From the radiator to water pump your cooling system keeps your car running down the road.
Your car engine produces lots of heat, and keeping that heat in check is the critical job of the cooling system. Starting at the radiator, we will dive into the cooling system and see what you can do to keep it operating efficiently.
The cooling system is designed to remove heat from the engine to keep the engine operating in it's optimal temperature range. The cooling system is comprised of the following parts...
Water Pump: The water pump is either driven by the fan belt or the timing belt on some newer vehicles. The pump moves coolant from the radiator, through the engine, and back into the radiator. The pump has a shaft with a pulley on one end and a pump rotor on the other end. When the pulley is spun by a belt, the rotor moves the coolant.
Radiator: The radiator is a series of thin channels where the coolant flows through and it cooled by air flowing through it. It is important to keep your coolant in good condition to keep the channels open in the radiator. Following your manufacturers recommendation for changing your coolant, to keep your radiator in good shape.
Thermostat: The thermostat controls the flow of coolant through the engine. When your engine is cold, it actually operates with less efficiency. So until the engine warms up to it's ideal temperature, the thermostat keeps coolant from flowing. Your thermostat can fail in either an open or closed condition. When it fails in the open position, your engine may actually run too cold and you will have bad gas mileage. If the thermostat fails in the closed position, your engine will overheat since no coolant will be flowing through the engine.
Hoses: The hoses carry the coolant from the radiator to the waterpump and from the engine to the radiator. Hoses are generally made of rubber and can deteriorate with time. Hose should be flexible and not dry rotted (check for tiny cracks in the hose)
Coolant: Coolant is generally a mix of water and ethylene glycol. Many times called Anti-Freeze, coolant serves many purposes. As it's common name implies, coolant prevents freezing, but it also provides lubrication for the waterpump, increases boiling point of water, and keeps rust and scale from forming in your cooling system. Coolant must be changed on a regular basis, check your owners manual for the recommended schedule. PH level is critical to keeping your coolant from becoming a metal eating liquid. When you check your coolant for freeze point, also check out the PH level and make sure your coolant has not turned acidic.
The function of the vehicle fuel system is to store and supply fuel to the engine. The engine intake system is where the fuel is mixed with air, atomized, and vaporized. Then it can be compressed in the engine cylinder and ignited to produce energy or power. Although fuel systems vary from engine to engine, all systems are the same in that they must supply fuel to the combustion chamber and control the amount of fuel supplied in relation to the amount of air.
The fuel is stored in the fuel tank and the fuel pump draws fuel from the tank. It then travels through the fuel lines and is delivered it through a fuel filter to the fuel injectors (carburetors and throttle body injection were used on older vehicles). As the fuel is delivered, the final conditions for providing complete combustion are atomization and the spray pattern of the fuel. Atomization is accomplished as a result of the injection pressure, due in part to the diameter of the holes in the injector. The spacing, angle and number of holes in the injector tip determine the spray pattern.
Depending on whether your vehicles fuel system is a return type or returnless type system, the fuel pressure is regulated differently. A return type system has a fuel pressure regulator that varies the fuel pressure based on the amount of vacuum from the intake system. This is so the amount of fuel pressure and flow of fuel as it reaches the injectors remains consistently the same. Whereas a returnless type system uses the powertrain control module (PCM) to regulate fuel delivery. There is a fuel pressure sensor mounted to the supply rail of the fuel injectors to allow the PCM to monitor fuel pressure. When the fuel pressure and flow starts to drop due to increase of engine speed or load the PCM compensates by increasing injector duration and/or operating speed of the fuel pump.
The basic symptoms of any type of vehicle fuel system that is showing signs of wear or deterioration are:
Difficult Engine Starting
Slow or Hesitation at Acceleration
Stalling While Driving
Intermittent Power Loss
Check Engine Light or Service Engine Soon Light Illuminated
Engine Idling Rough
Excessive Engine Smoke
Noticeable Fuel Odors
Decreased Fuel Economy
If you notice any of these types of symptoms, we recommend having it checked out before something fails on your vehicle and leaves you stranded.
