Good Working Car = Happy Driver!
What’s a Maintenance Schedule?
To make sure your car continues to run properly and depending on the type of car you own and the mileage, there is a routine schedule for maintenance service suggested in every car owner’s manual. The Car Care Council has a provided a great general maintenance schedule. Please visit the link provided above for full details.
As a general recommendation by The Car Care Council, different sets of services are suggested on a monthly basis and by every 3K miles interval.
Monthly maintenance service will generally include checking the following: Check Engine Light on, Tire Pressure and Condition, Cleaning, and Windshield Washer Fluid, Lights.
Every 3,000 miles, maintenance service will generally include checking the following: Automatic Transmission Fluid, Check Engine Light On, Exhaust, Lights, Windshield Washer Fluid, Battery and Cables, Engine Air Filter, Fuel Filter, Power Steering Fluid, Belts, Engine Oil and Filter, Hoses, Tire Pressure and Condition
Every 6,000 miles, maintenance service will generally include checking the following: Automatic Transmission Fluid, Chassis Lubrication, Engine Air Filter, Fuel Filter, Power Steering Fluid, Wiper Blades, Battery and Cables, Check Engine Light on, Engine Oil and Filter, Hoses, Tire Pressure and Condition, Belts, Polish, Exhaust, Lights, Windshield Washer Fluid
Every 9,000 miles, maintenance service will generally include checking the following: Automatic Transmission Fluid, Check Engine Light on, Exhaust, Lights, Windshield Washer Fluid, Battery and Cables, Engine Air Filter, Fuel Filter, Power Steering Fluid, Belts, Engine Oil and Filter, Hoses, Tire Pressure and Condition
Every 12,000 miles, maintenance service will generally include checking the following: Automatic Transmission Fluid, Check Engine Light on, Brakes, Engine Air Filter, Fuel Filter, Power Steering Fluid, Battery and Cables, Windshield Washer Fluid, Cabin Air Filter, Polish, Engine Oil and Filter, Hoses, Steering and Suspension, Wiper Blades, Belts, Chassis Lubrication, Coolant (Antifreeze), Exhaust, Lights, Tire Pressure and Condition
For more details on the maintenance schedule, please visit the link provided above to The Car Care Council’s Website. If you’re looking to service your car, please visit our website at YourMechanic.com.
*The Car Care Council has developed a service interval schedule to provide general guidelines for the regular maintenance of passenger cars, mini vans, pickups and SUVs. Intervals are built around an oil change every 3,000 miles, an accepted recommendation for the majority of motorists who are severe service drivers. Always consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific recommendations by the car maker.
First Photo: Electronic Speedometer (“Image courtesy of BigJom/FreeDigitalPhotos.net”)
Second Photo: Mechanical Speedometer (“Image courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net”)
Third Photo: Digital Speedometer (“Image courtesy of Mike Prosser/Flickr.com/people/colmmcsky”)
What’s a Speedometer?
A speedometer measures how fast the car is going by miles per hour.
Two Types of Speedometer
1. Mechanical Speedometer. It is sometimes called a “clock” as it is driven by a cable. The speedometer head contains both gears and springs that is connected to the transmission via the drive cable (speedometer cable). The faster the transmission runs, the faster the speedometer moves.
2. Electronic Speedometer. The exterior looks like a Mechanical Speedometer, but the interior is different. An Electronic Speedometer is driven by an impulse sensor on the transmission. It does not have a cable. The speedometer contains gears, springs and a motor. The motor spins the gears to drive the speedometer needle.
3. Digital Speedometer. The interior of a Digital Speedometer works like an Electronic Speedometer, it is also driven by an impulse sensor. However, the display is digital. The information is displayed on an LCD or LED display panel. It doesn’t have gears or springs.
Where is the Speedometer Located?
In all cars, it is located on the dashboard.
How to Maintain a Speedometer?
There are no maintenance service needed for an Electronic and Digital Speedometer. However, Mechanical Speedometers need to have the cable cleaned and lubricated. The mechanism also needs to be oiled once every couple of years.
What Causes the Speedometer to Fail?
1. Normal wear and tear
2. Electronic and Digital Speedometers can fail due to faulty vehicle electronics such as, battery voltage surges, poor grounds, or loose connections.
What are the Symptoms of a Failing or Faulty Speedometer?
1. For Mechanical and Electronic Speedometers, the needle will bounce. Sometimes, there may be a squeaking sound. This sound is most likely caused by a dried cable, bad bearings and or gears.
