CRANKSHAFT POSITION SENSOR: OVERVIEW AND TROUBLESHOOTING

A crankshaft position sensor is part of your car’s electronic fuel injection and ignition system. Found in modern cars, this sensor measures the engine’s revolutions per minute (RPM) as well as the exact position of the engine crankshaft. When this sensor fails, the engine won’t turn over, and you won’t be going anywhere until it is fixed. The crankshaft position sensor is sometimes referred to as an engine speed sensor. It looks like a long, black plug and is located near the crankshaft. When it does its job, it ensures the required RPM value for the appropriate transmission gear. The following are key signs that this sensor is no longer doing its job. 1. Drop in Fuel Efficiency When the se

ENGINE AIR FILTERS VS. CABIN FILTERS: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Your car uses all different kinds of filters to keep contaminants out of vital systems. Specifically, filters are used on things that flow — air and fluid (think oil and fuel) — but did you know there are actually two types of air filters in your car? How much do you know about engine air filters vs. cabin filters and the important role each plays? Engine Air Filters These air filters can be round, conical or panel-shaped, depending on the vehicle. They’re located under the hood, generally near the front of the engine, and are covered by housing. There must be some opening in the housing wide enough for the engine to suck up large volumes of air. However, if the filter were completely expose

WARNING SIGNS OF POTHOLE DAMAGE

With winter firmly fixed in your rearview mirror, you can now turn your attention to getting your car ready for the warmer months. One of the first things to do is rid your vehicle of road salt and grime buildup, restoring it to its proper luster with a wash and wax. You also need to consider possible damage to the vehicle due to rough road surfaces. Damage from potholes isn’t always easy to spot. If you suspect your vehicle may have suffered pothole damage, pay attention to warning signs while you’re driving. What Is a Pothole? A pothole is a small crevice or hole in the road caused by water from melted snow and ice permeating the pavement, thereby softening it. As a result of successive co

DIRTY JOBS: HOW TO PACK A WHEEL BEARING

Bearings are integral components that keep your wheels turning and prevent friction from wreaking havoc on your vehicle. Properly greased bearings dissipate heat, alleviate the friction and weight on your wheels, and enable smooth motion over thousands of miles. But that grease eventually breaks down or dries up — and does so faster in dry or dirty conditions — so it’s necessary to repack your bearings every so often. Warning: It’s a dirty job, but if you know how to pack a wheel bearing, you’ll save yourself from bigger issues (like the wheels falling off) in the future. Getting Your Bearings There are two bearings, inner and outer. Depending on whether you’re dealing with disc or drum brak

CARS OVER 100,000 MILES: ARE THEY WORTH IT?

While shopping for used cars, you’re sure to see low-mileage vehicles favored in advertisements, as if high-mileage vehicles aren’t worth consideration. Online and around town, buyers tend to shy away from high-mileage vehicles on the grounds of their mileage alone. This is unfortunate, because plenty of cars over 100,000 miles have a lot of life left in them. On the other hand, plenty don’t. To find out whether the high-mileage vehicle you’re considering is a worthwhile option, check out the following. It’s Just a Number “100,000” isn’t some magical demarcation line between “old reliable” and “could die any day.” Today’s cars are lasting longer than ever before. In fact, the U.S. Department

6 SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE A BAD WATER PUMP

There are some parts of a vehicle that, when failing, do not need to be immediately replaced. A water pump is not one of those parts. Due to the vital role the pump plays in cooling the engine, if it stops working, there will be fast consequences including possible all-out engine failure. Replacing a bad water pump isn’t a quick job, but it’ll save you from the worse job of replacing your engine. Know the signs of when your pump is dead in the water. Unhealthy Circulation The water pump moves coolant through the radiator and around the engine to dissipate heat buildup. Rapidly moving, closely connected metal parts generate a lot of friction, and thus, heat. Too much heat and you end up with

CAR WEATHER STRIPPING CARE

Your car’s weather stripping serves a dual purpose by keeping water out and helping to muffle road noise inside the cabin. Car weather stripping should last for many years, but sun, moisture and time will take its toll and necessitate at least partial replacement. Here’s a look at two telltale signs of defective weather stripping and what you can do to fix the problem. Unexplained Water Inside Your Vehicle Unless you left a door, window or moonroof open, there’s no reason for water to be inside your car. However, if the inside door frame, seat or flooring is wet, there’s a good chance that water is seeping in from somewhere. One way to confirm where water is coming in is by sitting in your c

