SNOW SHOVELING TIPS FOR WEARY WINTER WARRIORS

Among nature’s most beautiful scenes is the morning sun reflecting its dazzling light off newly fallen snow. The beauty of this scene, however, lasts only as long as it takes to realize you now have to shovel. To that end, the following are several shoveling tips created with your back’s preservation in mind: Shovel in Small Batches While the snow is still falling, get out your shovel and begin the snow-removal process. You’ll have to shovel again once the storm has finished, but you’ll have less snow to move at one time. The snow will also be lighter, and you’ll be less likely to hurt your back. Use Different Shovels You may be fond of a particular shovel, but working with only one type mea

DO I NEED TO WARM UP MY CAR? A WINTER PRIMER

“Do I need to warm up my car” is a question posed by anyone living in a climate where the mercury often drops well below the freezing point. Whether you’re getting ready to go to work in the morning or heading out to the parking lot after a full day, the prospect of a cold car is uninviting, to say the least and, according to some automotive folklore, potentially damaging to your mechanical components. Is warming up your car really that important? Are you shortening the life of your vehicle by driving it before the temperature gauge moves at all? The truth might surprise you. Carburetor Blues Once upon a time, the question of “do I need to warm up my car” was an important one because each an

HERE ARE THE TYPES OF CAR FILTERS THAT KEEP YOUR CAR RUNNING SMOOTHLY

There are several types of car filters that keep your vehicle running smoothly. Filters are important because they keep dirt and other debris that’s on the road and in the air away from crucial engine components. Ever wondered how many filters your car has? Here’s a list of the filters in your car and what they do to keep your engine running. Oil Filter Oil is a lubricant that travels through your engine, ensuring parts move smoothly. It starts off clean, but over time it picks up dirt and debris and becomes dark and thick, which is why it must be periodically changed. The oil filter helps slow this process by keeping dirt out of your oil and it should be changed whenever you change your eng

BRAKE ROTOR REPLACEMENT: WHAT IS A ROTOR AND WHAT DOES IT DO?

Brake rotor replacement is something every driver eventually faces, and it helps to understand a little about how this component fits into your car’s braking ecosystem so you can make smart choices when talking to your mechanic. Brake rotors are some of the most durable parts on your car, but over time the stress of daily driving takes a toll, even on steel. What Is a Rotor? On all modern cars, the front brakes, and usually the rear brakes, make use of a rotor and pad design. The pads tighten around the rotor (which is also called a disc) when you push down on your brake pedal. The pressure comes from fluid in the master cylinder that activates the caliper housing each set of pads. The frict

TIPS ON HANDLING A CAR BATTERY

Car batteries are generally out of sight and out of mind. Tucked under the hood, you don’t think much about them as long as they do what they’re supposed to do — start your vehicle. But what if you need to remove one, temporarily or permanently? We’ve got some tips on handling a car battery. Safety First Even if you think the battery is dead, always treat it as though it’s charged. A shock can be nasty — even fatal. And that warning sticker that says “DANGER — EXPLOSIVE GASES”? Yeah, that’s a real thing, one you have to be very aware of when handling a car battery. Go Negative The first step is to loosen the nut that holds the cable to the battery’s negative terminal, then set your tool (ide

3 TIPS FOR BUYING A USED CAR

Buying a used car is often a purchase that can’t be undone. Only a handful of states have lemon laws, and even those offer limited protection. It’s up to you to fully evaluate the vehicle first. Worried about getting stuck with a clunker? Use these tips for buying a used car to ensure you bring home the best vehicle you can afford. 1. Do Your Research Many free resources exist online for consumers buying a car. Take a bit of time to look up information specific to the make, model and year you are considering. Some of the most important things to keep in mind while you search include: Does the asking price match its estimated value? What kind of fuel economy does it have? Has the manufacturer

FIVE ESSENTIAL TOOLS FOR YOUR HOME GARAGE

There are some essential tools that no garage should be without, whether you plan to tackle a large-scale project or just handle basic maintenance on occasion. No matter the size of the job you’re working on, having the right tools on hand can be the difference between success and frustration. Here’s a look at five essential tools that should be in every home garage. 1. Socket and Driver Set Nuts and bolts are the basic fasteners of car construction, and a good socket and driver set is a must-have for your tool kit. Make sure you have a full range of metric and imperial sockets, along with quarter-inch and three-quarter-inch drivers. This tool set should be enough to handle all but the most

