When You Should Replace a Fuel Filter and How to Do It

What is the one part in your car that is responsible for keeping your entire fuel system happy and healthy? It’s the fuel filter. The fuel filter keeps impurities from mixing with the fuel. A clogged fuel system can cause poor performance, and in extreme cases could lead to major engine damage that would cost thousands of dollars to fix. Considering that a fuel filter can be replaced for $20 or less, it only makes sense to pay attention to this important little part.

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to replace your fuel filter every 30,000 miles, or every year if you drive less. However, depending on the conditions in which you drive, you might need to replace it more often. If you use poor quality gas, you should replace your filter more often. In fact, anytime you notice sputtering or knocking when accelerating or at high speeds, it’s worth checking your fuel filter to see if it has become clogged. Don’t try to clean the filter, just replace it.

Replacing your fuel filter may or may not be a do-it-yourself kind of job. Some fuel filters are located in an easy to reach location between the fuel tank and the engine. However, some cars have their fuel filter inside the gas tank. Draining and dropping the gas tank is beyond the abilities of most shade-tree mechanics.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when replacing your own fuel filter. First of all, follow the manufacturer’s directions for relieving the pressure in your fuel system. Today’s automobiles with fuel injectors maintain a high fuel pressure in the lines. You don’t want to be faced with a high pressure spray of fuel mist when you loosen the fuel filter.

Also, you need to make sure you pay attention to the arrows that indicate the direction of fuel flow. Fuel filters need to be installed one certain way so that fuel will flow properly through the filter. Finally, make sure to tighten the filter to the proper specifications. Too loose and it might leak. Too tight and you might damage the gaskets.

Once you have the new filter installed, start the engine and check for leaks before you go driving away.

How to Choose a Good Mechanic

When your car is having mechanical troubles, you want to get it fixed right and get it fixed right away. If you have a regular mechanic with whom you are satisfied, then you already know what to do. However, if you haven’t found a good mechanic or if you are new to an area, it’s easy to feel helpless when your car breaks down. Where should you take it for a good, lasting repair that you can afford? If you follow the advice of this post, you should be able to avoid the frustration of poor repairs and high prices.

First of all, you should realize that mechanics are human like you, and they make mistakes. So don’t expect to find a perfect mechanic. But you should be on the lookout for a mechanic who understands your vehicle, is aware of his limitations, and will honestly communicate what he can do. Hopefully, this will limit mistakes to ones that are minor and infrequent.

Look for a mechanic or shop that is familiar with your vehicle’s type and make. For example, if you’re driving a Ford, then you shouldn’t be at a shop that specializes in imports. You want a mechanic who has access to the appropriate shop manuals and tools required to work on your vehicle. Access to parts is another issue to consider. Later model year vehicles also contain a lot of computerized equipment that might require special test equipment and programming knowledge.

Experience is another great quality in your chosen mechanic. If they have worked on vehicles for a long time, especially vehicles like yours, then they are less likely to make mistakes. They will be faster at diagnosing the problems you may face. And repairs will probably cost less because they will be able to complete them more quickly.

Don’t be afraid to meet the mechanic and just have a conversation about your car. You can learn a lot about a person this way. After a few minutes, you should be able to sense that you can trust this person or that you should continue looking elsewhere. Once you leave your car with the mechanic, you don’t want to spend the rest of the day wondering how he’s going to mess it up.

How to Jump Start a Car

Jump starting a car means being able to start your car when the battery is dead. By following these simple steps, you can use the power from a working car battery to bring yours back to life.

  • Locate the battery of your car.
  • Park the running vehicle near your car so that the space between the two batteries is as small as possible.
  • Put on safety gear such as goggles and gloves if you have them. Inspect your jumper cables for cracks or obvious damage. If you find any, call a tow truck instead.
  • Unwind your jumper cables.
  • Connect one red clamp to the positive post of the dead batter, and the other red clamp to the positive post of the working battery.
  • Connect one black clamp to the negative post of the working battery and the other black clamp to a secure metal point under the hood of the car with the dead battery.
  • Start the working car and let it run for about 30 -60 seconds.
  • Try and start the non working vehicle; if it does not start try moving the clamps around and then let it charge for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove the jumper cables in order making sure they do not touch.
  • Keep the engine of the car you just jump-started running for at least 20 minutes. If the car fails to start again after this, your battery is probably bad. Or you may have trouble with the charging system.

