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CAR KILLERS!!!
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THINGS THAT CAN "KILL" YOUR CAR BEFORE ITS TIME
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A FAMILIAR BUT SAD STORY...............................

It's been a good car. You don't have to do much besides put gas in it. Then one day TRAGEDY STRIKES!!!

One day your car breaks down, and it couldn't be at a worse time. Then the cruelest cut of all! The mechanic at the auto repair shop you go to says it's going to cost hundreds of dollars to fix your car...HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS YOU DON'T HAVE!

DON'T LET IT BE YOU! WATCH OUT FOR THE CAR KILLERS!

The modern car should last well in excess of 100,000 miles, with mileages of more than 250,000 being common. This is mileage without MAJOR drivetrain repairs, such as an engine or transmission overhaul.

There are a number of parts which do not last as long, however. Know what these parts are and when they are likely to fail, check them regularly, and then fix them before they leave you stranded! This can save you big bucks! Avoid Car Killers!

The Car Killers

There are 4 vital engine parts things which wear out way before the engine does. These are "maintenance" car killers.
Your water pump (unless you have an air cooled car) can fail in two ways: the water pump bearings can fail and eventually either freeze up or throw the belt off. Or the water pump seals can fail and leak engine coolant. The alternator which keeps the battery charged and powers the electrc stuff on the car can fail in a number of ways. Your starter one day will start to drag, click, or refuse to do anything at all! A fuel pump can fail with little warning, and in some cases pump your engine crankcase full of gasoline, destroying your engine and possibly starting a fire!

The point is, BEWARE THE CAR KILLERS!

All of the above parts will fail before 150,000 to 200,000 miles. Their bearings, brushes, rubber parts, etc. just don't last that long. I can't tell you which one will go out first. I can guarantee you this: By the time you hit 10 years or 100,000 miles, you will have one of these engine accessories fail. By the time you hit 200,000 miles you will have replaced all 4 of these engine accessories. Check out the highlighted links above to find out how to check these 4 vital engine parts.

But you're not safe yet! Here's more killers!

Many cars have a timing belt. If it breaks it can destroy your engine in certain cars. Engine timing belts should be replaced every 50,000 miles. They break any time after 60,000 miles or 7 years. They rarely last 100,000 miles. Some newer cars recommend a 100,000 mile replacement on timing belts. Trouble is an engine like that often has a water pump driven by the belt. The water pump fails, so does the belt, and there goes the engine! Bad CV JOINTS on front wheel drive cars won't destroy your engine, but they're expensive to replace. CV joints have rubber boots which keep the grease in them and keep dirt out. These boots are supposed to be replaced and new grease put in the CV joint every 50,000 miles. If you do this, the axles should last 150,000 plus miles with 50,000 mile services. (this would be about every time you do the front brakesor set of tires.) In addition it's important to check the 4 rubber boots regularly, especiallly before a long trip. They'll destroy themselves fairly rapidly, they will start making a clicking noise on turns, and then you have to replace the axles!

Most of the time you see a car on the side of the road it's because of something made of rubber. Rubber (like your tires, belts, and hoses) wear out with time and mileage. Something made of rubber that is over 10 years old is likely to be bad no matter how much it's used. THESE ARE THE BIG CAR KILLERS!

Engine radiator hoses as well as the often ignored heater and bypass hoses can fail after 50,000 miles. This can overheat your engine, causing serious damage: especially in this day of aluminum engine parts!

The engine thermostat can stick shut and overheat an engine. If you ever blow a hose or get the engine hot, the thermostat can be damaged. It works for a while then sticks shut, overheating the engine again. It's not a bad idea to replace the thermostat whenever you replace the water pump or when you change all the hoses.

Transmission cooler lines, especially flexible rubber ones, can leak , as well as many other vital seals and gaskets. It's a good idea to look for leaks and discover their source. Also notice any loss of fluids when you CHECK YOUR FLUIDS MONTHLY OR EVERY 1000 MILES!!!!!!!!!!!!

A CAR HEART ATTACK! A REAL KILLER!!!

