Car Words – Part 3

Posted by: AutoFixit  /  Category: General Car Tips

We’re Going to Have to “ SCAN IT “ –   think of it as, us being able to download what happened ,or observe what various electronically controlled systems in your car are doing during operation. It’s a lot better than guessing what’s wrong with it.


“ E.G.R. VALVE “ – stands for exhaust gas recirculation valve , a engine control that takes unburned exhaust gases and runs that gas back thru the engine to reduce pollutants.


“O-2 SENSOR “ – or oxygen sensor meters oxygen levels in the exhaust gases, allowing the computer to adjust fuel delivery to the engine. the downstream O-2 sensor is strictly a monitor sensor to report catalytic converter efficiency or converter failure. This sensor can damage the catalytic converter, which is a expensive part to replace, BE ADVISED !


“ CATALYTIC CONVERTER “ –  slang term is “ Cat”, is a part of exhaust system that greatly reduces pollutants, thru the use of a catalyst to convert nasty exhaust gases into something less nasty. The converter is costly to replace, typically last 10 years or 100,000 miles, and can be easily damaged if your operate your car in poor running condition. Cost to install a good quality unit in a average car starts in the $350.00 range. There are vehicles that use more than one converter to control emissions, so don’t ignore that check engine light, it can be a expensive mistake.


“ THERMOSTAT “ – is a valve in your cooling system that helps your engine warm up as quickly as possible, today’s car needs to get up to temperature as quickly as possible, so that it can get good fuel economy, produce as little pollution as possible, and so you can get heat from the heater. They should be replaced every couple of years, or anytime your car is not coming up to “ normal operating temperature within 10 minutes operation. This little job ( $50.00 to $90.00 ) will save you fuel, reduce pollutants, and make your winter a little bit warmer.


“ COOLANT “ – the liquid that flows thru your radiator, engine, and heater to control temperature. Coolant should be 50% antifreeze and 50% clean water, because of the potential to cause damage if you mix the wrong types of coolants together, we only recommend using a “ Universal, Global Type coolant which mixes safely with any type of coolant that is in the car prior. BE ADVISED, if you are low on coolant the first thing you may notice is poor heat out of heater. Because the heater is located higher than the engine and radiator, you will lose heating before the engine temperature gauge starts to start running high. Also be aware your engine will be ruined very quickly if it has no coolant. Most cars have aluminum engine parts today, and are often badly damaged with only one incidence of overheated operation. Be ADVISED !


“ SERPINTINE BELT “ – The rubber drive belt that transfers engine power to the belt driven accessories.

These include alternator, power steering pump, water pump, and the a/c compressor pump. Because this belt runs everything, you cannot drive a car without this belt more than a few minutes . Its possible to cause damage  if you run the engine without it, for too long. This belt should last 3 years or 35,000 miles.


“ TIMING BELT “ – Is a rubber drive belt that ties the crankshaft,  and camshaft’s together, it also maintains the cam timing so that’s valves open when they are suppose to, typical service intervals are every 90,000 to as much as 125,000, because in most cases there is little extra labor involved to do the water pump, and thermostat at the same time as timing belt, its often recommended to replace those parts at the same time.  BE ADVISED, a timing belt failure will leave you broke down for sure, the engine cannot run without it. But if your car has a “interference engine “ when the timing belt breaks, to cam timing will change and your pistons and valves will start running into each other, the result being a ruined engine and very expensive repair. If the manufacturer says change belt at a certain mileage point, we want you to change it too.


Car Terms – Continued

Posted by: AutoFixit  /  Category: General Car Tips

” Ball Joint “ – is a part of you suspension that allows for free movement of the suspension both up and down, and back in forth. They do wear out, often are grease able and can fail leaving your vehicle un-drivable and broken down. They tie the suspension together, your safety can be jeopardized if the ball joint fails and you are unable to steer of stop the car properly.


“ Tie Rod “ – is part of your steering system that does wear out, maybe grease able, and because it ties your steering  box to the steer wheels on your car a failure will make your car undrivable at least and in the worst case could cause a accident because you could not steer it. Most cars have multiple tie rods, if they have excess play, they can cause vibration, cause excess tire wear and wheel alignment variation. If they fail while driving you will not be able to steer your car.


“ Strut’s or Shocks “ – are hydraulic devices on each corner of your suspension that dampen the up and down motion of your car as it goes over uneven roads. They typically last 50,000 to 100,000 miles unless damaged and will effect tire wear, handling, controllability  and comfort of ride. When the oil leaks out of them, or they lose they’re gas charge, the car will get bouncy and less controllable indicating its time to replace them. When they are replaced most struts have upper mounts that should be replaced at the same time. When a coil spring is involved in the strut, the spring should be inspected for damage or fatigue and replaced if indicated.


“ Sway Bar, and Sway Bar Links “  – are components that are utilized in your suspension to, reduce body roll when cornering. They wear out and do break, but will typically not make your car undrivable, just less controllable in a turn because of body roll.


