Tuesday, 21 November 2017

5 Causes of Automatic Transmission Fluid Leaks

If there is a leak of red transmission fluid that occurs underneath your vehicle, this is never a good sign. It will form stains on your garage floor but more importantly, it will cost you lots of money in repairing the leak and replacing the fluid.

The Top 5 Causes of Automatic Transmission Fluid Leaks
Your transmission may leak because of minor issues or critical issues. Despite which kind of issue that it is, you should never let a leaky transmission wait. Get it checked right away. If you wait to get a simple repair done, the problem will get much worse and cost you more money to fix. Below are the 5 main causes of automatic transmission fluid leaks.

1) Oil Pan & Drain Plug
There will eventually be wear and tear of your transmission pan. If the pan gets a small puncture or there are loose drain plugs or bolts, then a leak can occur. While on the road driving, the pan of your transmission could get damaged from all the loose rocks and debris on the road. If a big rock or other object were to damage the pan, the transmission will lose fluid quickly. You will know right away when this is happening. On the other hand, a small hole or puncture will take longer for you to notice. If your drain plugs or bolts are not tightened enough, they could cause a leak too. You can do this after you change the fluid.

2) Fluid Line is Cracked
The fluid line of a transmission is constructed of either steel or aluminum. This line is extremely durable but if it gets damaged with debris or exposed to heat too often, then the line will break or crack in time.

3) Seals are Broken
An automatic transmission sustains hydraulic pressure by using lots of transmission seals. However, over time, these seals will crack and get worn out, especially when being exposed to heat often. If you get a transmission leak from this, there are many areas of the transmission to check. You could inspect the pan gasket, plug seals, sensors, shifter housing seal, input shaft seal, output shaft seal, tail housing seal, and speedometer input seal.

4) Torque Converter Leakage
Transmission fluid is propelled into the whole system by the torque pump. If this torque pump has a crack anywhere on its body, it will leak transmission fluid.

5) Oil Pan Gasket Fails
Oil pan gaskets can be damaged or cracked due to poor manufacturing or constant exposure to hot temperatures. The oil pan gasket is cheap to replace so do it right away. Otherwise, more serious problems will occur.

The Method for Inspection
The auto mechanic will observe where the transmission fluid leak is coming from. They will be able to tell the location based on the dripping of this fluid. Most of the time, the transmission fluid will go down a path that has the least resistance to it. If the leak is caused by a part that is loose, this part will get tightened by the mechanic. If the part is damaged or cracked, then it will be replaced. Before any of this work is done though, the mechanic will give you an estimate on how much this will all cost to perform.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

5 Causes of Lower Control Arm Bushing Noise

The lower control arm bushing is located in the suspension system of your vehicle. It is a rubber component which has two metal sleeves inside of it. It is responsible for allowing the control arm to connect to the frame of the vehicle and the wheel hub. That way, every time you turn the steering wheel, your vehicle will move smoothly in that direction. In normal situations, you will not hear any noises coming from the lower control arm bushing. It will be silent and with no vibrations or issues. On the other hand, if there is a problem with the bushing, then noises can arise.

Top 5 Causes of Lower Control Arm Bushing Noises
Someone who is unfamiliar with cars might not understand what is happening when they hear strange clunking noises. Although there are many reasons for why abnormal noises might occur in a vehicle, a problem with the lower control arm bushing will create very distinct noises. These noises almost resemble a knocking sound from around the control arm area.

Below are the Top 5 Causes of Lower Control Arm Bushing Noises:

Worn Bushings – Bushings do not last forever. The more mileage that is put on your vehicle, the more excessively worn your lower control arm bushing gets. You will first start to hear a light clunking sound but as the bushing gets more worn, the clunking sound will get louder and more consistent.

Loose Bushings – If you have a loose lower control arm bushing, then it will get knocked around between the metal components that surround it. This might not necessarily mean the bushing is worn. Perhaps you drove over a bump which loosened it. Either that or a mechanic may have accidentally loosened it while working on another area of your vehicle. Whatever the reason, loose bushings will consistently make the same knocking sounds.