YOUR LAWN MOWER TUNE UP KIT

With warm weather in sight, many of you are probably tuning up your mowers and getting them ready to go. Hopefully you stored yours away properly for the winter, which will make getting it ready that much easier. Before you get to work on your machine, there are a few things you’ll want to gather up. Here’s a quick run down of the items you’ll need to stock up your lawn mower tune up kit. Air Filter As you tend to your lawn throughout the summer, your mower kicks up dust and dirt into the air, which in turn is sucked in by the engine. While the style may vary slightly, all mowers are equipped with an air filter that catches this debris and keeps it from damaging your engine. Whether it’s a p

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A CRACKED OIL PAN?

Bolted underneath the engine’s crankshaft is a pan where oil collects after it has been pumped through the engine. When the engine is running, a pump moves the oil from the pan to lubricate engine parts and prevent overheating. If the pan cracks and you lose oil, the engine could seize up, leading to major repairs. Here’s how to detect a cracked oil pan and make the repair. Monitor Oil Consumption One of the first signs of a cracked oil pan may be excessive oil consumption. Typically, no car should use more than a quart of oil between oil changes. Any amount above that suggests the presence of some type of problem. For example, in older engines, worn valve stems, piston rings and guides and

WHAT IS AN AIR SUSPENSION?

If you’re in the market for a luxury car, a high end SUV, or heavy-duty truck, you may be asking yourself: What is an air suspension? Because of the smooth ride it provides, this style of suspension is found on a lot of luxury models, but most people have no idea what it is. Here are the basics, along with the pros and cons. What It Is Air suspensions have changed a lot over the years, but essentially they operate on the same basic idea. A chamber or bag of air called an air spring replaces coil springs, and a series of solenoid controls manages the movement of air. These solenoid controls perform a similar function in air suspensions as the internals of a shock do in conventional suspension

SIGNS OF A BAD THERMOSTAT

Thermostats regulate coolant flow to increase or decrease engine temperature. But they do fail, with varying degrees of severity depending on how they’ve failed. Luckily, if you can identify the signs of a bad thermostat, you can address the problem before it takes out your engine. How It Works Located where the top radiator hose meets the engine, thermostats open or close in response to coolant temperature. When the thermostat is closed (as it should be when first starting the engine), coolant is prevented from circulating. This quickly brings the engine to optimal operating temperature. Once this temperature is reached, the thermostat opens and allows coolant to pass through the radiator,

IF YOUR ENGINE OIL TURNS BLACK, DON’T PANIC

Motor oil lubricates the engine and absorbs heat, enabling the engine’s internal parts to work efficiently without overheating. As oil ages, it begins to lose its protective properties and must be changed. When engine oil turns black, however, that doesn’t always mean a change is imminent. Here’s how to tell when it’s time for an oil change. Amber That Won’t Withstand the Ages New motor oil is typically amber and transparent, similar to the color of honey. It doesn’t retain its original color for long, as each heat cycle darkens its color. A heat cycle represents each time your engine reaches its normal operating temperature, typically somewhere just below 220 degrees Fahrenheit, then cools

DIGITAL ASSISTANT USES IN THE GARAGE

Under the hood and in the cabin, technology and automobiles are becoming ever more intertwined. Cars are also getting smarter than ever before, able to interact with other vehicles and obstacles on the road, as well as with their drivers and passengers. Along the same vein, digital assistants like Siri, Alexa and Cortana are everywhere, and drivers are getting used to asking for the closest Italian restaurant or the nearest oil change without ever taking their hands off the wheel. But are there digital assistant uses in the garage, too? Aside from answering a phone call or sending text messages while you work with dirty hands, what about actual project-based assistance? Specifying Digital As

DRIVING IN THE RAIN: HYDROPLANING PREVENTION AND RECOVERY TIPS

Driving in the rain presents a couple of challenges that you don’t encounter while driving on dry roads. It’s important to have the visibility that a good pair of windshield wipers can provide, but even more important is understanding how rain affects traction. Most drivers understand that water reduces the amount of friction between your tires and the road, and they slow down in response to reduced traction. However, a lot of rain can lead to what every driver dreads the most: hydroplaning. What Is Hydroplaning and How Do You Prevent It? While driving in the rain, you may face wet roads, standing puddles or moving sheets of water. Tire tread is designed to improve wet-road traction by chann

BRAKE ROTOR REPLACEMENT: SLOTTED, SMOOTH OR CROSS-DRILLED?