NAPA KNOW-HOW NOTES: 10 TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR CAR UNSTUCK

With winter’s grasp firmly upon us, the issue of getting stuck becomes more prominent in our daily lives. Whether you are just slipping a little or the wheels are buried to the axles, these 10 tips on how to get your car unstuck are not only helpful, but can prove to be a lifesaver. All of these tips have been compiled through years of getting stuck ourselves. Don’t stop! If you are sliding off the road, headed towards a drift, slush pile, etc, do not stop. Your vehicle’s momentum can carry you out of the mush. The same goes for when you are stuck and get some movement. Don’t stop until you are absolutely stuck. Even a little bit of constant movement is better than just spinning the wheels.

TRACTION CONTROL: WHEN IT CAN–AND CANNOT–SAVE YOUR LIFE

If your car or light truck is relatively new, it may be equipped with traction control or its more sophisticated cousin, electronic stability control (ESC). These systems are designed to help you maintain control of your vehicle in dangerous circumstances. Certainly, automotive technology can help save lives, but there are limits to its capacity to protect you and your passengers. Knowing how systems like ESC work helps you understand how they contribute to improved automotive safety, and why you should rely on smart behavior behind the wheel, even if your vehicle has the latest safety technology. Integrated with antilock brakes (ABS), traction control was introduced on production vehicles d

DIRTY AIR FILTER: HOW TO CHECK AND WHEN TO CHANGE

If your vehicle gets 36 mpg, you’ll burn one gallon of fuel on the average daily drive of an American, along with some 9,000 gallons of air, enough to fill a 12 x 20-foot pool to five feet. That air isn’t just air, however. There’s dust, pollen, insects, sand, dirt and even bits of rubber. The engine air filter keeps this stuff from damaging the engine, and a dirty air filter is a sign it’s actually doing its job. How Much Dirt Is Too Much? With regular scheduled maintenance, most manufacturers recommend changing the engine air filter every 10,000 to 20,000 miles, mostly as a preventative step. Really, the idea is to change a dirty air filter before it’s too far gone. On carbureted engines,

TESTING A CAR’S LIGHTING SYSTEM FOR TOWING SUCCESS

When testing a car’s lighting system before you tow, it helps to understand the basics. Not only do you need to consider whether the connection between your vehicle and the trailer’s electrical system is hooked up properly, but you want to make sure your car’s lights and the trailer’s lights are also functioning correctly. Check out these basic tips for tow lighting success. Clean, Matching Connectors The key to testing a car’s lighting system is to ensure you’re working with the right electrical setup between the vehicle and the trailer. Not only should the connectors match, but they should also be clean and free of corrosion. Don’t try to modify a plug to fit in a receiver that doesn’t hav

HOW TO JUMP-START A HYBRID CAR

Hybrid cars might have a leg up on conventional gas engines, but they’re not infallible. They can still break down, run out of juice and leave you stranded. Although there are some things manufacturers have done to lessen this risk with hybrids, it’s still helpful to know how to jump-start a hybrid car and to keep a few key points in mind. The DC Universe One important thing to remember about hybrids is that the powertrain has two batteries. One is a 12-volt unit (like a regular car battery), and the other is significantly larger with way more voltage. When jump-starting a hybrid, remember you’re working with the 12-volt circuit or you could get yourself into serious trouble. Polarizing View

HEADLIGHT BULB REPLACEMENT: WHICH BULB IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

If one of your headlights is burnt out and it’s time for headlight bulb replacement, the variety of bulbs available at the auto parts store might seem a little mind-boggling. The different types of bulbs that you can choose from are halogen, xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) and light-emitting diode (LED). Halogen Headlamps Halogen headlight bulbs operate like incandescent bulbs, using a thin tungsten filament within a glass capsule filled with halogen gas. They offer increased light output on the road and a longer light beam that can offer an increased reaction time when driving at night. Halogen bulbs are the most common headlamp type in use today, offering low cost and a working life o

