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Auto Repair and Maintenance

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How to Tell Whether Your Vehicle Needs a Tune-up

Tune-up intervals vary from one vehicle to another. Most older vehicles with non-electronic ignitions should be tuned every 10,000 to 12,000 miles or every year, whichever comes first. Newer cars with [more…]

How to Remove Hard-to-Reach Spark Plugs

When changing your spark plugs, you may have some difficulty loosening a spark plug for the first time. Grease, sludge, and other junk may have caused the plug to stick in place, especially if it’s been [more…]

How to Buy the Right Spark Plugs

To buy the proper spark plugs for your vehicle, you must know its specifications. Your owner’s manual may have specifications for buying and gapping the spark plugs on your vehicle. If you don’t have an [more…]

Tips for Washing Your Car's Body

Cleaning your car efficiently saves you time and effort and ensures that the vehicle’s body comes out looking great. If you clean haphazardly, the task takes much longer, and you run the risk of scratching [more…]

How to Gap Your Spark Plugs

The gap between the center and side electrodes of a spark plug must be an exact distance; otherwise, your plugs don’t fire efficiently. Adjusting the distance between the two electrodes is called [more…]

How to Install a Spark Plug

When you're changing your vehicle's spark plugs, work on one spark plug at a time: Remove it, inspect it, clean it, and — if it’s salvageable — gap it. Then replace it before you move on to the next spark [more…]

How to Find the Right Battery for Your Vehicle

If you’ve decided to replace your car's battery yourself, the first thing to do is to buy the right one. Unless your vehicle has a shield over the battery that’s difficult or dangerous to remove, it shouldn’t [more…]

How to Remove and Install a Car Battery

No matter how well your vehicle is working, if your battery dies and can’t be recharged, you’re stranded in a vehicle that you can’t drive in for service. A battery usually has a sticker on it that shows [more…]

How to Change a Vehicle's Fuses

If your stereo goes dead, your turn signals don’t blink, a light goes out, or some other gadget stops working, it’s often just the result of a blown fuse. You can change fuses yourself, easily and with [more…]

Replacing and Adjusting Halogen and Xenon Headlamps

Before attempting to replace or adjust your headlights, you need to know whether you have halogen or xenon headlamps or the old-style sealed-beam units. You can tell which type of headlights you have by [more…]

How to Replace Sealed-Beam Headlights

Older vehicles have sealed-beam units, which are relatively easy to deal with. If one of your headlights ceases to shine, first consult your owner’s manual to see whether it contains instructions for replacing [more…]

How to Change Your Car's Air Filter

On most modern vehicles, the air filter is under the hood inside a rectangular cold air collector box that’s located up near the front of the engine compartment. [more…]

How to Change Your Vehicle's Fuel Filter

Changing the filter on a fuel-injected vehicle can be tricky. On fuel-injected vehicles, you need to disable the fuel pump to relieve the pressure on the fuel lines, which may be secured to the filter [more…]

How to Change a Vehicle's PCV Valve

Not every vehicle has a PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve. If yours has one, and your engine has been idling roughly or a malfunction indicator light goes on, check the PCV valve to make sure [more…]

How to Check and Clean the PCV Valve

Car manufacturers suggest that PCV valves be cleaned or replaced after somewhere between 20,000 to 50,000 miles of driving. Consult your owner’s manual to see where the PCV valve is located on your vehicle [more…]

How to Troubleshoot Catalytic Converters

The catalytic converter is a very important part of the emissions control system on your vehicle. It’s usually good for the life of a vehicle, but occasionally it does fail. The best thing you can do is [more…]

How to Check an Engine's Cylinder Compression

If your vehicle has been running roughly or losing power, there may be a lack of pressure in one or more cylinders. To determine whether pressure is escaping from the engine, you need to check the compression [more…]

How to Troubleshoot an Overheating Engine

The first sign of a vehicle overheating is either when the needle on the temperature gauge pushes its way into the ominous red zone or the “Check Engine” or “Temperature” malfunction indicator light on [more…]

How to Safely Check the Fluid in a Vehicle's Coolant System

To keep your cooling system cool, check the fluid level in the system and, if necessary, add water and coolant. It’s dangerous to remove the pressure cap from the radiator or coolant recovery system reservoir [more…]

How to Add Liquid to a Coolant Recovery System

If your car has a coolant recovery system, you can check the level of liquid on the side of the plastic reservoir. You just open the cap on the reservoir to check whether the coolant looks as though it [more…]

How to Check and Add Liquid to a Radiator

If you don’t have a pressurized coolant recovery system, you have to add liquid directly to the radiator. If you must add liquid to the radiator if the engine is still warm, always do so slowly with the [more…]

How to Test the Quality of Your Engine Coolant/Antifreeze

The coolant in your vehicle should be changed if you haven’t changed it in a year or in the past 20,000 miles; if your vehicle constantly loses liquid in the system and overheats easily; or if you’ve frequently [more…]

How to Use Coolants Safely

When you flush your vehicle's cooling system yourself, it’s important to avoid endangering children and animals. Because coolant looks and tastes good, a puddle can be hazardous to children. That goes [more…]

How to Flush Your Vehicle's Cooling System

If your vehicle’s owner’s manual has instructions for draining the liquid from the cooling system, follow them. If you don’t have a manual, or if it lacks such instructions for flushing the cooling system [more…]

How to Find Leaks in Your Vehicle's Cooling System

In addition to keeping the water and coolant level where it needs to be, you can prevent trouble in your car's cooling system by keeping an eye out for leaks and replacing old or damaged hoses. The common [more…]

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