Sunday, May 17, 2009

How to Change Your Air Filter

The air filter on a car is usually along a pipe which attaches to the top of an engine. Read an owner's manual to find out what type of air filter is needed with help from a specialist in car restoration in this free video on car maintenance and auto repairs.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Interior Detailing tips

When cleaning carpets and upholstery, start with the driver's area first. It is then more likely that this area will be dry when the customer takes possession of the vehicle.

Clean windows after cleaning everything else inside, thus preventing soiling of the windows while doing the dirty work of cleaning door panels and headliners, et cetera. Do your interior dressing and conditioning after window cleaning so as to avoid tracking dressing onto the windows while wiping them.

When cleaning windows, first lower the windows slightly and clean the top edge of the window pane. Then fully close and clean the remainder of the window.

Be careful not to get any of your favorite interior cleaner on the clear plastic panel that cover the instrument panels. These cleaners can spot or fog the plastic.

In heavy carpet soiling situations or if there has been a spill between the seats, it is often easier to remove the seat completely from the vehicle, allowing excellent access to the soiled area for more thorough cleaning. I have found that, especially in neglected interiors, the time it takes to remove the driver and passenger seats is easily made up by the ease of access to the interior of the vehicle during the heavy cleaning that is necessary in these situations.

Be careful to check for wire harnesses under the seat. These usually come out of the carpeting directly under the seat and simply unplug.

Of course, be sure to re-plug the harnesses and securely re-tighten the seat upon re-installation.

Always rinse mats, carpeting, and upholstery after cleaning them to remove any cleaner residue. This residue will simply attract more dirt if left in the material. That is, the material will stay cleaner longer if rinsed.

Sourece: Automotive Detailing

Sunday, April 5, 2009

How to Clean your Cars Air Filter

Tips & Warnings:
  • Do not use blow dryers or heaters to dry the air filter because it may cause damage.
  • This cleaning procedure is only for reusable affter-market performance filters. The stock air filter in your car is not meant to be cleaned and re-used.

First, safely remove the air sensor from your car's air intake.

Next, remove the air filter.

After that, Spray the filter cleaner on both sides of the air filter.
Allow the cleaning fluid to saturate into the air filter for 10 minutes.

Gently wash the air filter with cool water. If the filter is especially dirty, repeat steps 3 and 4 until the filter is clean.
Allow the filter to completely dry.

Once the filter is dry, spray the filter oil on the front side of the air filter and allow it to soak for 20 minutes. Be sure to completely cover the filter with the oil, so that it forms a seal.

Once the oil has set into the filter, then replace the filter into your car's air intake. Don't forget to reconnect the air sensor.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

SImple DIY Jobs and MOT Checks

Less mechanically minded drivers can freeze up at the prospect of popping the bonnet, but having even a basic grasp of what lies beneath can save you shelling out for simple fixes.

Here’s our guide to some easy DIY jobs and pre-MoT checks.

• Check all fluids once a month, or before long journeys, and top up as required. Always make sure the car is parked on a level surface. Use the dipstick to check the oil level, and monitor coolant, windscreen-washer fluid and brake-fluid levels by checking them against the markers on the side of their respective reservoirs. Hydraulic power-steering systems and automatic gearboxes may also need periodic fluid checks. Dashboard warning lights often alert you when levels drop too low, but you shouldn’t wait until this happens.

• Check the condition and pressure of your tyres, from cold, at least once a month. Keep them inflated to the pressure recommended in the owner’s handbook to keep the car safe and save on fuel bills. Don’t forget to check the spare. Use a tread-depth gauge to make sure all tyres exceed the legal minimum depth of 1.6mm across 75% of the width of the tyre. It’s best to replace tyres when they reach 2mm.

To avoid wasting money on a failed MoT test, check the following items beforehand. Even if you’re not able to fix problems yourself, identifying them early can limit repair bills.

• Check the windscreen for chips and cracks.

• Check the horn, wipers and washers work properly.

• Make sure door mirrors aren’t broken.

• Check all the seatbelt buckles work.