The fuel pressure, flow and operation of the fuel system components will need to be tested in order to diagnose the problem.
Maintenance on the fuel system is pretty simple. The main component is to keep clean fresh fuel in your vehicle. Contamination and debris are the number one cause of fuel system failures. If your vehicle is equipped with an inline fuel filter it is recommended that the filter is replaced on a yearly basis or approximately every 15,000 miles. Having the fuel system cleaned approximately every 20,000 miles with a professional decarboning and fuel system cleaning service to keep the buildup of fuel byproducts to a minimum.
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Brake pads create friction on the rotor, creating a lot of heat and pressure. The rotor is spinning so fast that it shaves off some of the brake pad every time the two come into contact, creating brake dust. Over time, the brake pad becomes so worn from constantly rubbing against the rotor that it needs to be replaced. Squeaking brakes, for example, occur primarily because the upper layer of the brake pad has completely eroded, and the hard bottom layer is rubbing against the rotor. If the pad is not replaced soon, owners are going to have to purchase both new brake pads and rotors.
Organic Brake Pads
Ceramic Brake Pads
The automotive exhaust system. Keeping your exhaust system in good working condition is vital for fuel mileage, the environment and your safety. Your cars' exhaust system carries away the gases created when the fuel and air are burned in the combustion chamber. These gases are harmful to humans and our environment. Frequent checks of your exhaust system is a must to provide for you and your family's safety. Make sure there are no holes in the exhaust system or in the passenger compartment where exhaust fumes could enter.
Parts and their functions:
Exhaust manifold: The exhaust manifold attaches to the cylinder head and takes each cylinders exhaust and combines it into one pipe. The manifold can be made of steel, aluminum, stainless steel, or more commonly cast iron.
Oxygen sensor: All modern fuel injected cars utilize an oxygen sensor to measure how much oxygen is present in the exhaust. From this the computer can add or subtract fuel to obtain the correct mixture for maximum fuel economy. The oxygen sensor is mounted in the exhaust manifold or close to it in the exhaust pipe.
Catalytic converter: This muffler like part converts harmful carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to water vapor and carbon dioxide. Some converters also reduce harmful nitrogen oxides. The converter is mounted between the exhaust manifold and the muffler.
Muffler: The muffler serves to quiet the exhaust down to acceptable levels. The combustion process is a series of explosions that create a lot of noise. Most mufflers use baffles to bounce the exhaust around dissipating the energy and quieting the noise. Some mufflers also use fiberglass packing which absorbs the sound energy as the gases flow through.
Exhaust pipe: Between all of the above parts is the exhaust pipe which carries the gas through it's journey out your tail pipe. Exhaust tubing is usually made of steel but can be stainless steel (which lasts longer due to it's corrosion resistance) or aluminized steel tubing. Aluminized steel has better corrosion resistance than plain steel but not better than stainless steel. It is however cheaper than stainless steel.
Exhaust flex pipe: is constructed of metal, much like the rest of the exhaust system, but is designed with ribs in the tubing that allow the pipe to flex and move.One benefit of exhaust flex pipe is that it can reduce vibrations transmitted from the engine and exhaust into the chassis, which in turn can be felt by the occupants of the car. The flex pipe is used to connect rigid lengths of exhaust pipe, and the fact that it can flex and move reduces these undesirable vibrations.Exhaust flex pipe can also be used to make it easier to route an exhaust system from the engine to the end of the car. Over the length of the exhaust, the pipe often has to twist and turn around components like axles, chassis areas, etc. in order to fit in the car. The flex pipe makes it easier to route areas of the exhaust that have to bend and turn. Exhaust flex pipe can also come in handy with custom exhaust system
Resonator: Many manufacturers use a resonator in the exhaust system. It is located between the muffler and the exhaust outlet.