It’s always a good idea to have a high-quality set of jumper cables in your car. Even if you never have a problem with your battery, you may be able to help others.

The procedure above requires another car to be nearby. If you’re concerned that you might be stuck alone with a dead battery, you might want to check into a batter jump starter. These devices are charged by plugging them into the wall at home. They will hold a charge for several months and provide enough power for you to jump start your car once or twice. They are an excellent addition to any emergency supplies you carry in your trunk.

How to Diagnose Fuel Pump Failure

Fuel pump problems can leave you stranded, simply because cars won’t run without an adequate fuel supply. Most of today’s cars are fuel-injected for optimum performance and lowest emissions. Fuel is pumped from the tank to the injectors, which then spray the fuel into your engine’s cylinders. Fuel pump problems can be difficult to diagnose. You can test your fuel pump with a few special tools, but replacing a pump is probably best left to your mechanic.

The fuel pump’s job is simple: deliver fuel to the injectors. There are two requirements that the fuel pump must meet. First of all, fuel has to be delivered at the proper pressure so that the injectors will work as designed. Second, a specific volume of fuel must be delivered. How much fuel is required will depend a lot on how fast the car is going and how much load it is under (for example, is it going uphill or down).

When you car has fuel system related problems, it’s sometimes difficult to determine exactly what is at fault. Fuel pumps usually die somewhat gracefully. That is, they often fail, then start working again. It’s sort of like a warning. However, if you don’t hear what your fuel pump is telling you, then you might think it’s just a temporary problem. Lack of fuel can also be due to other factors, like a clogged fuel filter or clogged fuel lines. Injector failure can also mimic fuel pump failure.

To test your fuel pump, you’ll need a fuel pressure gauge and some adapters. Follow the gauge’s directions to connect it to your car’s fuel rail (this is under the hood, the injectors are attached to it). When you energize the pump (turn the key), the gauge should register the correct pressure. Also, that pressure should drop only slowly when the pump is switched off. A complete lack of fuel pressure probably indicates a failed fuel pump. It’s also important to test the volume of fuel delivered. This is done by connecting a hose to your fuel rail and pumping fuel into a container. A certain amount should be delivered in a certain amount of time. Check your car’s manual for the specs.

Most fuel pumps in today’s cars are located inside the fuel tank, which makes repair a little dicey. In most cases, it’s best to let a mechanic handle this job unless you have the necessary tools to lift the car and lower the gas tank.

How to Replace Your Windshield Wiper Blades

It doesn’t take very much rain to make driving without windshield wipers a terrifying experience. That’s why driving without windshield wipers isn’t really an option. They are important safety feature, almost as critical as brakes. Replacing them is a fairly easy two-step process-removal of the old wiper blades followed by installation of the new ones. This post has a few suggestions to make the process even easier and more trouble-free.

If your windshield wipers ever stop working, you won’t be able to drive at all in the rain until you get them fixed. They are that important. Without windshield wipers, your visibility would quickly become too impaired to see. Windshield wipes consists of three main parts-the blade, the arm and the motor. Although motor failure occurs from time to time and arms may become bent, the most common complaint is wiper blade failure.

Wiper blades tend to wear out after a certain amount of usage. There really isn’t any way to avoid this. The rubber or synthetic edge on the blade tends to deteriorate as it’s exposed to wind, sun and dirt.

Wiper blades can be replaced easily and simply. Universal replacements are available at most discount stores and auto supply stores. This is a big improvement from the old days when replacing the blades meant actually sliding on a new rubber edge. The first step in replacement is removing the old wiper blades. Lift the blade up from the windshield and depress a tab on the bottom to release the old blade. Make sure you don’t let the arm snap back onto the windshield because it could crack it. I know. I’ve done it.

Your replacement wiper blades should come with easy-to-follow instructions for installation. Replacement blades include a wide variety of adapters that can be fitted together to work on any vehicle, regardless of make or model. Simply locate the instructions for your type of vehicle and do what they say.

Windshield wiper blades are constantly being upgraded with new materials and technology to provide maximum visibility in different adverse weather conditions. There’s really no reason to keep driving around with worn-out wiper blades. Check your owner’s manual for the proper size, get some replacements put on, and start seeing what you’ve been missing.

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