Tag Archives: Automotive Repair

How to clean your car's battery terminals

How to clean your car's battery terminals

A car that won't start can have many causes, from simple to super expensive. Before you have your vehicle towed, have your checked the battery cables? If they are corroded, that could be your problem. The corrosion may be preventing your battery cables from making contact with the battery. Corrosion will appear as a whitish powder where your battery terminals connect to the negative and positive posts on your battery. The substance is composed of sulfuric acid and hydrogen crystals that form when your battery gives off gas. You can clean it off yourself, but it's important to take certain precautions first, because sulfuric acid will burn through your skin and clothing if you touch it. First, make sure your engine is turned off. Then, use a wire brush to brush off the sulfuric acid powder. Starting with your negative terminal (your battery should be marked with a plus and a minus symbol at each terminal), loosen the nut attaching the cable to your battery with a wrench. The ... read more

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Battery

About car warranties

About car warranties

So you're looking to buy a new car and wondering if the warranty covers any problems you may encounter down the road. Even though the warranty may say "bumper to bumper" your coverage isn't necessarily. A new car warranty typically covers mechanical defects, says Autotrader. What it usually doesn't include are what's known as wear items; things that fall under maintenance because they wear out periodically. These include tires, brakes, engine belts and hoses, headlight bulbs, rust and a clutch, if you have a manual transmission. What it does cover are issues like a blown engine, a failed transmission or windows that won't open. Warranties won't cover your car's body panels, either, so an accident, crunch or a scrape is on your, and your insurance company. Likewise, if you damage a part of the interior, you also foot the bill, unless it's a manufacturer defect. Certain new car warranties are voided if you use your car in a way it wasn't ... read more

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Maintenance

My Window Won't Roll Down

My Window Won't Roll Down

Ever pulled up to a drive-through only to find that your car window won't go down when you push the button to order. It's frustrating. If you have electric (power) windows in your car - and most people do these days - the causes range from simple to complex. If the window won't budge if could be one of the simple causes, such as a loose connection or a blown fuse, which are easy fixes. The reason could also be a faulty switch. If the window has been acting up, sometimes working and sometimes not, but seems to be getting worse over time, the switch is often the culprit. If, when you play with the switch, it works intermittently, that's also a clue that the contacts might be coming apart. You can try pushing if several times to get it to open temporarily. Obviously, however, you'll have to have the switch replaced. Another reason your window may not be moving is the gaskets. Those are the rubber strips around the inside of your car's window opening that hold th ... read more

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Maintenance

Best Car Advice Comes From Shop Owners

Best Car Advice Comes From Shop Owners

I've had a lot of calls lately from my clients either looking to buy or sell a car or truck. Have you considered speaking to your repair shop when you are in the market to purchase a replacement vehicle or sell your existing one? It's a great place to go for either of these transactions. When you are looking to buy, your shop may not only know of a client who is looking to sell, but you will be able to buy with confidence knowing no one will know the car or truck better than those at the shop who serviced it. They will have records for when various services were performed and would most likely pass any service guarantees on to you as the new owner. When you are looking to sell your car, no one knows it better than your shop and staff may just have a buyer looking for a car like yours. Everybody wins and the new owner can drive away with confidence. I always encourage my clients who are purchasing a replacement vehicle, if they don't know anything about it, to bring it i ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

Don't Cut Corners on Brake Lines

Don't Cut Corners on Brake Lines

Q: I have a 2001 Ford Pickup Truck that I am getting ready to sell, and I noticed that the brake line going to the rear is wet with fluid. Is there a way to splice in a line or is there a cheaper way to repair than to replace the line? A: Unfortunately, you will need to replace the line. Anytime you are dealing with the hydraulic side of the brake system, you don’t want to cut any corners. If you have a brake line blow out on braking, it could be catastrophic. The proper repair would be to replace all rusted brake lines as well as flushing out the system with new brake fluid. This type of repair can run between $500 - $1000 depending on how much of the systems will need to be replaced. On some vehicles, the brake lines and the fuel lines are bundled together; the minute you touch one of those lines, the others can be compromised and begin to leak, so be prepared. We have a big problem with this on older cars as they have been exposed to so many winter seasons with all the road s ... read more

Categories:

