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Testing Autos: Know your car - Car care explained

Car Care:   Servicing your car

Servicing Your Car

When does a car battery need to be replaced?

Car batteryThe most important function of a battery is to start your car. A car won't start if a battery is low on charge. When can a low battery be re-charged and when should it be replaced? How can a battery be tested? How long does an average car battery last? What are the early signs that the battery is failing? Read more »

Are your tires safe?

Checking tire treadTires are what's holding your car to the road. Worn out tires increase the risk of an accident. We all know that, but at what point should tires be replaced? How do you know if your tires are worn out? Should you opt for different tires or stick with the same brand that came with your car? What can you do to make your tires last longer? Read more »

When struts and shock absorbers should be replaced?

Front strutShock absorbers and struts are parts of the vehicle suspension that absorb shocks from the bumps and potholes and keep your vehicle riding smooth and stable. What is the difference between a shock absorbers and a strut? When struts / shock absorbers should be replaced Read more »

How often should the wheel alignment be done?

Wheel alignmentWhy does a car even need an alignment? It's because over time, wheel angles change, whether as a result of normal wear or after hitting large potholes speed bumps. Improper alignment causes poor handling and increased tire wear. The wheel alignment is a process of adjusting wheel angles. How often does it need to be done? Read more »

When do spark plugs need to be replaced?

Spark plugSpark plugs deliver an electric spark that starts combustion inside the cylinders of a gasoline-powered engine. Without a spark, a gasoline engine would not start. As a part of regular maintenance, spark plugs need to be replaced at some point, but when? Read more »

When does the timing belt need to be replaced

Timing BeltDoes your car have a timing belt? It's the most important belt in the engine. If it breaks, the engine will stall. In some cars, the engine might get damaged if the timing belt breaks while driving. How often does the timing belt need to be replaced? Read more »

What about the timing chain?

Timing Chain We all know that a timing belt in a car engine needs to be replaced at recommended service intervals, but what about the timing chain? What is the difference between a timing belt and a chain? Read more »

Drive belt: how long can it last?

Timing Belt Your engine has a number of mechanical accessories attached to it, such as an alternator, water pump, power steering pump and an air conditioner compressor. What makes the belt wear sooner? When should it be replaced? Read more »

How often should you change oil in your car?

Adding oilThere were times when engine oil was recommended to be changed every 3,000 miles. Gradually, car manufacturers have been extending oil change intervals to 5,000 miles, then to 8,000 and in some cases even to 15,000 miles. So, how often should you change oil in your car? Read more »

How to check the oil level in a car

Checking oilTo last longer, your engine must always have the proper level of oil. As you drive, some amount of oil is consumed and the oil level drops. As a result, the friction increases and the engine wears faster. By checking the oil level, you can catch if it's getting low and top it up. You also can see how dirty your oil is and if it's time for an oil change. Read more »

When should you change your automatic transmission fluid?

Transmission fluidIn many today's cars changing of the transmission fluid is not even included in the maintenance schedule. Should you still change the transmission fluid? How can you check the transmission level if there is no dipstick? Is it safer to do a drain and refill or flush the transmission with a flush machine? Read more »

How often does a car need a tune-up?

Tune upYour car needs regular oil changes, we all know that, but when does it need a tune-up? A tune-up is a major service that includes an oil change, replacement of an engine air filter, spark plugs and possibly a few additional items. A tune-up is not a solution for all car problems, but rather a preventative maintenance for your engine. Read more »

When does the valve cover gasket need to be replaced?

Leaking valve cover gasket A valve cover gasket is one of the common sources of oil leaks in your engine. Sometimes it may need to be replaced. How it's diagnosed and how expensive is the replacement? Read more »

Why a phone won't pair with a car Bluetooth?

Pairing a phone to car bluetooth With any new technology we are getting new problems. Why my phone doesn't connect to the car? How to pair your phone to the car. Read more »

How often should an engine air filter be changed?

Air filterThe air filter is the part that filters the air entering your engine, protecting it from sand and dust. As you drive, the air filters becomes contaminated. At some point, it will need to be replaced, but when? Can a dirty air filter affect your gas mileage? Is there a way to check its condition? Read more »

When transfer case oil should be changed?

Transfer caseIf your SUV or truck has AWD or 4WD system, it probably has a transfer case. This is often the most neglected maintenance item. In modern car-based SUVs and crossovers it's called a "power transfer unit" or PTU. A transfer case or PTU is filled with special oil that needs to be changed in regular intervals. Read more »

Top-10 Lists

Acura RSX

Top 10 sporty cars for under 15K

Honda Civic SiThe Civic Si is a very solid, reliable small car. If you like performance mods, there is no better candidate. The Civic Si comes with a high-revving 197-hp 2.0L i-VTEC engine and only a 6-speed manual transmission; no automatic was offered. Read more »

Top 10 sports cars under $20,000

Ford MustangThis iconic pony car is widely available and we even found a few SVT Cobra and Shelby models for under $20,000. The 4-th and 5-th generation Mustang is more of a straight-line-power muscle car with 2+2 seating, although it handles well even with the solid rear axle in the back. Read more »

Top 10 V6 sedans for under $10,000

Chrysler 300The 300 is a product of the joint efforts of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler; it shares many components with the Mercedes-Benz E-class. This large rear-wheel drive sedan surely has a bad-ass image and can be easily modified to suit your style. Read more »

Top 10 cars with best MPG for under $10,000

Ford Fusion hybridFord Fusion is a mid-size front-wheel drive sedan riding on the excellent platform developed when Ford was working together with Mazda. You get great handling, smooth ride and excellent fuel economy in one package. The interior is roomy and offers plenty of high-end technology. The 2014 Fusion hybrid is rated at 43/39 MPG city/highway. Read more »

10 fast cars under $10K

Dodge Charger The Charger is a serious car for a reasonable price. Riding on the rear-wheel drive platform, the Charger is fast and fun to drive. Read more »


Off-roading in a 4WD vehicle

Are AWD cars more expensive to maintain than FWD?

FWD vs AWD maintenanceDo AWD vehicles require more maintenance? What is the mechanical difference between FWD and AWD? Read more »

What is On-Demand AWD and how does it work?

Compact SUVManufacturers use marketing-friendly names for their AWD systems. How do you know if an AWD system is On-Demand? Read more »

What is 4WD binding (windup)

4WD binding Why some 4WD vehicles cannot be driven on a dry pavement? What is the 4WD binding and what can cause it? Can you drive a full-time AWD vehicle on a dry pavement? Read more »


BMW 5 series

Buying a used BMW: models, ratings, common problems

BMW 3-seriesBMW is an excellent driving machine, thanks to its classic rear-wheel drive platform and strong engines. A new BMW costs a lot, so many buyers opt for used models; they are not very expensive and widely available. There are few things you should consider before buying a used BMW: Read more »

What makes Nissan GT-R so fast – technology explained

Nissan GT-RNissan GT-R is a street-legal coupe with a V6 engine, yet it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, something that a very few other sports cars can do. Is there some secret technology? What makes Nissan GT-R so fast? Read more »

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