• Ask a friend to help you check all exterior lights work correctly. Replace any blown bulbs and watch for broken lenses.

• Make sure the handbrake will hold the car on a hill.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How to Get Rid of Paint Scratches

Stylishness is a certainty with a coating of aptly colored paint. Cover any item with paint and that item's aesthetic value will be raised. However, paint has one glaring drawback. A few scratches on a painted surface can turn a nice paint job into a massive eyesore. Scratches can make any painted item look shabby, cheap and poorly maintained. You can say that an item without paint looks even better than an object with a badly scratched paint job. Clearly, you must do away with paint scratches as soon as possible.

Paint scratches come in various appearances. There are the normal scratches and scratch formations. Some scratch formations look like scattered cobwebs, while others look like ugly swirls. These scratches are much harder to remove than normal scratches since a scratch formation signals that the deeper layers of paint are cracked. It's a good thing there are items on the market that are formulated to remove scratch formations such as scratch removers and specialized car waxes.

Solutions for Scratches

Paint scratches are tricky to remove, especially the deep ones. Faint scratches are usually taken care of by scrubbing the various scratch-removing solutions available on the market, while deeper ones require several procedures. Be sure to remove scratches early because if scratches become too deep, your only course of action is a new paint job, which is pricey and time consuming. Here are some ready solutions to remove scratches:

* Wash and Wipe
– When you take a bath, you can scrub off dirt trails and dirt deposits from your body. The same logic can be applied to removing scratches from your car or any other painted object. You can shower your scratched item with water and apply soap on the scratched portions. Once done, scrub the soapy areas with a chamois. Rinse the scratched item and wipe it with a microfiber towel. When the item is completely dry, you will notice that the item is missing a good number of faint scratches.
* Makeshift Concealers – If you find the washing and scrubbing of large scratched objects too taxing, you can instead conceal scratches with a handful of items that can act as cheap paint substitutes. A good scratch concealer is nail polish. Nail polish provides a tough coat and its built-in adhesive sticks to any surface, just like paint. As long as you have nail polish that bears the same color as the paint, you can use the cosmetic product to conceal minor scratches. Other good makeshift concealers are oil paint, acrylic paint, and spray paint.
* car wax Car Wax – Some car wax models are specially formulated to remove scratches. Not only do these car-polishing solutions give your car a fine sheen, they can also eliminate scratches from other metal items such as refrigerator doors or metal ornaments. Apply a generous amount of scratch-removing car wax on a scratched surface then scrub it with a chamois to remove most minor scratches. To maximize the effects of car wax, you can use it after washing the scratched item with soap and water.
* Scratch Remover – Scratch-removing solutions work just like a specialized car wax, only their formulations are much tougher on scratches. In general, scratch removers are gentle to most surfaces. They won't cause discoloration even if their active ingredients are abrasive to severe scratches. The application of scratch removers is also similar to car wax's, where the best results can be generated after washing the scratched item with soap and water.
* use sandpaper Sandpaper – For the most severe scratches, sandpaper may appear an unconventional solution. Severe scratches are usually lined with sharp grooves, which cannot be handled by scratch removers. The rough surface of sandpaper can steadily reduce the grooves and realign the outmost layer of the scratch to the surface's level. When a deep scratch has been reduced by sandpaper, you can simply hide the scratch with spray paint or any other makeshift concealer. By the way, sandpaper should only be used on severe and violent scratches. If you use it on minor scratches, the rough surface of sandpaper will rip through your paint job.

Scratch My Back and I'll Repaint Yours

Some scratch formations are simply too severe for any of the solutions listed above. Normally, groups of deep and violent scratches will not be erased by the best scratch removers, nor will they be remedied by sandpaper and makeshift concealers. You have to follow a specific procedure to get rid of these annoying lines on your car or any other painted property.