Broken Bushings – A lower control arm bushing could break from being too worn out. It could also have been damaged accidentally by a mechanic who was working on something else. A broken bushing will create very loud clunking noises, which won’t be gradually louder like the worn bushings.

Uneven Terrain – If you drive over uneven terrains, such as gravel or a rocky road, then the knocking or clunking sounds that you hear will be amplified. A bushing in good condition would not get loosened or rattle around from driving over this kind of terrain. But if the bushing is not secured in its place, the erratic motion of the vehicle as it drives over this terrain could make the bushings loosen more.

Taking Off – If you have loose bushings, then you will hear the knocking noises the loudest as you’re taking off in your vehicle. For example, when your vehicle is parked somewhere, and you switch the gear to drive and then step on the gas pedal, then the knocking will be the loudest at this point.
Read also: What Happens if you Put Gasoline in a Diesel Engine

How to Fix
If the bushing is just loose, then it was either knocked loose or not installed correctly. Chances are, you will be able to save this bushing by just tightening it. However, in most situations, your bushing will be worn out and you will have to replace it. Either way, you should take the vehicle to an auto body professional, so they can perform this repair or replacement job for you.

It is not a good idea to ignore the clunking or knocking noises because this could lead up to a steering malfunction where you won’t be able to control your vehicle’s direction anymore. It is best to get the problem solved at your earliest convenience.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Symptoms of a bad lower control arm bushing

The suspension system of every vehicle has something called a control arm bushing. The bushing is comprised of two sleeves of metal that are encased in rubber. It is positioned between the vehicle’s frame and the control arm. As you may know, the control arm is what connects the frame to the wheel hub. This is how you’re able to steer the vehicle. If there are any issues with any of these parts, such as the lower control arm bushing, then your driving experience will be impacted.

The basic function of lower control arm bushing
The purpose of a bushing is to reduce the amount of vibration created between the frame and the wheels underneath it. That way, you have a nice pleasant drive without any unpleasant or inconvenient disturbances. Without these bushings, you would have metal making contact with other metal and that would cause all kinds of negative symptoms. These symptoms will be recognizable right away as they occur.

If you’re driving a standard front-wheel drive car, then it will only contain a lower control arm and a lower control arm bushing. It is the 4-wheel drive cars like SUVs and trucks which have both a lower control arm and upper control arm with bushings for each. Chances are, if you’re driving an economy class car, then it just has a lower control arm.

Top 3 Common Symptoms
Like most parts of your vehicle, the lower control arm bushings are going to wear out after a while. Once this happens, you can expect a lot of problems to arise while you’re driving as a result. Assuming you’re driving a front-wheel drive car, below are the top 3 common symptoms that you can expect to see if your lower control arm bushing starts to go bad.

Clunking Sounds – When your lower control arm bushing becomes too loose or worn out, then you will start to hear a clunking sound coming from underneath your car. This sound is caused by the bushing getting knocked between the frame and the control arm. You will hear this sound get even louder if you’re driving over rocky or rough terrain that is not flat. Over time, the sound will continue to get louder until the bushing eventually breaks altogether.

Vibrating Steering Wheel – When your lower control arm bushing begins to go bad, the first symptom you should notice is a vibrating steering wheel. You’ll feel the vibration in your hands as you steer the vehicle on the road. As you step on the gas pedal and increase the vehicle’s acceleration, the vibrations will become more intense. This is something that will easily get annoying so you’ll want to do something about it quickly.

Steering Wheel Pulling – Do you notice your steering wheel pulling too much to either the left or right as you’re driving? If your bushings are too worn out, then the steering alignment of your vehicle will be off center. Although this won’t put your life in immediate danger, it will require you to work harder as a driver because you’ll always have to keep the steering wheel steady so that the car continues to drive straight.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

10 Signs Your Car Needs an Oil Change and Tune-up

Engine oil is like the blood of every car. The engine needs oil to lubricate its moving components and keep them operating smoothly. In fact, engines of all kinds need oil in order to function. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a motorcycle, generator, or even a lawnmower. If it’s got an engine, then it needs to be lubricated with oil.