ALL WEATHER VERSUS SNOW TIRES: THE GRIPPING TRUTH BEHIND YOUR SNOW DAY DRIVING

When the weatherman starts saying the dreaded “S” word, the first thought many of us have is: “How will I be able to drive to work?” Looking out into the treacherous streets, you might begin to wonder if your tires are up to the task. So, what exactly are the differences between tires that can handle all weather versus snow tires? Are snow tires necessary in your region, or will all-season tires suit your needs? Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each can help you make the decision that’s best for your budget and your vehicle. A Quick Comparison At first glance, these tires may look the same, but what makes them different is hidden within. All-season tires are designed to handle a

ANTIFREEZE USES AND WHY YOUR CAR NEEDS IT

As temperatures drop, a very important liquid is at work in your car to help keep it running. Known traditionally as “antifreeze” and sometimes thought of as “coolant,” this fluid runs in a circular pattern under the hood to maintain the temperature for key components, especially the engine. Without coolant, your car would stop running. Moreover, your engine might overheat and crack, so here’s how antifreeze protects your car: Antifreeze Uses Antifreeze is found in your car’s radiator and is typically refilled by pouring it into a separate reservoir connected to the radiator. This is necessary because directly pouring it into the radiator can be dangerous and might result in burns if the eng

HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR TOOLS LIKE A PRO

Whether you’re an occasional DIYer or a busy backyard mechanic, you need the right tools for the job and a systematic way to keep them arranged. Knowing how to organize your tools in a toolbox is essential for any project, and can save you time, money and energy that would be better spent on the job at hand. Tooling Around The first step to organization is assessing your needs. If your current toolbox is exploding or otherwise unwieldy, it might mean you need to step it up a notch, real estate-wise. If you’ve only got a few sparse manufacturer-provided repair kits lying around, a portable box will do. On the flip side, there are boxes out there so big you could practically charge rent to liv

WHAT IS AN ALTERNATOR? A PRACTICAL GUIDE

What is an alternator? Simply put, it’s a part of your car’s electrical system that you never really have to think about until it starts to cause you grief. Alongside your vehicle’s battery, the alternator is the backbone of the charging system in your automobile, and as such, it’s useful to understand how it works and the job it does for you during your daily commute. What Is an Alternator Made of? Your car needs electrical current to stay running, which means relying on more than just the battery. While the 12-volt battery under your hood is responsible for providing the juice needed to turn the starter, once the engine is running, it’s the alternator that takes over. Inside this small dev

HAVE A CRACKED OIL PAN? HERE’S HOW TO FIX IT

A cracked oil pan can cause leaks that could damage your car’s engine. The oil pan is located underneath your vehicle, and if you drive over road debris like fallen tree branches and rocks, you car could suffer dents or cracks that will cause it to leak. You may be able to fix a cracked oil pan yourself, depending on the size of the break. The repair can be completed in just a couple of hours, but you’ll have to wait an additional 15 to 24 hours before the car will be ready to drive again. Below, we’ve listed some steps that will help you complete this task. Step 1: Determine the size of the crack. Examine the base of the oil pan to get a sense of how large the crack is. Oil pans are typical

4 CAR BATTERY MAINTENANCE TIPS: GET MAXIMUM LIFE OUT OF YOUR CAR

You’re in luck — car battery maintenance is one of the easier types of DIY work you’ll encounter with an automobile. While some modern battery designs are called maintenance-free, this really only means they don’t have to be filled with water like the maintenance accessible designs used in the past. You still have to keep up with the proper storage, cleanliness and inspection cycle on a maintenance-free design as you would with any other battery, so it helps to know what to watch out for. Check out these four quick and easy car battery maintenance tips: 1. Keep Terminals Clean Corrosion on battery terminals can be caused by many things, for example, exposure to salt in the air from the ocean

SIGNS OF A BAD CATALYTIC CONVERTER

When cars were first invented, there wasn’t a ton of thought given to emissions beyond “keep them out of the passenger compartment.” As you can imagine (or if you were around in the ’80s or before, maybe you remember) this wasn’t great for air quality. These days, exhaust systems work to keep emissions to a minimum, and play an integral role in keeping your engine running smoothly. Catalytic converters have come a long way, but they’re still a centerpiece of the system. So what are the signs of a bad catalytic converter? And what should you do if yours has an issue? One Cool (Scalding Hot) Cat Catalytic converters take the harmful chemicals that form as a result of the combustion process and

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