June 2008

The exhaust system is a sequence of tubes that works together to transport the waste products from the engine. Basically the system is composed of exhaust pipes, header, catalytic converter, and muffler. It starts to work once the exhaust gases are collected in the header coming from the cylinder. Before the exhaust gas will be released into the open it will travel through the catalytic converter to be converted into an environment friendly substance. In the end of the process, the converted exhaust gas will be released outside the system through the use of the muffler.

The exhaust system is a very important part of your ca. It greatly influences the performance of the engine system because this is where it breathes and release unwanted gases to perform well. Unfortunately, the exhaust system is placed in an environment with high temperature, its components will definitely becomes a subject of deterioration in due time. No matter how well you maintain them eventually it will wear out. Thus, every once in a while you need to diagnose problems in your car’s exhaust to make sure that it is in good condition.

Here are some of the steps I have gathered in the net to serve as a basis for you to have a healthier car with a problem-free exhaust system!

Examine the length of the exhaust system, starting at the engine and continuing back toward the tailpipe.

  1. Look for signs of cracks along the pipes, especially where the exhaust manifold connects to the cylinder and where it connects to the main pipe.
  2. Ensure that the exhaust port near the cylinder head for signs of burned or discolored paint. It’s a sign that the exhaust system is not functioning as it should.
  3. Carefully listen to the engine while it is running. You can diagnose an exhaust problem by the noises it makes: a recurring hiss or unusual popping noise is usually caused by a problem in the exhaust system. This is a sign that the muffler or the pipes are probably leaking.
  4. Look at the muffler of the car. Its surface should be shiny and solid if you want the exhaust system functioning as it should. Any signs of problems like holes, punctures, or undue rust should be carefully check if it is severe. Try to repair or eliminate such damages in the surface of the muffler to ensure good flow of exhaust gas.
  5. Thrust at any questionable pipes with a pair of pliers or the end of a screwdriver. Rot or corrosion may not always appear on the surface, but it will weaken the surface of the exhaust pipes. If you can nudge through the pipe, then it probably needs to be replaced.
  6. Start the car and check the engine’s intake manifold vacuum while it is idling. It should read about 18 inches or so. If it reads lower than that, there is probably a restriction in the exhaust.
  7. Remove the car’s catalytic converter and hold it up to a bright light. If you can see the light through it, the converter is working fine. If you can’t, it’s plugged and needs to be replaced.

The following steps if you do it carefully, you’ll surely experience a good feedback in your exhaust system. Make sure that you perform the following steps when doing general repairs and check up in your car. This will help you prevent a more serious problem in the other parts of your car because, once the exhaust system is in worst condition, engine and other system will be chocked and severely acquire damage due to toxic exhaust that which is not released out into the open.

Source: Ehow.com

Any liquid-cooled car engine has a small device called the thermostat that is located between the engine and the radiator. The thermostat in most cars is about 2 inches in diameter. Its task is to block the flow of coolant to the radiator until such time that the engine has warmed up. Considering the critical task that the thermostat does in the cooling system, it is important that you maintain it in good working condition. Here are the steps on how to check the thermostat:

Check the Thermostat While the Engine is Running

  • Locate the engine’s thermostat. It is normally found at the front of the engine.
  • Open the radiator cap and make certain that the radiator is full. Replace the radiator cap and start the engine.
  • Turn the vehicle’s heater on high then allow the engine to warm up for a few minutes. Be careful not to let the engine overheat.
  • Feel each of the hoses leading to and from the thermostat housing. If both hoses are hot and the heater is pushing out hot air. This is a clear indication that the thermostat is functioning properly.
  • If one of the hoses is cold, the thermostat may be stuck. You’ll need to remove the thermostat from the engine. Here are the steps to do so:
    1. Turn off the engine and allow the engine to cool.
    2. Remove the bolts holding the thermostat cap in place.
    3. Lift off the housing cap to expose the thermostat. Then pull the thermostat out of the housing.
    4. Put the thermostat in a pan of water on the stove and turn the burner on high.
    5. Monitor the water temperature with an oven thermometer. The thermostat should open at about 195 degrees F if it is functioning properly.
    6. Replace a faulty thermostat.
    7. Reinstall it if it opens and closes properly. Look for another problem in the cooling system.
Since summer is coming, you’ll definitely want you car safe from overheating. Thus checking your cooling system and diagnosing if it has a problem should be done immediately. Here are some of the steps that you can do to check your cooling system. The things you will need are: radiator sealant, antifreeze, water.

Read the engine temperature gauge. If it reads too warm, then your car is overheating, and most likely the engine coolant system has a problem.

· A low coolant level causes overheating problems.

· Check the coolant level at the radiator overflow/plastic coolant reservoir tank to see if you’re low on coolant.

· Open the radiator cap and look inside the radiator when the engine is cold.

· Fill the radiator with antifreeze or water if it’s empty, and close the cap. Secure that the cup is closed tightly.

Examine common leak points, such as the large hoses that come out of your radiator and the hose connection points to your car’s engine. Your coolant system will not work efficiently if coolant is leaking.

· Look at both the lower and upper radiator hoses located at the top and bottom of the radiator on the back side and held by hose clamps. Ensure that the hoses are securely clamped to the radiator. Look for signs of leaks because this part is usually prone to leaks. If you have detected leaks, repair it immediately.

