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Tag Archives: Tips

26- When do I need to change my windshield wipers?

Your windshield wipers need to be replaced when they don’t properly clean your windshield. That may be in 6 months or several years. The time may vary because of several factors, but the two primary factors are how you store your vehicle and how much you use the wipers. If you live in an area where it rains a lot, your wipers see far more use than drier climates causing the rubber blades to wear faster. Storing your vehicle in a garage or shaded area means the sun’s radiation won’t have as much of an effect on the rubber blades and they may last longer. Wiper use and the sun’s effect on rubber plays a large part in wiper life; but there are numerous other factors that can come into play as well such as: How good is the wiper to begin with? Is it a low-end rubber or a higher end blade? Did you know there is a difference? Was the blade properly installed so it lays properly against the windshield? Do you use your windshield washers to clean yo ... read more

24- Why are my trailer batteries always dead?

RV batteries go dead for a few reasons. The first reason is age; RV batteries are designed for deep cycles of use which means they get charged and then discharged often times, severely. This type of use is what they are designed for. A couple of issues come up with this pattern of use; the first issue is that many RV batteries never get fully charged. Most every device in an RV, less maybe the microwave and air conditioner, require 12 volts to operate. After a couple of days use doing what is called “dry camping” (no power hook ups), the average RV battery will be pretty depleted and have less than 12 volts. Once the voltage drops, things don’t work well and if the voltage drops too much, nothing will work but perhaps dim lighting. RV’s are built with electric devices called inverter/chargers. These units are designed to convert 110 volts (shore power) to 12 volts. When plugged in, the same unit charges the battery. All works well when plugged in, but when unplugged, is wh ... read more

19 – The Forgotten Fluid

There is a hard working fluid in almost every car that gets little to no attention. The forgotten fluid is power steering fluid. For some reason the manufacturers never recommend changing it; maybe its because the system is closed and the components are few. But nothing lasts forever. Virtually all modern cars have power steering, and, almost all modern cars have automatic transmissions. In most cases, they use the same hydraulic fluids; yet according to the owner’s manual the transmission may have several fluid changes throughout its life. With the power steering fluid, zero changes are recommended. Maybe there is some logical reason we don’t know about; but I seriously doubt it. Lets be honest, the power steering hoses, pump, and steering units in almost any car is going to last 100,000 miles; long enough to put it past any warranty. Meaning the manufacturer will never have to deal with fa ... read more

17 – What is that odor from my A/C Vents?

The musty/mildew type of smell that comes from your vents when you first turn on the car air conditioner, is exactly what it smells like: musty, moldy – mildew. You ask, “how does this happen? I take good care of my car and keep it clean” The biological activity is not from what you see but from what you don’t see. The odor is a result of moisture from your car’s evaporator cooling unit. The collection of dust, pollen and spores condensing together in a warm moist dark environment is the perfect habitat for this smelly condition. So now you know how it got there. What to do to get rid of it? There are several things that can be done to remove the foul A/C smell. If your car has a cabin air filter make sure it is changed at least once a year. This helps to block dust, pollen and spores from getting to your evaporator in the first place. In dusty, humid or heavy pollen areas use recirculated air. Again, to minimize the bad stuff. Under normal conditions (dr ... read more

16 – Why should I change my brake fluid?

Because not changing the brake fluid can cost a lot of money and perhaps cause an accident. How so, you ask. Well, you need to understand the basics of your brake system to put this together in your mind. The brakes in your car are hydraulic. This means the brake fluid (which is not compressible) is forced mechanically (by the action of your foot on the pedal) to compress the brake calipers, which squeezes the brake pads against the brake rotors. By squeezing the rotors, the wheels which are attached, slow down. A tremendous amount of hydraulic force is required to stop a car. In turn this force causes a tremendous amount of friction between the brake pads and the rotors. The by-product of friction is heat…a lot of heat. All fluids have a boiling point and brake fluid is no different. But, if brake fluid boils it changes into a vapor (air) and since air is compressible, this means your brake pedal may get soft and spongy and your car won’t stop very well. In extreme cases ... read more