When that oil pressure light goes on, shut the engine off. Your engine can run with that light on about as long as you can live without a heartbeat. An exception is if you are slamming on brakes hard or cornering fast. In that case, stay off the gas. If the light goes off quickly, continue on, take it easy, and add oil AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

When your TEMPERATURE light comes on,it's not as urgent as the oil light, but almost. A modern engine won't tolerate much overheating. Turning on the heater can provide additional cooling in an emergency. (Your heater is just a small radiator under the dash.) A stop to let your car cool off and check out the problem can save you a lot of expense (like a new engine expense!).

LISTEN TO YOUR CAR!

Any new squeals, taps, knocks, or rattles might be a warning sign. My Noise Library

has .wav sound files of car and engine noises. A new noise may be a new engine or other problem.

An article from Villanova University

How Neglect and Poor Maintenance Can Kill Your Vehicle

Many cars today are built to last. With proper maintenance, itís not uncommon to reach 100,000 miles or even 200,000 or more without experiencing major repairs. Overlooking simple and relatively low-cost car maintenance can lead to malfunction and vehicle breakdowns. Sometimes, it also leaves owners saddled with expensive repairs that could have been avoided. The key is to provide your vehicle with the routine maintenance recommended by the manufacturer and to keep a watchful eye on a few other importance vehicle maintenance tasks, including the following four items.

Motor Oil: The Lifeblood of Your Engine

One of the most important things you can do for your car is to check and change the oil on a regular basis. Operating your vehicle without an adequate amount of motor oil, or with old oil, can have disastrous results. At minimum, your engine wonít operate as efficiently and wonít last as long. Motor oil provides several key benefits to your engine and clean oil always does the job better than dirty oil. Oilís most important function is lubrication. High temperatures cause oil to break down, making it less effective. Without enough clean oil, the moving parts of the engine donít function as efficiently and can actually rub together. Over time, metal-on-metal movement can wear internal engine parts down, make them stick together, or otherwise cause catastrophic engine failure. Oil also protects your engine by absorbing dirt, dust, and other corrosive elements. As oil becomes saturated, it canít absorb any more and these elements can damage your engine.

Donít Break Your Brakes with Bad Brake Pads

While most people are aware of the importance of brake maintenance, many still disregard the warning signs of brake pad wear. What they may not know is that by putting off replacing brake pads, a relatively inexpensive car maintenance item, they risk causing significant damage to their braking system. In time, owners will be at risk for brake failure. Vehicle owners should pay attention to noise they hear upon braking and have any unusual squealing, hissing, or grinding noise evaluated immediately. Squealing brakes typically indicate worn out brake pads. If they arenít replaced, you will eventually have metal grinding against metal upon braking, which can cause wear and damage to the brake system, such as warped brake rotors. Most importantly, operating a vehicle with worn out brake pads creates a safety issue, as brakes can take longer to stop a vehicle, especially at higher speeds. They can also fail completely, lose anti-lock function, or result in a loss of vehicle control.

Transmission Fluid Needs a Good Flush

Just as motor oil provides lubrication for the moving parts of your engine, transmission fluid lubricates the moving parts of your transmission. In automatic transmissions, it can also act as a transmission coolant. Like oil, it degrades over time but the biggest reason to periodically flush your transmission fluid is the contaminants, such as metal particles, that the fluid absorbs which inhibit performance and can cause damage. By draining your transmission fluid completely and replacing it with new fluid, you can ensure reliable and efficient transmission performance and can prolong the life of your transmission. Some shops have equipment that changes transmission fluid without removing the transmission oil pan. Although this can replace the fluid it does not replace the transmission fluid filter, which is important.

Help Your Engine Keep Its Cool with Coolant

A car engine generates a significant amount of heat during operation and the faster you drive, the more heat the engine produces. A car engine produces enough heat to melt its own materials and to degrade or even set fire to lubricants. Therefore, coolant is a vital component to prevent damage to engine materials and lubricants. Most coolants are composed of chemicals such as propylene glycol and ethylene glycol, mixed with between 50 percent and 25 percent water. When mixed with water, this mix has a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than plain water, thus allowing higher temperatures before the coolant boils, and preventing the cooling system from freezing in winter. Modern antifreeze also has corrosion inhibitors which protect your engine, radiator, and heater core from corrosion damage. Coolant is available full strength and pre-mixed. The pre-mixed is cheaper per gallon, because it already has the right amount of water added. If you use the non-premixed, you should mix a 50/50 to 75/25 mix of antifreeze and water. I recommend using distilled water when you mix your own: it's cheap and available at any grocery strore. DO NOT put pure antifreeze in your car: it will make your engine overheat. 75/25 is the maximum strength.