· Touch both the upper and lower radiator hoses when the engine is warm and the car is turned off. They should both be warm. If one is cold, you may have a thermostat that’s stuck closed.

· Use the palm of your hand to feel the outside of the radiator from top to bottom when the engine is warm and the car turned off. It should be warm to the touch evenly throughout. If there’s a cold section, you may have a radiator that’s internally blocked.

Keep an eye under the car for puddles of liquid. If the liquid is sweet-smelling, this could indicate that a leak has occurred in the engine cooling system.

· Check under the car, inspect the radiator and look around the engine compartment for telltale signs of a coolant leak. The coolant is greenish, slippery and sweet-smelling. If there are sign of leaks repair it immediately.

Wait a few days and check the level again to see if you have lost any more coolant. If you have, continue to look for leaks and cracks in hoses and around hose connection points.

Visit your mechanic if you know there’s a leak but can’t find it. A mechanic can detect

Warning: Have your engine cool after before you have in contact with the cooling system parts.

[source: eHow]

Reducing the chance of brake fade in your car’s braking system is important. It helps a lot in prolonging the life of your braking system components. Brake fade usually occurs when you apply brakes most especially when you are carrying heavy loads or once you are speeding up. While there is no way to eliminate brake fade all together, there are several things you can do to reduce it. Here are some of the steps you can practice to help minimize brake fade:

1. When you are traveling down hill, select the lower gear other than applying the brakes to slowdown the vehicle. In cases of a vehicle with automatic transmission, you should apply the brakes first before switching to a lower gear.

2. When braking, “tapping” the brakes, as opposed to constant application, gives the brakes an opportunity to cool between applications therefore reducing brake fade.

3. After you have replaced the brakes, try not to over-brake or put too much strain on them within the first 100-150 miles. TIP: High performance brakes and rotors provide better stopping power with less brake fade due to higher quality materials that increase friction while decreasing the amount of concentrated heat applied to the brakes.

One of the most important systems on your vehicle is the braking system. Routine maintenance is a great safety measure that every one should practice in order to make their car’s braking system perfectly working.

Here are the steps on how to replace a worn out brake lines in your car:

  1. The first thing you need to do is to inspect the brake line of each wheel and trace the line coming from the master cylinder The line material is rubber and holds up well from the standpoint of chemical stability to the brake fluid. Rubber lines need extremely close inspection as damage or wear may be difficult to see.
  2. TIP: At the first sign of wear, have the brake line replaced. It is a good practice to change all the brake lines at the same time.
  3. Measure the distance for each brake line. If you always replace all the brake lines when one line shows any wear, you can use rubber tubing as the replacement lines. However, if you are not going to replace all of them, then you should definitely replace the lines with stainless steel lines.
  4. Begin at the master cylinder. As you are disconnecting the old brake line, make the new connection with the replacement hose. Follow the path of each of the four lines all the way to the wheel and the end of the brake line.
  5. The final step is to bleed each brake line to remove all the air and refill the system with brake fluid. Remember: Test your brakes before taking it out for a drive.
It is better to diagnose a break problem earlier than to experience losing control of your brakes along your travel. Here are some measures on how to identify some of the break problems in your car.

  • Check the brake fluid if the brake light is on.
  • A high pitched scraping or squealing noise that goes away when you step on the brake tells you that the brake pads are worn — only detected when there is a wear sensor attached on breaks.
  • Note that a grinding, metal-against-metal sound when braking indicates that: Your brake pads or shoes are completely worn and you are now ruining the rotors or drums. You should check your breaks earlier.
  • If the brake pedal is soft or mushy or gets harder and higher when you pump it, you might need to bleed the brakes.
  • Take note: You might be in need of a new brake master cylinder if the brake pedal slowly sinks to the floor when you step on it.
  • If the brakes squeal, you might need new brake pads while your drive your car at low speed and you step on the brakes, the brake rotors might need to be resurfaced or machined.
  • You might have insufficient hydraulic pressure in one part of the brake system, or one brake might be sticking if your car pulls to one side when braking. Front-end problems can also cause this symptom.
  • If you feel a pulsation when stepping on the brake pedal, particularly when braking at higher speeds you rotors might be defective. Your car might have warped brake rotors. The rotors will need to be either machined or replaced.
  • Once your car has smoking brakes which is usually accompanied by a very bad smell it indicates a stuck brake caliper or wheel cylinder. It may also be caused by driving with the hand brake on or by a stuck hand-brake cable.

Installing a break caliper yourself can save you from shelling out loads of money for a professional mechanic to do the job for you. Here’s the procedure for installing a new break caliper in your car. Hope this one helps you a lot!

The fist thing you need to do is to inspect the brake calipers mounting bolts, or slide pins, for excessive corrosion or damage. Replace them if needed. Clean and lubricate the caliper bushing, or slide pins, with brake cleaner. The next thing you need to do is to ensure that the brake hose is not tangled or crimped in any way that would cause problems with the hydraulic function of the hose.

Then, rotate the caliper onto its mounting stud. Tighten the mounting bolts, or slide pins, with your hand to ensure the threads are matching up correctly. Reinstall the brake hose and banjo bolt using new copper washers. Tighten to torque specifications in your vehicle’s manual. Bleed the brakes (doing this process is indicated in the manual of your car). Then you need to tighten the wheel lug nuts as well. Lower the vehicle off the jack stands. The last step is to depress the brake pedal firmly a few times to get the pads back against the disc.

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