Brakes

Changing fluids on a used car is a starting point

Changing fluids on a used car is a starting point

Q. I am getting a 2005 Toyota Camry from grandma in Arizona. It has been garaged-kept (never driven in summer months) and has only 25,000 miles on it. What parts and fluids should be changed? I would like to keep it another 10 years. A. What an opportunity for you to get a great car with such low mileage! Because of its age and how it was driven, I would recommend changing/flushing all the fluids. This would include the coolant, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid, brake fluid and the engine oil. If it has a timing belt, I would change that, too, and I would scrutinize all the rubber parts of the car for any signs of dry rot or deterioration. These parts would include, but not limited to, the belts and hoses, axle boots, tires and brake hoses. Finally, don't skip the normal inspection you would give any older car like the brakes and filters. Make sure all the lights work. If there are any leaks, you might want to get these taken care of now, too. If you put a little money ... read more

Loose wire remains elusive for a decade

Loose wire remains elusive for a decade

Q. I purchased a new 2000 Lincoln Cartier Town Car. Within a few years, the whole system just stopped; no air, no heat, no blower. For about the last ten years, this has continued about every three to six months after service by the Lincoln dealer. New modules, new blower, new wire, etc. This June when in Michigan, it again went out. The Lincoln dealer put in another module and it worked fine for one day. I took it back to the same dealer, and when they opened the hood and touched a wire in front of the firewall, the system started up. So he replaced the wire The car worked fine until I sold it to a friend of mine three weeks ago. Guess what? It went out again. After about a week, it started to work again. This pattern of working and then not, driving a half-hour or sometimes a day or two before things are fine, has been going on for years and has the Lincoln mechanics stumped. Have you had any problems like this with the Town Cars? By the way, the car had 222,000 miles on it when I ... read more

Injector cleaners do help in the long run

Injector cleaners do help in the long run

Q. I try not to miss your column in the Daily Herald. It is very informative. You have helped me with questions about my 2000 Jaguar in the past and I thank you for that. The new question I have is a general one. Where do you stand, or do you wish to comment, on the many additives sold by auto supply stores (i.e. STP, injector cleaners, etc.)? The only one I have tried is an injector cleaner and I can't really tell if it did anything. I am ready to winterize my car using the information in your last column.   A. Thank you for being a loyal reader. I really appreciate it and I am glad you have found the information I have shared helpful. As you have indicated, there are many additives on the market and they all claim to be the best, so it can be a bit confusing. When it comes to fuel injector cleaners, here is my advice. First, use a good quality Top Tier Fuel. You can find a list of these gasoline brands on the internet under Toptiergas.com. If you have do not have a gas ... read more

VEHICLE RECALL: What should I do?

VEHICLE RECALL: What should I do?

It’s happening more and more. Owners are getting vehicle manufacturer recalls and have no idea what to do. Is this urgent? Should I continue to drive my car? Who should I contact? When you receive your recall letter in the mail or via email, don’t panic. Call the nearest dealership that sells your brand of car to make an appointment for the repair. All dealerships are required to replace the recalled part free-of-charge. Be aware; although the recalled part will be replaced for free, additional parts on the vehicle the dealer suggest be repaired might not be covered under the recall. To avoid headaches, when presented with these recommendations, ask the dealer if the additional part repairs are included under the recall and ask for it in writing. If you feel that you would like a second opinion on the suggested repair, Douglas Automotive can provide an inspection of the vehicle free-of-charge.  Douglas Automotive cannot replace the recalled parts free-of-charge. But ... read more

Back-to-school checklist for your car with Douglas Automotive

Back-to-school checklist for your car with Douglas Automotive

You’re sending your kids back to school or off to college soon. You’ve shopped for all their essentials, but have you checked out the one thing that’s more important than all those clothes and books? The car they’ll be driving. Or for that matter, the car you’ll be driving to take the younger ones to soccer practice and ballet lessons. To keep Susie safe on the road, check off the following (Better yet, take Susie with you to check the following): ●       Battery. Check for corrosion on the terminals. Also, if it’s more than four years old, consider buying a new one. Have your mechanic check to see how much life it has left. ●       Fluid levels. Check oil, transmission, brake fluid and coolant, and make sure they’re topped off. ●       Warning lights. They’re there for a reason. Have them checked out. Especially the “check engine” light. Coul ... read more

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