13 – The Used Low-Mileage Motor Home

We get this call every week: “I just bought this really low mileage motor home that’s older (10-20 years) and it needs a few things looked at. Can I bring it by this week? We have a trip planned soon and we want to get it checked out before we go.” Please don’t do that! You are buying a motor home to enjoy and take your family out for a good time. You are probably going to spend a fair amount of money for it. So why not get it inspected BEFORE you buy it? Mileage on the odometer means almost nothing on a motor home. The reason why is that they sit. And this is usually outside in the weather, uncovered and un-moved for 90% of their life. Since the majority of the critical parts of an RV are made of rubber and plastic they begin breaking down (hardening/cracking) within a few years of being built. If they sit in intensely cold or hot areas with direct sunlight, the aging process can accelerate at a tremendous rate. In a motorized RV the aging process usually starts at th ... read more

12 – What is Bondo?

Bondo is a trade name that has become synonymous with all plastic body fillers. Much like the brand name Kleenex which has universally become the name for tissue. Plastic fillers became popular in the 1960’s because of their ease of use and minimal toxicity. Prior to plastic filler all rough body work had to be smoothed through the use and application of molten lead. The lead was heated up to a liquid state and then applied to the dented metal with a wooden paddle. The lead had to be applied quickly and with expert ability. Needless to say it took a lot of practice and resources to use it. Lead was used in many different ways at that time and auto body was just one example. As time went on scientist discovered that lead was toxic and it was eventually eliminated from the body shop altogether. As for plastic fillers, they have continuously improved as dozens of companies now make their own versions of “Bondo”. Plastic fillers start as two components, a soft creamy subst ... read more

11 – What does car care aware mean?

Car care means a lot of things. For starters it means reading your owner’s manual so that you’re aware of what the manufacturer’s maintenance schedules are. It means paying close attention to how your car starts every day. How it runs when it’s cold. How it runs when it’s hot. Does it steer with a hesitation and go straight down the road? Do the brakes stop effortlessly and without noise or vibration?When you are outside of your car at night, do all the lights work? Are the headlamps aimed straight ahead? Do the headlamps reach as far down the road as they used to or are they faded and yellowed? Does your transmission shift smoothly and consistently? Do you have any occasional or constant warning lamps on your instrument panel? How about doors and locks? Do they open and close without any effort and not allow any wind or rain in as you drive? Is the air conditioning blowing as cold as it used to? Do you smell funny smells or do you have fluid leaks? Is the car clean and waxed regu ... read more

6 – How often should I wax my car and is there an easy way to do it?

Waxing your car should be done at least twice a year. If you are using a pure wax (versus an abrasive cleaner/wax) you can wax your car as often as you would like. The easiest way to wax your car is to do it in sections. Always wash, rinse, and wax your car when the surface is cool. When waxing work in sections perhaps a quarter of the car at a time. Focus on the top surfaces since they get the most sun damage and never get a break from ultra violet radiation. With all of the U.V’s it is easy to understand why these surfaces become dull, chalky, and flaky before the rest of the finish. So why do you say work in sections? Well this is for several reasons, first and foremost if you look at the task of waxing as several small jobs instead of one big job you are more likely to get it done. You don’t have to wax your entire car in one stop. Wax one section at a time until you slowly make your way around your vehicle. If you do this each time you wash your car and on a regular b ... read more

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5 – Do I need to buy name brand gas?

Technically no. But, your engine and it’s components might be happier if you did. Quality fuel has better refinement than lesser refined fuel. Like wine, if you start off with better grapes you’ll end up with better wine. A higher grade of crude oil that has better refinement will end up as a better grade of fuel. (Regardless of octane ratings). Refiners have a choice when producing fuel. Lower quality fuels have less refinement. Less refinement means undesirable compounds for your engine and fuel system. Things like olefins and di-olefins any numbers of undesirable compounds are left in gasolines that are less refined. Your engine has to be able to rid itself of these or long term problems can arise. Poor quality fuels can raise your vehicles emissions, lower fuel mileage cause stumbling, rough idle, clogs and deposits in places that wouldn’t have them. In short long term use of cheap fuel, will probably cause long term and costly repairs down the line. So what sh ... read more

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San Jose , Tips
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