Back in 2011 I ran a blog about cars and how to repair them. Let it be known that I didn't actually learn how to drive until 2012. In the following examples, you will see the leftovers of how I took a complicated subject and made it easy enough for lonely housewives to understand.
All About Alignment
It seems like every time you need new tires you’re also advised to get your wheel alignment fixed. But, what is wheel alignment and how does it benefit you, the driver?
Wheel Alignment, also known as tracking, is the adjustment of the wheels, according to brand specifications. Proper wheel alignment can save you money in the long run by ensuring a longer tread life for your tires, smoother steering and suspension, and in many cases even a higher gas mileage.
It is advised to have your alignment checked out upon installing new tires, after hitting a curb, or any time you start to feel a “pull," on the steering wheel (common for highway commuters).
When correcting the alignment of a vehicle’s wheels, there are three main angles to consider:
- Camber: measures inward or outward tilting in reference to the top of the tire. Out is positive, in is negative. Excessive camber in either direction is most commonly caused by loose or worn parts.
- Caster: the angle at which your steering wheel defaults. You know it’s off when the wheel starts to wander.
- Toe: angle at which the tires are pointing. Just like looking down at your feet. When the tires on either side are pointing inward or out, your alignment needs a fixing. This is the main cause of premature tread ware as well as a crooked steering wheel default position. Excessive toe is commonly caused by loose or worn parts.
So next time you’re on the market for new tires, be prepared to get your alignment fixed. After all, it’s your own money you’ll be saving.
Brake Fluid Replacement -- What’s That For?
What are you most afraid of while driving? A recent survey by the Car Care Council suggests that brake failure is the most popular fear of drivers in America. Let’s take a closer look at an important factor in brake safety.
Brake Fluid Replacements are one of the most commonly neglected preventive maintenance repairs in America. This is because most folks don’t really know what the brake fluid is good for, letting the stuff get as old as 10 years (it’s recommended that you change this every 2 years!). The Europeans have their fluids checked routinely, and the numbers show it. There must be a good enough reason for such hustle and bustle.
In modern vehicles we have something called the "anti-lock brake system," or ABS. This new system is a huge improvement in terms of driver safety while using the brakes, but is also very moisture sensitive. Because brake fluid is hygroscopic by nature (meaning it retains water), it can cause rust, acid leaks, or even ice crystals to build up on your ABS, turning your safe car into a death trap. Even if you do catch this problem ahead of time, chances are it’ll be a pretty expensive fix.
So what do you do now now?
If it’s been more than two years since you last checked on your brakes, go to your local automotive repair shop and have them take a look at your brake system. Chances are, it’s about time to update your fluids.