engine:. Metal flakes and shards – Metal shavings, flakes and shards often indicate a mechanical malfunction somewhere within the engine. It could be any number of things, from a failed oil pump to worn down camshafts, broken spark plugs or a prior repair gone wrong. Looks like a milkshake or sludge – When engine coolant mixes into the engine oil, the resultant mess resembles a rather unappetizing chocolate milkshake in appearance. Milk chocolate-like engine oil is usually a good indicator of a damaged head gasket or a warped cylinder head. Strong gasoline odor – Blow-by caused by worn or damaged piston rings can cause the engine oil to smell more like gasoline than oil. Excessive blow-by often indicates an engine that’s in need of...

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Pre-purchase And Maintenance Tips For First-time Buyers Of Semi Trucks

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Pre-purchase And Maintenance Tips For First-time Buyers Of Semi Trucks

If you have years of experience as a truck driver, performing interstate deliveries in semi trucks, and dream about starting your own trucking business, you will need to purchase your own vehicle when you branch out on your own. Semi trucks, even lightweight models designed for short trips, are expensive. As a small business owner, it is more economical for you to purchase a used truck instead of going deep into debt purchasing a brand new semi. In order to secure and maintain a truck in excellent condition, take heed of the following tips. Get a Pre-sale Inspection Since you will be spending tens of thousands of dollars for a truck that you hope will last for years, it behooves you to make sure that the truck is in good, working condition when you buy it. In addition, you want it to look great and not have any major cosmetic issues. Consequently, it is important to schedule a pre-sale inspection of the truck you want to purchase to make sure it meets manufacturer specifications. Hire a licensed mechanic to conduct the truck inspection. The process involves a visual inspection and a road test. The mechanic will make sure that truck does not have any broken components, leaks or safety issues. The inspection also includes examining the truck’s brakes, chassis, engine, tires, windshield, electrical components and steer assembly. The mechanic should provide you with a detailed report of the inspection results. You should also request the truck’s maintenance records from the dealer. Always Be Ready for Roadside Checks Heavy duty commercial trucks like semis are subject to federal roadside checks. If you transport hazardous materials, your truck must undergo even more scrutiny during checks. As a result, it is imperative to keep your truck in excellent condition and complete federally-mandated daily vehicle checklists. You should also inspect your truck at the end of the day and take care of any problems as soon as possible. When you are stopped for a roadside check, you must provide your commercial driver’s license, a current log book of daily checks, a copy of your annual inspection, your medical examiner’s certificate and federal Hazmat registration if you are carrying hazardous materials. There are five types of roadside inspections, rated level one to five: A level one inspection is a comprehensive check of your documents and vehicle. A level two check does not include examining underneath the truck. Level three inspections only include a check of your paperwork. Level four inspections only include specific components of your truck. A level five inspection takes place at your place of business. If you fail a roadside inspection due to serious violations, the government will issue you an immediate out of service order that will keep you off the road until the vehicle is repaired. Be Prepared for Annual Inspections In addition to roadside checks, you will also need to pass a federal annual inspection of your commercial truck. If you pass the inspection, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will issue you a sticker to place on your vehicle. You are responsible for taking your truck to a certified annual inspector. Many states also require annual inspections. In over 20 states, the FMCSA will exempt you from the federal annual inspection requirement if you pass the state...

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