Materials Used:

* paint thinner
* cloth
* spray paint
* towel
* car shampoo
* water hose (if necessary)
* sandpaper (if necessary)

Collect Materials

The materials for this project are pretty easy to find. The spray paint, paint thinner and sandpaper can be purchased at any hardware center. The water hose can be bought in a gardening store. You can purchase the car shampoo with one quick visit to a car accessories store. As for the rest of the materials needed, you can surely find all of them in your home.

By the way, when you are purchasing spray paint, make sure that its color completely matches the color of the scratched material's paint. You would not want to remove portions of different-colored paint.

I am Carwash

Wash the scratched object with running water. If you are handling a large object such as a car, you can use a water hose to make the job a lot faster. When you are done, apply car shampoo on the scratched object until the shampoo lathers. The car shampoo will collect dirt and dust, which can hamper your repainting job. Rinse off the shampoo then wipe the object with a towel. Make sure that the object to be repainted is completely dry because water can lessen the potency of the paint thinner.

Scratched Paint is Like Dandruff

Apply a generous amount of paint thinner on a piece of cloth and scrub away at the heavily scratched areas. If the paint does not wear out, you can directly apply thinner on the scratched areas. Still, if the paint stays, you can substitute the cloth with sandpaper. Continue to scrub until you are able to remove the paint covering the scratched areas.

The Repaint Job

Now that you have practically removed the scratches, your next mission is to repaint the portions that you rubbed off with paint thinner. Get your can of spray paint and paint the discolored portions. When the paint dries, your formerly scratched object will look as good as a newly purchased item.

Final Thought

Paint scratches make stylish objects like cars look like less than what they are actually worth. Good thing you have several options at your disposal that can take care of those annoying lines. Just follow all the steps and procedures indicated in this guide and you will be able to handle any type of paint scratch.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

LPG (Autogas) fuel conversions

As much as I'd love to drive a hybrid, pure electric or biodiesel powered vehicle, I'm stuck with petrol (gas) vehicles for the time being. It's something that really bugged me; not only the environmental aspects, but the amount of blood that's been spilled over black gold.

Personally, I'm all for going back to the horse and cart, walking or biking. I do little (none) of the latter, purely because as far as I'm concerned, cars and bikes on the same bit of tar do not mix :).

Up until recently, I had glossed over the possibility of converting the car to LPG . LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas - a mixture of butane and propane. LPG is produced during crude oil refinement, or is extracted from oil or natural gas seams. It's often referred to as autogas in other countries

A conversion seemed pretty costly and I've never owned vehicles I've kept for long enough to recoup the cost. I also wasn't aware of any environmental benefits of LPG.

The Australian Government recently announced a subsidy for LPG conversions, so I took another look at the option, and was very pleasantly surprised. Not only is LPG around half the price of petrol currently, but it also generates 15% less carbon dioxide and 20% less other harmful gases when combusted. LPG is particularly efficient in comparison to petrol in relation to cold engines - which is the situation when taking shorter journeys or even when you're embarking on a longer journey.

LPG also evaporates quickly if spilled, so there's no risk of earth/water contamination. LPG engines are also quieter, so less noise pollution.

Yes, it's a fossil fuel and yes it's not a *real* green, earth-friendly solution, but if I can cut back on what my vehicle spews into the atmosphere; I guess it's better than taking no action at all. Let's call it a small step among many.

Source: Green Living Tips

Friday, February 6, 2009

2010 Ford Fusion

The Bottom Line

A redesigned, reworked hybrid that proves Ford can play hardball when they want to.


  • Drivetrain tech improvements make for best-in-class mpg numbers—over 6 mpg better than Camry Hybrid
  • Neat new EcoGauge panel is both powerful and customizable
  • Refreshed styling makes an already good looking car even better looking


  • Engine-on transitions have been improved, but still could be smoother
  • Suspension damping doesn’t handle some road irregularities well
  • Given current events, buying domestic might be a leap of faith for some