An engine is filled with parts that are constantly moving and rubbing together. This constant rubbing creates heat from all the friction. You need oil to flow through these moving parts so that it can absorb the heat and prevent overheating.

The Top 10 Signs
There are so many different signs that will show up which indicate that your vehicle needs an oil change and possibly a tune-up. When you take your vehicle in for an oil change, the service person will usually inspect your vehicle and then give you additional recommendations on what they think needs to be done. However, you shouldn’t always depend on them to do this accurately because they might not always catch every issue. That is why you need to pay attention to the signs which indicate that you need a tune-up of some kind.

Below are the top 10 signs of your car needing an oil change and/or a tune-up.

Car Stalling – If you’re driving and your vehicle begins to stall, then you could have a big or small problem. A small problem would be if you have a clogged fuel filter or bad spark plugs. Something like this can be replaced with a simple tune-up.

Difficulty Starting Engine – If you notice that you’re consistently having problems turning on your engine, then you might need to replace your battery. You may notice the engine hesitating before it starts up while the lights on the dashboard dim a bit. Clearly, you need a tune-up that involves a new battery.

Warning Lights – The computers and sensors in vehicles today make it easier for them to detect a problem early on before it gets worse. If you notice an indicator light illuminating on your dashboard, use your owner’s manual to see what that light means. Warning lights will warn you about all kinds of problems such as low battery, taillight burned out, transmission malfunction, and so on. However, if you need an oil change, then you will see the oil change light illuminate. In some cars, it is the check engine light.

Vibration on Flat Surfaces – If you notice your car vibrating on flat surfaces or roads, there could be many different reasons for this. Sometimes, though, you might just need to balance your tires or possibly get new ones if the treads are worn. There could be low air pressure in your tires or a faulty universal joint as well.

Overheating – If you don’t have enough oil in your engine or if the oil hasn’t been changed in a while, then it won’t do as good a job of lubricating the engine’s components. This will cause the engine to heat up more and eventually overheat. An oil change will fix this problem.

Loud Noises – Engine oil gets old and worn after a while. That is why car manufacturers recommend you change your oil every 5,000 miles or so. If you have old oil in your vehicle, then it is likely getting dirtier and thicker. This will make it harder for the oil to lubricate your engine’s components. As a result, your engine will begin making loud noises because of the lubrication failure. Get an oil change right away.

Oil Smell – If the interior cabin of your vehicle is starting to smell like oil, then you know you have some problem with your oil. It usually means there is an oil leak and that it is burning due to an overheated engine. You’ll want to fix that overheating problem and then change your oil right afterward.

Exhaust Smoke – If you live in a cold environment then you are used to seeing vapor emitting from the tailpipe of your vehicle. However, if you actually start seeing smoke come out of it, then you probably have an oil leak. The smoke is the result of less oil being in your engine to lubricate its parts, due to the leak. So, get the leak fixed and the oil replaced.

Dark Oil – If you’ve ever seen clean oil before, it kind of has a bright amber color to it. But when oil becomes old and dirty from the build-up of residue particles in the engine, then it becomes a much darker color. You should make it a habit of sticking a dipstick into the oil of your engine and then removing it. The color that gets onto the stick is the color of the oil. If it’s dark, then you need to change your oil.

Shifting Hesitation – If you are driving an automatic vehicle, then you should have no problems with shifting between gears. But if there is hesitation or lag when you shift gears, it could mean that you need new transmission fluid or filters. Of course, it could mean a worse problem too. That is why taking your car in for a tune-up will at least detect what the problem is.