When considering brake rotor replacement, you may be tempted by several of the options that are presented to you to enhance your vehicle’s stopping power. In fact, there’s a small universe of bolt-on brake parts out there that are intended to upgrade your stock components without asking you to make any modifications to your vehicle, and rotors are no exception. Which brake rotors should you consider for your vehicle? Check out our breakdown of the three most common types of rotors you’ll find when it comes time to replace your worn-out set. 1. Slotted Rotors Slotted brake rotors get their name from the channels, or slots, that are machined into the surface of the disc. Typically, these brake

SHOULD YOU CLEAN A CABIN AIR FILTER OR REPLACE IT?

Cabin air filters are the unsung heroes of enjoying a pleasant atmosphere during your drive. Most people don’t even know they exist. Just like any other filters on your vehicle, they have a job to do and that job gets them dirty. Knowing when to clean a cabin air filter or identify when a new filter is due is not just a braggable skill, but actually helps keep your environment healthy. Most vehicles made after 2000 have these filters, and manufacturers generally recommend replacing them every 15,000–20,000 miles or so, depending on routine driving conditions, or roughly once a year. Purpose Cabin air filters help keep the air inside your vehicle free of dust, mold, pollen and other fine part

WHAT’S THE BEST OIL FOR YOUR VEHICLE?

Wondering what the best oil for your vehicle is? There’s one easy way to find out. Regardless of what automobile you drive, the best oil is the one that’s listed in your owner’s manual. After all, the company that built your car spent thousands of hours designing and building its motor to work with a specific type of oil, so it makes the most sense to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. Of course, sometimes you may find yourself in a unique driving situation or environment that calls for you to go above and beyond the factory specification. There’s also the question of performance and wanting to extend the life and improve the efficiency of your engine. Once you start adding these and

YOU HAVE A BLOWN HEAD GASKET: NOW WHAT?

Regardless of the type of vehicle you own, a blown head gasket ranks toward the top of the list of most-involved car repairs. Because of its complexity, you have to consider whether it’s worth doing or not. We’ve already examined the signs of a blown head gasket, so let’s take a closer look at what you should do when it comes time to perform this repair. Here’s a rundown of the options you have when your engine’s head gasket fails. What It Is The head gasket is the seal between the cylinder head, where the engine’s valve train and a lot of other things are housed, and the lower block, where you’ll find the crank, cylinders and other moving parts attached. Because the head gasket seals the me

3 OVERLOOKED CAR MAINTENANCE ITEMS

Overlooked car maintenance can put your vehicle on borrowed time. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in covering the basics — tires, engine oil, wiper fluid — that you can forget to take care of other equally crucial, but less obvious areas of automotive care. Sometimes, you may not even know you’ve been neglecting anything important until your mechanic presents you with a grim diagnosis at your next appointment. Check out these three maintenance items you simply can’t ignore. 1. Automatic Transmission Fluid Automatic transmissions are sometimes marketed as requiring little or no service. As with all automotive fluids, however, there comes a time when a flush and fill is required for your automa

YOUR CAR JERKS WHEN BRAKING: NOW WHAT?

As you approach an intersection, the traffic light turns yellow, then red just after you apply pressure to the brake pedal. The next moment, your vehicle jerks slightly before coming to a full stop. This is an uncomfortable sensation, one you may have experienced before, but this time you are greatly concerned. If your car jerks when braking, you need to determine the cause and find the correct solution. These three steps will get you started. 1. Rule Out the Obvious If you’re part of the small group of car owners with a manual transmission, the occasional jerk while shifting isn’t uncommon. Sometimes, the driver doesn’t time the release of the clutch with each shift, causing the vehicle to

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle