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Testing Autos: Know your car - Car care explained




Car Care:   Servicing your car

Servicing Your Car

When do spark plugs need to be replaced?

Spark plug Spark plugs deliver the electric spark that starts the 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?

Drive 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 »

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 »

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 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 »

When does a starter motor need to be replaced?

Starter motorThe function of the starter motor is to turn over your engine to start it. How does it work? How long does it last? Are there any signs that the starter motor is failing? How much does it cost to replace a starter motor? Read more »

Signs of a bad window regulator, window run channel, replacement cost

Window regulatorWorking power windows are vital for safe driving. In many jurisdictions, power windows (if equipped) are required to be operational for a vehicle to pass the safety inspection. Are there any signs that the window regulator is failing? Yes, Read more »

Broken side mirror: What are the repair options and cost?

Side mirrorYou come out of the store and find the side mirror on your car is broken. This unfortunate situation is familiar to many. We need side mirrors for the safe driving, what are the repair options and cost? 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 »

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 »

When does a CV axle need to be replaced?

CV axle A CV axle is a shaft with constant-velocity (CV) joints that transfers the rotating torque to a drive wheel in a car. How does a CV axle work? What are the symptoms of a bad CV axle? How much does it cost to replace a CV axle? Read more »

When does a wheel bearing need to be replaced?

Wheel bearingThe function of a wheel bearing is simple: to enable the wheel spin freely. How long does a wheel bearing last? When does it need to be replaced? Does it need any maintenance? What are the symptoms of a bad wheel bearing? Replacement cost. Read more »

When should tires be replaced?

New versus worn out tire Tires make a huge difference in the way the vehicle handles. Worn out tires have less grip in turns and on wet surface, which means the vehicle is more likely to slide or hydroplane in a rain. The braking distance increases too. The all-wheel drive and vehicle stability control system become less effective when tires are bald. How to know when it's time to look for new tires? 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 »

When do the control arms need to be replaced?

Control arms Whether it's the 50's classic or the most advanced modern car, control arms are vital components of the front suspension. When should control arms be replaced? Should they be replaced in pairs? What is the repair cost? Read more »

When does a tie rod end need to be replaced?

Tie rod end A tie rod is a part of the steering system. How does it work? What are the symptoms of a loose tie rod end? Should both, inner and outer tie rod ends be replaced together? Does a tire rod need any maintenance? Replacement cost. 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 »

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 »

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 »

4WD

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 »

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 »

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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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