What does a tune-up involve?
We’ve all heard the term “tune-up” as it relates to vehicles. You might think a tune-up means getting an oil change and having your windshield washed. But in actuality, there is a lot more to a tune-up than that. A tune-up means you are having various components and parts of your vehicle inspected and replaced if they are worn out. Some of these areas include your distributor cap, fuel filter, PCV valve, air filter, spark plugs, brakes, hoses, belts, and wires. The service person will also check your idle speed, idle mixture, sensors, and ignition timing. If any of these areas are not normal, they will be adjusted appropriately.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Car Thermostat Functions and Failure Symptoms

In this article we are going to explain about one important part in the engine systems and related to the cooling systems. This part called thermostat valve, so you will know the basic functions, failure symptoms and also the average replacement cost. And here we go:

Basic Functions
The main function of a car thermostat is to control the amount of coolant that goes into the engine.  The thermostat will typically open whenever the engine starts to warm up. For example, when you’re driving your vehicle for a while, the engine will get hotter. This causes the thermostat to open and let the coolant flow right through the engine. That way, it will cool the engine off and prevent it from overheating. On the flip side, if you leave your car engine running while you’re parked somewhere, the thermostat will remain shut because the engine will already be cool from staying idle.

A functional thermostat will know when the right time to open because it has a sensor which detects the current operating temperature of the engine. As you operate your vehicle, the thermostat is normally open for most of the time because the engine needs to consistently be cooled off from the coolant. This sustains normal temperatures in the engine which helps it maintain the quality of its performance.

Of course, there are outside influences which may affect the temperature of the engine as well. The temperature of the environment around you is a perfect example of this. Cold and hot temperatures outside play a key role as to whether the thermostat is closed or open. But as long as you have a functional thermostat, then it will know when to perform either task.

Top 5 Failure Symptoms
When your car thermostat fails, it will impair the operation and functionality of your engine. Fortunately, there will be some easily recognizable symptoms that you will notice when this happens. You should take it upon yourself to replace your thermostat promptly if it turns out that it’s worn out or faulty. If you don’t do this promptly, then your engine could suffer irreversible damage the longer it is overheated.

Below are the top 5 symptoms that will indicate a failing thermostat in your vehicle.

Temperature Change – The first noticeable symptom is when the temperature inside of your vehicle changes suddenly. It may start off by dropping to a very low temperature and then suddenly spike up to a very high temperature. Any change in temperature that doesn’t reflect your current air settings will mean that something is wrong with the thermostat.

Coolant Leaking – A faulty thermostat will likely cause it to remain in its closed position. This means when the engine turns hot and the coolant flows toward it, the closed thermostat will block the coolant from going into the engine. This will cause the coolant to overflow from the thermostat housing. If it stays like this and you don’t do anything to fix it, your coolant hoses will be the next things that leak. The quickest way to see if you’re leaking coolant is to just check under your vehicle.
If you see greenish liquid leaking out of your vehicle and staining the surface underneath, then you definitely have a coolant leakage situation.

Engine Overheating – Most drivers are used to their temperature gauge showing a normal temperature. However, if you have a faulty thermostat, you will notice that needle in the temperature gauge moving toward the red area very quickly. This indicates that the engine is unusually getting hotter and it needs to be cooled off soon. This symptom should occur within 10 or 15 minutes of starting your engine.

Rumbling Noises – If temperature changes were not bad enough, you will begin hearing strange rumbling noises as well. These noises will be coming from your radiator, engine, or both. The noise could also resemble a knocking sound, boiling sound, or gurgling sound as well. Basically, if you’re hearing strange noises that you shouldn’t be hearing and you experience one of the other symptoms listed here, then you most certainly have a thermostat problem.

Heater Malfunctions – If you live in a northern environment where it is colder outside, you may an opposite temperature problem in your vehicle. Sometimes when the thermostat is faulty, it could be stuck in the open position rather than the closed position. This means it will keep letting coolant flow into the engine, even when the engine doesn’t need it. If you’re trying to produce heat in the winter time and your thermostat is open, then you won’t get the heat that you want to warm yourself off.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

5 Causes of car engine low compression and how to fix

Car engine compression refers to when air and gas are mixed together in the cylinders of an engine. This process is required for the car to move and function. If there are any problems with the compression process, then you will experience all kinds of car problems.

It will be easy to tell when you have a low compression problem because you may experience a misfire when you try to start the engine. Either that or the engine will provide a weak performance as you’re driving the vehicle down the road. The worst-case scenario would be the car not starting if all the cylinders have no compression.

