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Posted by on Jun 4, 2018 in Car Tips |

Overview Of Car Parts In An Emissions System

Overview Of Car Parts In An Emissions System

The emissions system is one of the areas that most drivers happily ignore. They might diligently have the oil in their cars changed every 5,000 miles. And they may replace the filters religiously. But, when it comes to the parts and components that comprise their emissions system, many people close their eyes and hope for the best. The problem is that there are a lot of parts that contribute to that area and things can go wrong with each of them. When they malfunction, which can happen as your vehicle ages, the fuel-efficiency and performance of your car can suffer dramatically.

Today, I’ll provide you with a quick overview of the components that make up your vehicle’s emissions system. I’ll also explain the tasks for which they’re responsible, and what can happen to them over time.

Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is supposed to help eliminate hydrocarbons that are in the exhaust. There are several chemicals within the part that allow it to perform this function. However, those chemicals don’t last forever; they diminish with constant use. When they’re exhausted (no pun intended), your vehicle can fail an emissions test. Just remember, a catalytic converter may look fine, but the chemicals within can be depleted.

The Muffler

Very few people ever think about their car’s muffler and when they do, it’s normally in the context of how their engine sounds without it. In truth, the muffler plays an important role in managing the pressure that results from your engine’s combustion process. Plus, it also helps the catalytic converter regulate the temperature at which it burns hydrocarbons.

Oxygen Sensor

Your engine requires both gas and oxygen during combustion. Its operational efficiency depends largely on the mixture of both elements. When there’s too much oxygen present, the exhaust will contain too many hydrocarbons, causing the catalytic converter to work harder. Your car’s oxygen sensor helps to regulate the mixture of gas and air used during combustion. However, they can wear out quickly, so plan to change the sensor every 4 or 5 years (of course, double-check your owner’s manual).

PCV Valve

PCV values are relatively cheap and they perform a simple function, but they’re critical to your car’s emissions. The crankcase has a tendency to accumulate gases. The valve’s job is to redirect those gases over to the intake manifold. If that doesn’t happen, the fumes contained inside the crankcase can “dirty” your vehicle’s exhaust. PCV valves can get blocked or clogged over the years, so you’ll need to replace it periodically. But, it’s a simple job and doesn’t take much time.

A Team Of Car Parts

The components that I’ve mentioned above work as a team in order to clean up your vehicle’s emissions. That means if one component malfunctions, the effectiveness of the others can be impacted. Have them checked the next time you visit your mechanic. By keeping the entire system in good shape, you’ll enjoy better fuel-efficiency and performance.

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Posted by on May 20, 2018 in Car Tips |

What To Do When You’re Involved In A Fender Bender

What To Do When You’re Involved In A Fender Bender

Being involved in a traffic collision can be extremely unnerving. It may be difficult to think clearly as you try to collect your thoughts and check whether you’re injured. It’s important that you know what steps to take in order to make sure the event is documented properly and you can follow up with the other driver. If you have never been involved in a fender bender, use the following tips as a blueprint to guide you through the experience.

Keep Your Thoughts To Yourself

A lot of motorists are tempted to absorb responsibility for the car accident, even if fault lies with the other driver. It’s fine to ask the other person if they’re injured, but avoid discussing the accident until the police arrive. That will give you time to clear your thoughts so you can provide an accurate account.

Take Pictures And Notes

Photograph both vehicles. Ideally, the photos should clearly show any damaged parts on your car and the positions of the vehicles in relation to the road. That will provide context. When you contact your insurance company, the photographs will help validate your claims.

Also, write down any notes that seem relevant; you may be unable to recall certain details later. If anybody who is not involved with the accident witnessed it, collect their contact information.

File A Traffic Accident Report

It’s helpful to complete a police report, even if you and the other driver are uninjured. Not only does the report document the event, but it can often help accelerate the response from your insurance company.

Get The Other Driver’s Information

Getting the contact information of the other motorist is essential if you intend to follow up later. Ask for the person’s name, phone number, address, and insurance policy number. You’ll also want to have their driver’s license number. Finally, if the other person doesn’t own the car, ask how they are related to the owner and ask for the owner’s contact information.

Review Your Auto Insurance Policy

You should have a basic understanding about what your auto insurance policy covers before you’re involved in a collision. Take the time to review your policy. Does it cover a rental car and tow truck? Does it cover your car in the event the other driver is uninsured? At the very least, know where your policy is so you can quickly contact your insurance company to start the claims process.

One last note about getting into fender benders: if the damage is minor, it’s tempting to settle the matter privately rather than contacting your auto insurance provider. That can leave you vulnerable. The other motorist might change his mind and contact his provider, making up details that are inaccurate. If your carrier is unable to determine what truly happened, you may become exposed to a lawsuit. Play it safe and report the incident to your auto insurance provider. The extra time you spend is a good investment for peace of mind.

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Posted by on May 10, 2018 in Car Tips |

Bolster The Performance Of Your Vehicle’s Power Steering

Bolster The Performance Of Your Vehicle’s Power Steering

It’s easy to take power steering (PS) for granted. We have become accustomed to being able to control our vehicles with our index finger, forgetting the thousands of pounds of metal that we’re navigating through our steering wheel. If you’d like a reminder regarding how difficult it would be to steer without power, let your vehicle coast down your driveway with the engine off. You’ll likely struggle to turn the wheel.

Below, we’ll briefly explore the two types of power steering systems: rack and pinion and recirculating ball. We’ll use that introduction as the framework on which to get more performance from your PS system.

Two Types Of PS Systems

All types of PS work with hydraulics. Your car’s engine drives a belt which powers a hydraulic pump. The pump places hydraulic pressure on a small bit of fluid, which ultimately allows you to steer without effort.

Rack and pinion systems are the most common type of steering found in today’s cars. It uses a gearset that is attached to the steering shaft. A pinion gear is attached to the shaft and moves a rack as you turn the wheel. A tie rod sits on the end of the rack and connects to a steering arm, which controls the movement of the tires.

A recirculating ball system is commonly found in large pickups and SUVs. It uses ball bearings within threads that are located between the steering shaft and rack. As the rack moves up and down, the hydraulic pressure allows you to turn right and left, respectively.

Tips For Getting More Performance

Power steering systems feel differently on various types of cars. For example, giant domestic vehicles have a softer feel to the wheel. It’s almost “spongy.” Meanwhile, some of the German vehicles (e.g. BMWs) are more responsive to your commands.

There are plenty of steps you can take in order to get the most from your PS system. First, make sure your treads are healthy by periodically rotating your tires. You should also check the tire pressure every two or three weeks.

Second, if you make a turn and realize that you’re going too fast, avoid applying your brakes. Using your brakes can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Instead, simply take your foot off the gas pedal and allow the friction of your tires and the momentum of your car to reduce your speed.

Third, remember that your PS system relies on your engine to drive the belt which powers the hydraulic pump. Be prepared to exert force in the event that your engine stalls while you’re driving.

Your vehicle’s power steering system is unlikely to fail; they’re built to last for many years. That said, if you notice a sluggish response in the wheel, wandering back and forth, or a high-pitched squeal when turning the wheel, take your car to a mechanic. Your PS system may need repairs.

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