“ Hub Bearing “, also called wheel bearing, is a sealed , non serviceable bearing that turns every time your wheel goes around. They will wear out and can get damaged with just normal driving. Because they basically attach the wheels to your car, it is important they are in good working order. A rumbling noise that gets louder the faster you go is a pretty good indicator of a hub bearing that is beginning to fail. Hub bearings will make noise for a very long time before they are unsafe, but if you are experiencing vibration that coincides with the “ rumbling “ noise in your wheels its time to have it replaced. When a hub bearing begins to get loose it can also create problems with you’re A.B.S. system and may even shut A.B.S. system down. If that is the case, again you need to have the bearing unit replaced right away.


“ Brake Rotor “ is a disc shaped cast iron part that is what the brake pads are squeezed against, that is also attached to the wheel hub and goes around when each revolution of the wheel. They do wear out, get too thin from wear to be used again, when replacing brake pads, or get damaged from metal to metal contact when the brake pads wear out or get warped if they are overheated from extreme use. A warped rotor will cause pulsation in your brake pedal while braking, it will make your brake pads wear out faster that they should and if severe it can reduce your ability to stop the car. When brake rotors were big, heavy, and thick cast iron components, we could have them resurfaced at a machine shop if they were warped. Today

because of the reduction in weight that is in a rotor, most damaged rotors are replaced.


“ Brake Pads or Brake Shoes “ – are the part of the brake system that has friction material that is pushed against either the rotor or drum. They are made of various materials today and depending on how you use your vehicle one type or another brake pads maybe indicated. My theory of brakes is to replace pads or shoes when they are half worn out. Because the brakes work cooler when there is lots of friction material left, you will almost never have to replace rotors or calipers because if they don’t get overheated or damaged by metal to metal contact they don‘t go bad.


“ Caliper “ – is a device in your brake system that thru the magic of hydraulics squeezes the brake pads against the rotors causing friction and stopping your car. Calipers get damaged by running your brake pads too far down, by corrosion, and by seal failure. When ever there is a brake fluid leak, it will almost always cause the loss of brake stopping power. Because air will compress and fluid will not, anytime the caliper is replaced, the system must be bled of all air that was introduced during repair.


“ Bleed Brake System “-  is a procedure to remove any air in the hydraulic portion of your brake system. This air may have been introduced into system, when system had to be “ opened “ for service, had a leak in the system because of damage or part failure, or if it is likely that brake system was overheated and the brake fluid may have “ boiled “ at some point. When fluid reaches boiling point gases are created which contaminate the brake fluid.


“ Master Cylinder “ – is the hydraulic pump which applies pressure to your brakes stopping your car. They will leak or wear out with age, when this part of the brake system is failing it usually turns on the brake warning lamp on, or you will experience a “ mushey “or low pedal. If you pump the pedal, the braking may improve, but you may want to have it towed to the shop because its not safe to drive it.


“ Wheel Speed Sensor “ – or ABS sensor, is a tiny generator that produces a voltage signal that varies with wheel speed, it tells the computer how fast each wheel is going constantly, so that your anti-lock brakes and the vehicle traction controls operate when called for because of either wheel skid or wheel slippage.

The most common cause of ABS or TCS faulting is the loss of signal from a wheel speed sensor. There is typically a sensor in each wheel hub, though some truck models or rear wheel drive car only have one speed sensor for the 2 rear wheels. In many vehicles to replace the wheel speed sensor means you have to replace the hub bearing assembly to get it. Those manufacturers designed it built into the bearing assembly.


“ Wheel Cylinder “ – is a small hydraulic slave cylinder that applies the pressure to your brake shoes if you have “ drum brakes “ on your vehicle. Drum brake systems are becoming obsolete now, as more models switch to the 4 wheel disc brake systems, drum brakes are heavy compared to disc systems, they had more moving parts to potentially fail, and in a panic stop from high speed drum brakes had a tendency to “ fade away “ as they built up heat. They tend to leak when you run your brake shoes down too far or your drums were worn to a oversized diameter. In drum brakes none of the components were very expensive to replace, and they lasted a long time with normal use.


“ Proportioning Valve “ – is a control valve that determines how much brake power is sent to front wheels vs. the rear wheels to help stop you quickly and with control. This valve also split’s the front and rear brake hydraulic systems, so that if you have a leak in one end the other half of the brake system still has some stopping ability left. This valve can wear out or get damaged, but failure is rare.


“ Emergency Brake “ – Parking Brake, E-brake, is a mechanical system ( cables ) that will apply some brake pressure to the rear wheels. This system is not effective enough to drive the car safely. It will hold the car in position if its parked on a moderate incline and is better than nothing if your car has a brake system failure. To keep the system functioning you have to use it regularly. BE ADVISED in some model vehicles if you don’t use your parking brakes, the rear brakes do not adjust themselves, so they do not work as well and they will eventually cause excessive wear to other components in your brake system because the rear brakes are so far out of adjustment. We recommend picking a place in your travels where you always set your parking brake, like maybe every time you park in you garage at home till you get the habit. This tip will save you money in future brake repairs if you follow it.

“ Brake Warning Lamp “, -will come on if you are driving with the parking brake on. It also comes on if brake fluid is low, it may only flicker while making a turn in a curve at first. If it comes on because of a loss of brake pressure, it can also mean a loss of the brakes altogether!  If this light is on, pull over now !