Top 5 Common Causes
There are many reasons why low compression might exist in a car engine. Sometimes there will be low compression in just one cylinder of the engine and other times there will be low compression in all cylinders. You just have to understand the main possible causes of low compression in a car engine and then fix or replace whatever is damaged. Below are the top 5 causes of low compression in car engines.

Holes in Piston – You probably know that the cylinders of an engine have pistons in them. These pistons are typically made from aluminum alloy and are supposed to be able to handle the power of combustion. However, if there overheating in the engine, then hot spots will get onto the piston.

After a while, these spots will burn holes right through the piston. Once that happens, gases will leak through these holes and cause low compression to take place.

Leaky Valves – The top of each cylinder contains exhaust valves and intake valves. Air and fuel go into the intake valve for the combustion process. The gases which form from this go out of the exhaust valve. If these valves become overheated, they could start to leak gas prematurely out of them. Once this happens, you have low compression.

Worn Timing Belt – There is a timing belt in every engine which connects the camshaft and crankshaft together. If the timing belt were to be broken or damaged, the camshaft would no longer be able to turn anymore. This means it cannot open or close the exhaust valve or intake valve properly. As a result, the combustion in the cylinders will be ruined and no gases can get released. So, you have low compression because of it.

Head Gasket Fails – There is a gasket between the area on top of the engine where the cylinder head is connected. If for some reason the gasket becomes faulty and starts to break, then it will leave a tiny hole in between the cylinder and its head. This causes the gases in the cylinder to leak out of the hole in the gasket. Then you will have low compression and a weak engine.

Bad Piston Rings – Overheating can cause the rings of the piston to become damaged or broken. This will cause carbon gases to leak through the rings because they are no longer able to seal them inside of the cylinder.

How to Fix
The first thing you need to do is use a compression gauge and test to see if there is actually low compression in your engine. This process will usually take 45 minutes so make sure you have some free time on your hands. If you don’t have a compression gauge, then you can either purchase one or take the car to the auto shop and have them test the compression for you.

If they find there is low compression, the next step is to inspect the cylinder, piston, valves, and gasket to see if any of them are damaged or broken. From there, you can replace whatever is damaged. However, this will be a lengthy and costly job because it involves taking out the engine. Be prepared for that.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

4 Causes of Timing Belt Problems and The Symptoms

A timing belt in an automobile is an engine part which is a toothed or ribbed belt which is generally driven by the crankshaft in the engine. A timing belt’s primary function is simply to ensure that all of the crank and cam shaft components within an engine are moving in sync with each other.

While every car or truck is going to be different in terms of when they will need their timing belt replaced, there are average mileage levels for cars when they start becoming prone to timing belt issues. For many manufacturers, this rating will generally be about 40,000 to 60,000 miles, but again this is depending on which car manufacturer you ask.

One primary factor that will determine how long a timing belt component is going to last in a given make or model of car is the climate in which that car is being driven. If it is being operated in a very cold climate, then this could provide an additional stress to the timing belt. This can become a cause of accelerated wear and tear on a timing belt. Also, an extremely hot climate can also serve to more quickly degrade the structure of this critical engine belt.

4 Common Causes of Timing Belt Problems and the Symptoms

#1 – Although some timing belt assemblies are going to be more difficult to access than others, gaining access to the belt will allow for a visual inspection. If a timing belt is showing visible cracking, or is showing spots of coolant or oil, then this can be a fairly clear cut sign that the belt should be replaced to avoid potential damage to the engine if it were to fail while driving out on the road.

#2 – A second potential cause that can tell a driver that their timing belt is beginning to fail is that the car or truck will begin to have a hard time starting up. If a vehicle starts demonstrating a characteristic of needing several tried to actually ignite the engine, then this can be another fairly solid indicator that a timing belt issue could be the problem and it may be time for a replacement.

