This article is to be a quick guide to the most common problems that cause the car to turn on its ‘check engine’ light. It is something of an efficient system, meant for a catch-all trouble indicator. The ‘check engine’ light is wired up to remote sensors all over your vehicle, which is meant to head off trouble before it becomes a big problem.
#1: Failing Catalytic Converter
Additional symptom: Car backfires, emits smoke, smells strongly of exhaust.
This is the most common repair. The catalytic converter is a part of the exhaust system under the car. It’s job is to re-burn spent fuel after it leaves your engine, to ensure that your exhaust burns clean and your car gets the best mileage possible per tank of gas. The repair can be kind of pricey because catalytic converters require platinum, a rare precious metal. However, the part is easy to get at underneath the car, so the labor costs to replace it are low.
#2: Spark Plugs or Spark Plug Wires Failing
Additional symptom: Engines sputters and stalls often, runs “rough.”
This is the second most common problem with internal combustion engines. Just like the flint on a cigarette lighter, a spark plug ignites the fuel inside your car’s engine. These ignitions have to be timed perfectly in cycles of four, six, or eight, depending on the number of cylinders your engine has. Spark plugs and the spark plug wires are sold at any auto parts store and aren’t very hard to replace yourself, but a mechanic is still the best bet for a professional job.
#3: Mass Air Flow Sensor Malfunction
Additional symptom: Car stalls often, hard to start.
Along with fuel, your engine needs to have air intake to mix with the fuel. Too little air or poorly filtered air makes it hard for your engine to operate efficiently. The mass air flow sensor is connected to your air intake system, and its an integral part because it signals your engine whether it needs more or less fuel to operate. Replacing this is cheap, but a technical job only a mechanic should tackle.
#4: Dying Battery or Battery Charging System
Additional symptom: Car won’t start, or often stalls and can’t start again.
This one is pretty intuitive: it’s a dead battery. Along with the battery, there’s the re-charging system which includes an alternator. Your alternator is powered by the engine, and it acts like a generator reclaiming spent electrical energy to charge the battery again. Either of these parts, or a general failure in the electrical system, will be an immediate problem that has to be dealt with at once.
#5: Failing Vacuum Hose
Additional symptom: Engine runs “rough,” unevenly, vibrates heavily, loses power on acceleration.
Vacuum hoses are the central nervous system of your car’s engine. They power all the sensors to tell your car’s computer the exact state of the engine. An engine has to have a lot of moving parts coordinated in order to function; these hoses monitor part ‘A’ to tell part ‘B’ when to turn, so to speak. Think of a vacuum hose failure as a car losing its “coordination.” Vacuum hoses are cheap and easy to replace, but very difficult to diagnose, so only a mechanic can tackle this problem.
When in doubt, take the car to a professional service technician, like those at American Transmission Center. A quick diagnostic is usually free, depending on your car’s service plan.
Many people don’t know there are many laws regarding truck beds. The cargo area of a truck can hold any number of things, but there are regulations that dictate how you should use it. New truck owners and even those that have utilized trucks for years are often caught unawares by their local laws.
Legal Concerns Involving Truck Beds
The first thing you need to know is that truck bed regulations vary from state to state. If you regularly travel across a border, then you should become familiar with the truck bed laws of the other state as well as your own. In general, truck bed laws involve the following:
For all of these regulations and more, you should contact your state’s transportation department. You’re relatively okay with your day-to-day activities, but it’s better to know than not know.
Personal Concerns Involving Truck Beds
Beyond the legalities associated with your truck bed, there are also the personal concerns.
These are all concerns that people with truck beds often have. The security issue is a large one since many truck beds sit open and accessible at all times. However, there is one good way that can satisfy most of your personal concerns and many of the legal ones as well.
Invest in a Truck Cap or Shell
Truck caps can do a whole lot for your vehicle. On the legal side, they allow you to cover the cargo while also forming a secure barrier for whatever it is. On the personal side, they can secure your cargo from theft and the weather. You can find a style to match your vehicle and give it an updated look and feel.
There are many truck bed sizes and styles, so it’s best to deal with a truck accessories dealer like J & C Campers that has a wide selection and quality products. They can help you size, customize, and even install the truck cap that’s right for your vehicle.
Are you interested in rust proofing your car, but are not sure what type of rust protection methodology to opt for? Then consider a method that applies a primer electronically, or also known as e-coating. This is the most popular rust proofing method used today because of the strong bond that is formed between the metal bodywork and the primer system. As a result, the ability to resist rust is better than with other options. Here is how electronic rust protection works.
For there to be high quality adherence of the primer to the bodywork the surface has to be prepped. Typically this is done by etching the metal bodywork with a mild acid, which is done by dipping the entirety of the body in a pool of acid. However, if the rust protection is applied to the different parts of the bodywork in stages, then the bodywork can also be dipped into the acid pool in stages.
2. Paint Application
After the acid dip, the bodywork will need to be dipped into another pool where the paint will be applied that provides the rust-proof property. Furthermore, some manufacturers might rotate the bodywork while in the pool in order to ensure that the coverage of the paint application process is complete. The bonding itself is done via an electromagnetism process, which is completed by charging the bodywork with one polarity and then the bath with the opposite one. It is the difference in the polarity that allows the paint and the bodywork to come together to form a very strong bond.
An advantage of this type of dip rust protection application is that 100% coverage will be achieved. Whereas, with manual spray techniques it will not be possible to get into all the crevices, and that’s where rust will begin to form.
Once the paint has been applied, another dip is required in order to clean the surface of any contaminants. Consequently, the bodywork is placed into the oven in order to cure the paint. This is advantageous because the heat will also reduce the drying time. From a manufacturing point of view this reduces costs because it helps speed up the production line. That in turn can reduce the cost of the rust protection on your end.
These 3 steps are an outline of a general process, different manufacturers will have their own way of doing rust protection.
For such a little thing, a car battery can cause a lot of frustration. Once your car battery starts going, you’ll often find yourself stranded — unless you have a battery pack on you. But there are ways that you can extend the life of your car battery, thus avoiding costly battery replacement charges and inconvenient calls to roadside assistance.
1. Never Leave It On
Everyone has had that moment: you left your car’s lights on and now it’s dead. Every single time you do this, you harm the battery. It isn’t just that you need to get your car jumped; you may also need to purchase a new battery entirely. Get into the habit of double checking your vehicle when you leave to make sure that the interior lights go off and you don’t have your daytime running lights on.
2. Disconnect When Not In Use
If your vehicle isn’t going to be in use for a while — such as when you’re on vacation — you should have someone knowledgeable disconnect the battery entirely. This will throw off your system clock, but this doesn’t have any other adverse side effects. There’s always some draw on the battery, however slight. If you leave the car idle for a long period of time, it’s likely it won’t be able to start when you come back.
3. Install an Insulation Blanket
An insulation blanket fits over the battery and helps avoid temperature extremes. Like all batteries, a car battery functions poorly when it’s either too hot or too cold. Prolonged exposure to these extremes — which can be especially bad if you do not keep your vehicle in an enclosed garage — could shorten the life of your battery.
4. Take It In For a Cleaning
You should check under your hood frequently to make sure that there aren’t any visible issues in your engine. In particular, if your battery looks like it’s becoming dirty or corroded, you may want to take it in to your mechanic for cleaning. In fact, if your car doesn’t start, sometimes it can actually be remedied by just cleaning off the battery pack.
If you find that your car’s battery is dying a lot, there may be something wrong with your vehicle. You may want to check with your mechanic. There may be something that is drawing power within your vehicle when it should be idle, such as a faulty interior or exterior light.