2. For Digital Speedometers, the display will go bad (trouble seeing the numbers). The mileage will not record or other functions will not work.
How to Inspect the Speedometer?
Inspect the speedometer cable for damage or lack of lubrication.
How Does the Replacement Process Work?
1. Remove dashboard
2. Remove steering wheel (if needed)
3. Take out the speedometer
First Photo: Universal Catalytic Converter for Older Vehicles- Front View
Second Photo: Universal Catalytic Converter for Older Vehicles- Top View
Third Photo: Universal Catalytic Converter-Interior View
What’s a Catalytic Converter?
A Catalytic Converter is used to reduce harmful emissions coming from the exhaust (i.e. carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons). Made of stainless steel, it heats up (cooks) the toxic gases to reduce the amount of pollutants before it is emitted from the exhaust.
Different Types of Catalytic Converter
There are many different types of Catalytic Converter. These converters are designed differently based on the make of the vehicle. The exterior of the Catalytic Converter is stainless steel while the interior is made of ceramic material/monolithic substrate material.
Where is the Catalytic Converter Located?
In all cars, the Catalytic Converter is located underneath the car which is part of the exhaust system. It is always mounted close to engine so it can retain as much heat as possible. In some cars, there are multiple Catalytic Converters.
How to Maintain a Catalytic Converter?
Extend the life of a Catalytic Converter by keeping the vehicle in tune. This also prevents cylinder misfires (when the fuel charge does not ignite and passes through the exhaust system as unburned fuel) which is one of the common causes for the Catalytic Converter to fail.
What Causes the Catalytic Converter to Fail?
1. Degradation that occurs over time due to constant passage of pollutants
2. Cylinder misfiring which causes the Catalytic Converter to overheat and melt down the interior (substrate brick)
Symptoms of a Failing or Faulty Catalytic Converter?
1. Failed Emissions Test
2. Check Light Engine On
3. Engine Overheating
4. Lack of Power and Engine Becomes Sluggish
5. Rattling Sound Coming From the Catalytic Converter
6. Extreme Heat Coming From Catalytic Converter
How to Inspect the Catalytic Converter?
1. Check for Exterior Damage (i.e. Dent)
2. Check if There’s Rattling Noise Coming From the Catalytic Converter
3. Use a Scanner to Scan for Codes
How Does the Replacement Process Work?
In California, for newer vehicles, you must purchase a new Catalytic Converter from a dealership. Also, all sellers of the Catalytic Converter must be CARB Certified (California Air Resources Board).
Generally, this is how the Catalytic Converter is replaced:
1. Jack the car as the Catalytic Converter is located underneath the vehicle
2. Unbolt the Catalytic Converter(s) and remove the heat shields
3. Install the new Catalytic Converter(s) with new bolts and hardware
4. Reinstall heat shields
First Photo: Electrical Fuel Pump
Second Photo: Mechanical Fuel Pump
Fuel Pump Replacement
What’s a Fuel Pump?
A fuel pump is like the heart of a vehicle, usually located in the fuel tank. Like the heart pumping blood to the rest of the body, a fuel pump pumps fuel from the fuel tank to the engine management system. The engine management system then distributes the fuel to all of the cylinders located in the engine. This is how most car’s fuel pump functions.
However, the fuel pump in older cars (carburetor vehicles) works a little differently. It is located on the engine. The fuel pump moves fuel from the fuel tank through steel lines and sends it to the carburetor. The carburetor meters the fuel to the cylinders, whereas, newer cars use the fuel injectors to do this.
Two Types of Fuel Pump
1. Electric Fuel Pump (in most cars)
2. Mechanical Fuel Pump (in older (carbureted) vehicles made in the 80’s and older)
Where is the Fuel Pump Located?
In most cars, the electric fuel pump is located in the back of the car, inside of the fuel tank.
In older(carburetor) cars, the mechanical fuel pump is located in front of the car, on the engine.
How to Maintain a Fuel Pump?
Using fuel injection cleaner and clean fuel will help the fuel pump work better. Also, changing the fuel filter every 24,000 miles will also help maintain the fuel pump (only if it’s replaceable).
What Causes the Fuel Pump to Fail?
1. Very low fuel level on a consistent basis
2. Clogged Fuel Filter
3. Fuel Pressure Regulator stops working
How to Inspect the Fuel Pump?
1. Checking if the fuel lines have fuel pressure or adequate amount of pressure
2. High pitch buzzing or wining noise coming from the fuel tank (only applies to electrical fuel pump)