Its function is to reduce any resonance levels that the muffler could not adequately suppress
Common Problems: Well the worst enemy of your exhaust system is corrosion.... or more commonly known as rust. Rust is caused by moisture reacting with the iron in the steel and forming iron oxide. Moisture, or water vapor is present in the exhaust as a by-product of combustion and the catalytic converter. Moisture can also come from the outside in the form of rain. Short trips in your car can shorten the life of your exhaust system. When you shut down your engine whatever water vapor is in the pipes condenses and turns back into a liquid. On a short trip the water never has a chance to get hot enough to turn back into water vapor and just stays in the system and rusts away the pipes. If you drive for short distances consider replacing your exhaust system with stainless steel when the plain steel one rusts through. If you drive more than 15 miles at a time then you should not have to worry about this. If you live in an area which uses salt on the roads in the winter time, make sure to wash the underside of you car with water every few weeks. Salt speeds up the corrosion process and getting it off as soon as possible will help stop the corrosion. Make sure you run the engine after washing to drive off all of the water on the pipes.
Noticing a decrease in your gas mileage? Your oxygen sensor could be the cause. As time goes on the oxygen sensor begins to wear out and becomes less accurate. This sometimes results in a rich fuel mixture where your engine burns more fuel than is needed. Most of the time your check engine light will come on and alert you to a failing oxygen sensor. I suggest changing the oxygen sensor every 60,000 miles just to be safe. Even though your check engine light might not be on, you could be using more gas than is needed. Changing the sensor will have you buying less gas down the road.
The next part in line to go is the muffler. Most of the time mufflers rust through and need to be replaced. There are many options out there for replacement mufflers. Some cheap and some expensive. It holds true..... you get what you pay for. If you plan on keeping your car for any period of time, spend the extra cash and get an OEM muffler or a high quality name brand muffler such as Walker or Bosal.
On rare occasions the catalytic converter will become clogged and need to be replaced. Symptoms include loss of power, heat coming from the floor of your car, glowing red converter or a sulfur smell.
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Tie Rod End
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Control Arm: They connect a vehicle's steering rack to the wheels of the car, and they hold the wheels to the car's frame. Control arms allow the wheels to move and manage the motion of the wheels by pivoting.
Coil Springs: Like an industrial-grade Slinky, a coil spring is basically a heavy-duty strip of metal that has been wound around to form a spiral or helix. Coil springs are ideal for absorbing up-down energy, but their design does not deal well with side-to-side motion. As such, coils springs are typically found on all 4 wheels of most cars, and on the front suspensions of some trucks and SUVs
Ball Joints: Ball Joints are spherical bearings that connect the control arms to the steering knuckles. They are used on virtually every automobile made and work similar to the ball and socket design of the human hip joint.
Sway Bar Links: Help reduce the body roll of a vehicle during fast cornering or over road irregularities. It connects opposite (left/right) wheels together through short lever arms linked by a torsion spring.
Tie Rod End: Help direct the steering of a vehicle and make it possible to turn a tire.
Non-Vented Brake Rotors: (Solid)
Non-vented brake rotors are most commonly made of solid iron. They are better suited for smaller, slower commuter vehicles. Non-vented brake rotors also tend to last longer than vented ones.
Vented Brake Rotors:
Vented brake rotors have holes and grooves drilled through them all around the perimeter of the brake, allowing for faster dissipation of heat that builds up when the brake pads act on the rotor. Vented brake rotors are most often used in large or high-speed vehicles. They are also often made out of ceramic or other strong synthetic materials.
Slotted (grooved) rotors are designed to output low noise while aggressive driving or towing. Two sets of indented, shallow slots across both rotor sides allows the easy exit of water, heat, brake dust, and friction gases from under the pads. They stay cooler during aggressive driving and are perfect for 4WDs that often haul heavy loads because the slots are not deep. As a result, the rotor retains its mass and strength without fracturing or warping under heavy-duty use. Considering that these slots slice away more pad material on contact, this type of rotor will cause a slightly lower pad life.