  • MSRP: $27,270 (plus $725 destination/delivery charge)
  • Fuel Economy: 39 mpg city, 37 mpg highway
  • Layout: Front-wheel drive
  • Seating: Five passenger
  • Engine: Duratec 2.5 liter 16-valve Atkinson cycle I-4
  • Battery: Nickel-Metal Hydride producing a nominal 275 volts
  • Electric motor: Permanent magnet AC synchronous
    Transmission: Electronically controlled continuously variable
  • Fuel capacity: 17.5 gallons
    Estimated cruising range: 700 miles +
  • Recommended fuel: 87 octane
    Base curb weight: 3,720 lbs
  • Emission rating: Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (AT-PZEV)

Guide Review - 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid test drive

Pop Quiz: Let’s say you’re hot for a new midsize hybrid sedan… who ya gonna call? Conventional wisdom may send you to a Toyota dealership, but Ford’s 2010 Fusion has improved by leaps and bounds in an attempt to re-program the buying instincts of American car consumers.

To battle the mighty Toyota, Fusion Hybrid gets a load of serious improvements, the bulk of which lie within its drivetrain, deep beneath its refreshed skin. For starters, the NiMH battery is smaller and more powerful, the engine on/off switch operates 50% more often, and electric-only propulsion can be sustained up to 47 mph. A 2.5-liter Atkinson four-cylinder produces 155 of the total 191 horsepower, and EPA numbers are an impressive 39 mpg city/37 mpg highway.

But engine tech aside, driving’s the ultimate test, and after a day’s worth of seat time I’m here to tell you the Fusion Hybrid should put Toyota on alert. The new SmartGauge EcoGuide features four degrees of drivetrain info, including accessories load and an indication of how much throttle you can apply before the gas engine kicks in. For the visually inclined, a growing vine and leaf graphic encourages more fuel efficient driving—cool!

There’s still a bit of a vibration when the engine kicks in, but that transition (as well as brake feel) are noticeably improved. The ride is generally smooth, though some larger bumps aren’t absorbed so well by the suspension. But these are minor points compared to the Fusion Hybrid’s larger accomplishments: a comfortable and quiet cabin, an informative display that encourages responsible driving, and refinements that pull some impressive fuel economy numbers from the powertrain. Ford may be in hot water because they’re having trouble selling cars, but if the rest of their lineup gets as good as their Fusion Hybrid, there may be a bold new future for the Blue Oval.


Friday, January 23, 2009

11 Car-Care Tips that Save Gas

Fill up with a lower-octane gasoline. Buy the lowest grade or octane of gasoline that is appropriate for your car. Unless your car requires premium gasoline, filling up your car with high-octane fuel is a waste of money. That pricey premium fuel won't boost your car's fuel economy or performance in the least, so skip it.

If you're not sure what grade of fuel works best for your car, open up your owner's manual and take a look. As long as your engine doesn't knock or ping when you fuel up with regular unleaded, you're good to drive on this much cheaper gas. Passing on pricey premium gasoline could save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Don't top off. Don't bother topping off when filling your car's gas tank. Any additional gas is just going to slop around or seep out. Why waste your money paying for gas your car won't use? Stop pumping at the first indication that your tank is full when the automatic nozzle clicks off.

Tighten up that gas cap. Gas will evaporate from your car's gas tank if it has an escape. Loose, missing or damaged gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate each year, according to the Car Care Council. So be sure to tighten up that gas cap each time you fuel up your car.

Go for the shade. The hot summer sun that makes the inside of your car feel like a sauna also zaps fuel from your gas tank.

"If you let your car bake in the sun there's going to be a greater amount of evaporative emissions that take place than if you park in the shade," says Jim Kliesch, research associate at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and vehicle analyst for

So park your car in the shade of a building or tree whenever possible. And buy a good windshield shade. A windshield shade blocks sunlight and helps to keep heat out of the inside of your car.

Use your garage for your car. Got a garage? Clear it out and make room for your car. Parking in your garage will help your car stay warm in winter and cool in summer, and you won't have to depend as much on your gas-guzzling air-conditioning or defroster when you drive.

Pump up your tires. Don't get caught driving on underinflated tires. Underinflated tires wear down more quickly and they also lower your car's gas mileage.