#3 – A third cause that can help to alert a driver to potential timing belt issues is strange sounds coming from the engine area. These strange sounds will often seem like a high pitched noise coming from the engine, and it may even be a kind of violent shrieking sound. This is obviously not a good condition for a car to be in. If high pitched noises are coming from the engine, then it may be time to have the timing belt replaced.

#4 – A final symptom that can serve as a sign that a timing belt may need changing is if the belt is either hanging a bit, or if it is misaligned at all. Sometimes, these two timing belt symptoms will show up at the same time and this could mean an under-tensioning of the timing belt. This is a scenario where the belt may not need replaced, but simply modified and re-tightened.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

5 Causes Of Wheel Bearing Noise And How To Identify

After you use a bearing, it starts to cool off and then a vacuum is generated from the lubricant, air, and contacting metal. The seals should hold the vacuum in place.

If not, the sealed hub or the bearing will start pulling in air from the outside, which may include water and other debris. If you are in a certain location in the U.S. which has salty roads, it would be like smothering your wheel bearings with ocean water, resulting in the wheel bearing being damaged or have noise coming from it.

What causes noise from the wheel bearings?
Wheel bearings are attached to the wheel and are constantly moving. Since the wheels are touching the road while driving, there could be a variety of reasons why the wheel bearing is making these strange noises or enduring damage. The main reasons are below.

1. Poorly Installed

If your wheel bearings got replaced not too long ago, then it would be very strange if they were failing any time after that. The only conclusion is that the wheel bearings endured damage because they were installed improperly or against the manufacturer’s recommendation.

2. Driving On The Street Floods

The manufacturer of a car lubricates the wheel bearings. If they used a lubricant that is based from petroleum, it will cause pressure on the wheel bearings if they become disturbed. Wheel bearing seals are designed by engineers in a way so the pressure can leave the wheel bearings. The only bad thing is that these seals cannot stop water from getting through. This means if you were to drive your car on a street that is flooded with water, then your bearings would be subjected to moisture. Once that happens, it mixes with the lubricant and makes it ineffective, causing the bearings to endure damage. You would not be able to service or repair a modern style wheel bearing either. The only solution from water damage is to replace the wheel bearing completely.

3. Driving On The Rough Roads

The wheel bearing will receive all the pressure of the tire and wheel. If you were to drive over a bumpy curb or pothole, the wheel bearing could be subjected to damage very easily. When you hit something, the bearing’s balls will likely get forced into the race. The result will be small imperfections in the bearings. As you continue to drive the car with these imperfect bearings, it will cause more wear and heat to form. Soon the wear will cause debris to form and this will pollute the lubricant of the wheel bearing and make it fail a lot faster. However, it is possible the failure could take a few months before it is noticeable.

4. Unbalanced Tires and Bad Shock

The wheel system depends on its wheel bearing, tire, lower arm, lower joint, knuckle arm, and shock. When there are unbalanced tires on a car that you’re driving, some of those other parts could be damaged and then it will make noise come from the wheel bearing.

5. Accident On The Wheel Area

Wheel bearings are constantly in motion and they are connected to all the other parts mentioned in the last section. So, if the wheel area were to be subjected to an accident, then the wheel bearing would be 100% damaged and then cause noise to form.

How to Identify Damage or Noise of a Wheel Bearing
Take a jack and use it to lift the vehicle up until the tire is not on the ground. Now try moving the tire in a vertical direction, and then a horizontal one. If the wheel feels free play, then there might be damage to the bearing.

A video has been made to demonstrate how to perform this inspection of the wheel bearing. Just remember the noise you hear from the wheel bearing tends to vary. The noise you hear depends on how badly the wheel bearing is damaged.

Speed may also contribute to the noise from the wheel bearing. Sometimes you may go 100 km/h and hear the noise, but then go 110km/h and not hear the noise anymore. This may happen only if there is a small amount of damage to the bearing. Therefore, you may not be able to notice this right away. You will only be able to tell by feeling the tire free play like mentioned above. At this point, take your car to the auto body shop and have it looked at by a professional. They can figure out if there is damage to the wheel bearing or if another part is damaged like the wheel rim or the tire.