Preventative Maintenance: A Much Less Expensive Alternative to Repairs

By properly maintaining the crucial systems and parts of your car, you can save yourself the expense of costly repairs, as well as the inconvenience of being without reliable transportation. Simple and inexpensive vehicle maintenance items, such as oil changes, keeping a watch on transmission fluid and coolant levels, and replacing worn brake pads can provide you with years of trouble-free transportation and save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

Author Bio Grant Webb reports on current auto manufacturing methodologies for improvement and sustainability including Six Sigma Training & Six Sigma Certification for vehicle manufacturers.


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Thank you for visiting the ECONOMECHANIX WEB SITE. Please feel free to comment. We also serve the surrounding communities of Alachua, High Springs, Hawthorne, and Newberry! Gainesville has been my home since 1974, and I've loved Gvl and the Gators since I came here in the fall of 1974 to attend the University of Florida. I loved it so much I stayed and opened my car repair business. Originally it was out of the back of a 1963 Chevrolet wagon, but in 1977 a fellow mechanic and I opened an auto repair shop with actual walls, etc. I stayed in the same location for 26 years, and recently moved my operation to property I bought 15 miles east of Gainesville. I am doing most all the repairs myself now, having reduced my overhead from $1500 per month to practically nothing. I do work by appointment only. I mostly work only on my established customers cars, but I will occasionally take on new clients. E-mail me and I will either make arrangements to look at your car, or I will recommend you to someone who will.

George G. Scott, Jr.


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Auto, Car, and Truck Article List

A
ABS: Anti-Lock Brake Systems
ADVANCE: Car ignition timing
ALTERNATORS and Car Battery
AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS
B
BAD CAR DESIGNS
BATTERIES: Auto, Car or Truck
BELTS AND HOSES
BEARINGS
BODY AND BUMPER REPAIRS
BRAKE REPAIRS: Car or Truck
C
Car Washing and Care
CARBURETORS:Car & Truck
CHECK ENGINE LIGHT
CLEANING: Engine Cleaning
CLUTCH REPAIRS: Car & Truck
COMPRESSION: Car Engine
COMPUTER CAR CONTROLS
CV JOINT OR CV AXLES
D
DISTRIBUTORS (IGNITION)
E
ELECTRIC WIRING REPAIR
ENGINES: Car & Truck
ENGINE CLEANING
EXPANSION PLUGS
F
FREEZE PLUGS
FUEL AIR MIXTURE
FUEL INJECTION: Car & Truck
FUEL PUMPS: Car & Truck
G
GAGES AND "IDIOT LIGHTS"
GASKETS AND SEALS
GLASS: WINDOWS AND WINDSHIELDS
H
HEADS & HEAD GASKET
HOSES AND BELTS
I
"IDIOT LIGHTS" AND GAGES
IGNITION TIMING: Car & Truck
J
AUTO JACKS: lifting cars safely
K
L
LEAN "Car runs lean"
LIGHTS: WARNING OR "IDIOT LIGHTS"
Limp Home Mode
M
MIL Light
MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS
N
NO START: Car Won't Start
O
OIL CHANGES
OIL: What's right for your car?
OIL LIGHT ON OR GAGE LOW
P
PCV Valve
Q
R
RADIATORS: Car and Truck
RICH: Car runs rich
S
SEALS AND GASKETS
SERVICE ENGINE SOON LIGHT
SPARK PLUGS
STARTERS: Auto, Truck
T
THERMOSTATS
TIMING: IGNITION TIMING
TIMING BELT & TIMING CHAIN
TIRE REPAIR
TRANSMISSIONS: AUTOMATIC
TRANSMISSIONS: MANUAL
U
V
VACUUM ADVANCE
WARNING LIGHTS OR "IDIOT LIGHTS"
Car Washing and Care
W
WATER PUMP REPAIR
WINDOWS AND WINDSHIELDS
WIRING REPAIR
X
Y
Z

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