"Tires that have low pressure offer more resistance so the engine is going to work harder to keep the car at 60," says Brian Moody, road test editor at

Your car's gas mileage may plummet by as much as 15 percent. Driving on underinflated tires may also reduce the life of your tires by 15 percent or more.

Check your tire pressure once a month. Buy a digital gauge and keep it in your glove box. Compare the pressure in your tires with the recommended pressure listed in your owner's manual and on the placard in your car door. Then inflate your tires as needed. Be sure to check tire pressure when your tires are cold. A good time is early in the morning after your car's been idle overnight.

Keep your engine in tune. Fixing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test can boost gas mileage by about 4 percent. So be sure to give your car regular tune-ups. You'll also want to watch out for worn spark plugs. A misfiring spark plug can reduce a car's fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.

Replace air filters. Keep a close eye on your engine's air filter. When the engine air filter clogs with dirt, dust and bugs, it causes your engine to work harder and your car becomes less fuel-efficient. Replacing a clogged air filter could improve your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent and save you 15 cents a gallon. It's a good idea to have your engine air filter checked at each oil change. The Car Care Council recommends changing your car's air and oil filters every three months or 3,000 miles or as specified in your owner's manual.

Use the right oil. You can improve your car's gas mileage by 1 percent to 2 percent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. Opt for motor oil with the words "energy conserving" on the API performance label. This oil contains friction-reducing additives.

Don't skimp on maintenance. Be serious about auto care. Your car's performance depends on it.

"Always follow the manufacturer-recommended maintenance," Moody says. "The car's designed to run a certain way. If you neglect it, it won't be as efficient."

Obey the car-care guidelines outlined in your owner's manual. For more auto-care guidelines check out this free maintenance schedule from the Car Care Council.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is Biofuel still in this 2009?

I recently spent time with Saab’s bioethanol experts – and it got me thinking. Are they heading down a dead-end with their E85-fuelled vehicles? Or are they right to persist with biofuels, even if public perception swung dramatically in 2008?

They certainly don’t sell many in the UK. Since 2006, Saab Biopower cars make up less than half of one percent of sales here – but the UK is notoriously behind other markets with its acceptance of bioethanol cars.

Sweden: firm believers in biofuels

Back in the homeland, half the buses in Stockholm run on bioethanol – and a third of all new cars sold in Sweden every year run on the green stuff, including one in five Saabs. As ever with fuel debates, availability is a big issue: the UK has only 20 filling stations with bioethanol, compared with 60 in Ireland and 350 in France. Compare that with the 1050 in Sweden and you can see why it’s popular there.

Okay, so you can mix bioethanol with regular petrol, but then of course you’re turning your back on its green credentials. Saab argues that even if petrol stations in the UK aren’t supporting the use of bioefuels as much as they could or should, it’s still possible to run your car on petrol in the meantime and keep your options open for the future.

We already know from Ben Oliver’s report in the August 2008 issue of CAR magazine that ethanol is majorly supported in Brazil, where a quarter of cars run on biofuels. But can you imagine having the sugar plantations required in the UK and the resultant change required in the agricultural system? Supporters argue we already import much of our energy, so why is shipping in biofuels any different?

How do biofuels perform on the road?

I drove the latest Saab XWD/Aero running on biofuel and can confirm it in no way affects the performance of the car compared with regular UK models slurping unleaded. Could I detect the higher power outputs and combustion efficiency of Saab’s Biofuels engines? It’s touch and go.

Critics say that Saab is backing the Betamax of the fuel world, but I still admire the plucky Swedes for developing E85 cars. Who knows what could come from this in the future.

We all look to develop and advance ourselves for the better, so why not the environment we live in? Maybe this is a useful starting block for what is to come. IMO we should be looking at all options – whether they be electric, hybrid, plug-in or biofuel. And you know what? I prefer a car to sound and feel like a car, and that’s why I still struggle with the milkfloat connotations of electric cars.

Would I buy a biofuel car? Not at a premium – too many uncertainties remain. But I still believe they’re right to develop the technology. None of us should put all our eggs in one basket…