Archive for March 2015

Automobile Maintenance you can do Yourself

Personal vehicles are complex machines, and if you own one you need to take care of it. Even if you aren’t mechanically inclined, there are simple things you can do to help keep your vehicle in peak condition.

Knowing how to preform these simpler maintenance tasks not only saves you money, but knowing can get you out of troublesome situations as well. Not having to rely on professionals to fix your own vehicle for simply fixed problems can give tremendous peace of mind.

Tire Change

The simplest thing that you should know how to do to your car is change a tire. Your car comes with a spare tire and all the tools necessary, so it’s not a matter of not having the tools you need. As well, most of the time tire problems happen while on the road in inconvenient locations. To change your tire, first find the spare tire, the screw jack, the tire iron and the jack crank. You will want to fit the jack close to the offending tire and crank up until the weight starts to be lifted from the tire. Once the weight has been lifted a little off of the tire loosen the lug nuts with the tire iron, then lift the tire all the way off the ground and remove lug nuts and tire. Put the spare on with the reverse process.

Detailed steps can be found here:

Oil Change

Changing your engine oil is the single most important piece of maintenance that you can do for your car and being able to do it yourself will save you money. You will need a new oil filter, new oil (check your manual for the recommended weight), a pan to catch the old oil and an oil filter wrench. Check you manual for your oil filter location, but most models place the filter under the car. it’s advisable to run the car for a while to heat the oil up, thus making it run a little better. Make sure the vehicle is shut off before draining the old oil, however! Find the oil pan and drain the old oil into a catch pan by removing the stopper. Remove the old oil filter with the oil filter wrench. Fill the new filter with new oil and hand tighten the filter. Using an oil filter wrench is overkill, you’ll likely damage your new filter that way. make sure the oil pan plug is secure before filling the vehicle up with new oil. Turn on the engine and check for leaks.

Detailed steps can be found here:

Problems with your car that you shouldn’t try and fix yourself

When you car has problems it is very tempting to try and save money by trying to fix the problem yourself, especially if you have a bit of mechanical knowledge.

However, some problems need to be looked at by professional mechanics or the problem could become much worse. Here are three common car problems that should be left to professional mechanics:

1. Overheating

If you notice that your engine is beginning to overheat, the obvious thing to do is to switch the engine off and wait for it to cool down. If the overheating has already caused damage to the engine then you need to take it to the garage; the risk of things going wrong and making the problem much more expensive to fix is too great.

2. Diagnostics

There is nothing more annoying than happily driving along and noticing a warning sign light up on your dashboard; often the ‘engine warning light’. Even if your car appears to be working perfectly well it is a good idea to get it checked out by mechanics with a diagnostic tool specific to your make of car. These are very expensive and it would not be cost-effective to buy one for home use.

3. Suspension Problems

At first glance, suspension components look like they would be quite straightforward to take out and replace and the actual parts are quite cheap. However, many people have found to their cost that this is not the case. They need to be taken out and replaced in a certain order and any error could seriously destabilize the engine and entire car. Not to mention the fact that tightly coiled springs are extremely dangerous.

Build Your Own Automobile Repair Shop

If you are already a skilled auto-mechanic with a passion for the job and an entrepreneurial mind, setting up your own automobile repair shop can be a dream come true. The number of drivers in the streets is growing steadily, and buying a car second hand is on the rise due to the recent economic stagnation around the globe, which means there is a lot of work for you out there. Here is how to get things going.

Make a plan

No matter how good you are, you have to have a very concrete plan about the goals and milestones ahead of your business, your financial backing (own capital, bank loan, or another source), and the size and scope of your operations. Scan your preferred area for favourable locations, get quotes from builders, and get acquainted with the fees setting up shop entails.

Register your business

Before you take any action, make sure your personal assets are protected. This is best done by registering a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and guarantees that in the unfortunate event of bankruptcy, your shop does not drag you in the red as well. Additionally, entrepreneurs enjoy a range of financial benefits and breaks meant to help them get their business ideas off the ground, so make sure to get informed once you register! While you are at it, make sure you know which government agency regulates your line of business and obtain the appropriate licenses and permits before you go into operation.

Choose your location

Try to set up shop as close to a residential area as possible to minimise the distance between your business and its potential customers. The more visible your automobile repair shop is to drivers and pedestrians passing by, the better. Work with an experienced local contractor to build an attractive-looking and functional garage which will add to your business’ appeal. If possible, consult colleagues you trust who have already gone your way and might have useful contractor contacts and tips.

Gear up

Even if you are on a tight budget, you cannot save on gear: it is the one business asset which guarantees quality service and worker safety. While it makes sense to buy some of the heavy machinery used, make sure all fixed equipment (car lifts, pneumatic lines, air compressors) is in perfect working order and also looks clean and well-maintained. Do not shy away from new equipment, either: schlepping cars into and about your garage becomes easier with car movers. Keeping up with such innovations will increase your street credit, too.