Most drilled rotors feature holes that reach through to the other side – a layout that ensures maximum disbursement of heat and debris generated under heavier use. Not recommended for hauling heavy cargo, sustained towing or built up engines. Since the drilled holes take mass out of the rotors, cracks are likely to occur between the perforations.
Electrocoating is a method of painting that uses an electrical current to deposit the paint. The process works on the principal of “Opposites Attract.” An unfinished product is immersed in a bath containing an electrophoretic paint emulsion, or oppositely charged paint particles. An electric current is passed through both the product and the emulsion. The paint particles that are in contact with the product adhere to the surface and build up an insulating layer. This layer prevents any further electrical current from passing through, resulting in a perfectly level coating even in the recessed parts of complex-shaped goods. E-Coating ensures protection against rust, better appearance and durability.
There are 2 basic types of suspension systems: dependent and independent.
On a dependent suspension system, the wheels on the left and right side of the vehicle are connected and work together. Generally, the dependent suspension uses a solid axle that spans across the entire width of your frame. Because both wheels are linked to this single beam, they respond to road conditions as a pair. If the camber of one wheel bends outward, then the other wheel follows suit.
On uneven terrain, dependent suspension systems function a lot like a seesaw. When one side dips into a pothole or rises over a rock, the other side goes in the opposite direction, either up or down. Needless to say, this bucking energy can be about as comfortable as riding a mechanical bull. However, with modern shock absorbers and springs, dependent suspension systems can be quite comfortable off-road and on.
An independent suspension system does not use a single axle to connect both sides of the vehicle. Instead, the wheels on an independent suspension system react separately to road conditions. Bumps and basins on the passenger's side do not cause the driver's side wheels to rise or fall. Independent suspension systems are rapidly becoming the standard for automobiles, and some SUVs and trucks too are using this engineering. They provide superior ride quality but are more expensive and time-consuming to manufacturer than dependent suspension systems.
Organic brake pads are the oldest type, becoming popular after asbestos brakes were banned, and are still sometimes called organic non asbestos brake pads. These pads are made from a composite of glass, rubber, resin and Kevlar fibres. As far as brake pads go, they are relatively environmentally friendly and affordable. Softer and quiter, these are ideal for small cars with little horsepower and drivers who don't speed, tailgate or otherwise drive aggresively.
Semi-metallic brake pads are made from mixing together iron, steel, copper and graphite resulting in a highly durable brake pad that is highly resistant to daily wear. In fact, this type of pad does more damage to the rotor than itself. The metal base makes this pad very heavy, putting a slight drain on fuel economy. Finally, while these pads excel at transferring heat from the rotors, they do not do well in colder conditions. Drivers who live in colder climates usually find that it takes their semi-metallic brake pads a little longer to work properly on colder days.
Ceramic brake pads For years drivers had to choose between light organic brake pads that did not last long, and heavy semi-metallic pads that damaged their rotors. Ceramic pads were invented to fix some of the issues with the other types. These are excellent pads, combining superior braking performance with lightweight durability. Ceramic pads are strong enough to stop even the fastest cars without damaging the rotors.
As their name suggests, they are made from ceramic fibres along with filling material and bonding agents. Some brands even include a little bit of copper fibres into the pad. Ceramic is an amazing material for dispersing heat, which means drivers can depend on the pad to stop their car over and over again without problems. They also produce less brake dust, helping the wheels to achieve a cleaner look.
Changing your car oil at regular intervals isn't just a good idea -- it's a vital part of keeping the engine running properly. The purpose of engine oil is to keep the internal parts of your engine lubricated and cool. It keeps the moving parts from grinding against each other, causing wear and damage.
Without frequent oil changes, dirt and sludge can build up in the engine, and old, dirty oil won't lubricate the moving parts as well as new, fresh oil will. Dirty oil leads to serious damage, and if things get bad enough, there may be an engine replacement in your future.
Semi-Metallic Brake Pads
Sway Bar Links