Monthly Archives: August 2020

Car Driving Tips – Accelerate Through Curves For Better Traction

Of the many car driving tips that might be offered, this one isn’t intuitive – accelerate through curves to gain better traction. It seems that acceleration on a curve would cause a vehicle to loose traction and fishtail. It does if you apply too much, but limited acceleration improves traction when taking a curve.

To understand this, let’s first look at traction. Then let’s see how a vehicle wants to behave when rounding a curve, and then let’s put the two together.

Traction is…

Traction is necessary for travel in the direction we desire. When we accelerate away from a stop, the vehicle moves because it has traction with the road. It moves away from the curb smartly if we accelerate more because greater acceleration provides more traction – up to the point where we’ve lost traction because of applying too much power to the drive wheels.

If we’re on snow and ice, nearly any hard acceleration will cause the wheels to slip and the vehicle to slide in ways that make it behave more according to momentum and gravity than in the direction in which we’re steering. If we accelerate lightly, then we’re likely to move in a manner and direction that we expect.

Think in Term of Vectors…

Now, think of vehicle travel in terms of a single vector pointing in the direction your vehicle wants to travel. When you’re driving straight, there is a vector pointing directly ahead of you because your drive wheels are pushing or pulling you in that direction. Easy enough to understand.

Now, imagine the vector when you’re coasting around a curve. It’s pointing ahead of you and towards the outside of the curve because you’re going forward yet momentum wants to take you off the road. Accelerate hard and you lose traction and slide in the direction of momentum – the vector points hard to the outside of the curve as you slide off the road. It’s the same as if you had hit ice on a curve – you lose traction and the vehicle goes where momentum and gravity want it to go.

Putting it Together…

In light of the example above where we lost traction on a curve, it’s easy to understand that more traction will keep us going in the direction we desire (simply because a loss of traction had the opposite effect). We also discovered that increased acceleration provides enhanced traction – up to a point.

Therefore, if we accelerate just a bit, then we’re taking advantage of enhanced traction and effectively redirecting the vector to point more towards the desired direction of travel and away from the outside of the curve. This is why experienced motorcyclists will slow down a bit going into a curve and accelerate through the curve – it helps them “stick” to the road with more traction.

Try it Yourself…

Here’s an experiment to prove the point. Drive with a steady foot around a curve you travel often and note how it feels. Then the next time drive around the curve, simply coast a bit and see how it feels. Then, the next time you drive around the curve use slight acceleration. You’ll notice the difference between the three approaches, and it will convince you that limited acceleration promotes traction in a curve.

Again, of all the driving tips, this one isn’t intuitive, but it’s true that acceleration through curves provides a wider margin of safety because of improved traction.

Don’t Get Fooled: 5 Tips For Buying A Good Used Car

Cape Town – Prices of new cars are exorbitant, at least for some, but that’s not the case for 36 794 fortunate South Africans who registered their new cars in January 2017.

Over the last five years during January, new car sales in SA remained steady around the 35 000 mark and annually, 547 442 units were sold in 2016 compared to 617 648 in 2015. That’s a considerable difference in sales of 11.4% and pundits say it’s unlikely to improve this year.

Buying a used car in SA

According to WesBank, statistics indicated that 38 343 new cars were sold in May 2016 compared to 89 390 used cars which clearly shows new vehicles sales don’t even come close to used cars.

Who doesn’t love the new car smell or the fact that you are the first owner but second-hand cars simply offer better value for money especially feature-for-feature. Used cars are also likely to ease up on your bank balance with a much lower insurance premium than a new car.

On the flip side, there is that niggling feeling of breaking down in a used car and sometimes sellers don’t really help either. Anyone can get an ‘OBD2 code’ reader and shady sellers can clear codes without fixing any problems.

Rest assured, following these simple steps will help you choose your new (used) car carefully without anyone taking advantage of you.

Step 1: Use your head, not your heart

We’ve all been there and know how hard it is not to fall in love with what seems to be a bargain. Whether it’s your dream car as a child or a reminder of your first true love – be smart and make the right call. Used-car dealers thrive on infatuated customers as they are easily convinced and could end up with an absolute dud.

When you’re looking to buy a car, the secret is to search far and wide and here the internet can be extremely helpful. Consider all your options and be careful buying the first car you see. Give yourself a realistic chance of scouting around and to see what’s out there. Use the first three cars as a point of reference to weigh-up all the pros and cons going forward.

Step 2: Avoid exotic cars

If you’re buying a new car, you can buy almost anything you want as the parts are available and the car will be under warranty. Buying an exotic second-hand car is not so easy mainly because no factory warranty exists and any service or maintenance costs are out of your pocket.

A good example is parts for a Toyota Corolla or a VW Golf versus a Renault. An oil filter can cost as little as R60 but for a Renault in excess of R200. This easily escalates when you own a high-performance or exotic car.

It is more than just considering the price of parts though. You also need to find a service station that can confidently maintain your car. If your engine is more complex than that of a fighter jet, expect to pay premium rates.

In terms of performance, you should ask yourself this very important question; ‘If this Golf GTI, Type R or BMW M3 is so good, why are they selling it?’

It may not always be the case but more often than not, high-performance cars are likely to have been pushed to the limit before they are sold. Steer clear of these unless you are knowledgeable about cars, have a decent mechanic and prepared to pay a premium for parts,

Step 3: Read the seller, not the price tag

There is no hiding from subconscious cues unless you’re a trained spy. Watch the seller closely while you talk about the car and walk around the vehicle pointing out parts. Shifty or nervous behaviour is usually a sign that there’s something wrong with the car.

Keep a close eye on the seller’s body language. If they seem uncomfortable just follow your gut and walk away. Rather this than being stuck with a lemon.

I once viewed a great-looking car for sale but the private seller seemed rushed. Fortunately, I had a good mechanic with me and he pointed out a soapy residue in the oil. For those who don’t know, that’s a tell-tale sign of a blown head-gasket which can be very expensive to repair.

Step 4: Thorough inspection is vital

When the seller asks how much you know about cars, act as if you don’t know much. This means they will only focus on the good points of the car which leaves you with a great opportunity to check the things they didn’t mention.

Specifically, check brake discs for uneven wear; the colour of the oil should be golden brown and not a dark colour. Battery terminals should be clean, tyres in good condition with even wear and the body should be straight. Check the body seams in the engine bay and the boot to identify any signs of accident repairs.

Also, give the car a mighty push with the handbrake up. It should of course not move but if it does, you’ve already identified one problem.

When a car is advertised as having a “new” battery, it could mean there is something wrong with the loom or alternator. Realistically, why would someone sell a car and give you a battery worth R1000? Same applies to new tyres. They’re expensive to just ‘giveaway’ so be careful and keep in mind faulty suspension or problems with the steering.

Lastly, look for body panels where the colour seems a different shade. This could be an indication that the car was involved in an accident and a purchase not to complete.

Step 5: Give it a good test drive

Don’t just jump in and get going. Instead, get the seller to switch on the ignition and let the vehicle idle. Test the wipers, lights and listen to the engine noise. Walk around the car and once it’s been idle for a while, switch it off.

Start the car again leaving the headlights on. If it doesn’t start immediately there may be an electrical problem. Check all lights, aircon, radio, electric windows and mirror switches.

During your test drive, be sure to test all the gears and find a decent incline on your route. Feel for any “flat spots” in acceleration as this could indicate ignition or injector issues. Flat spots are where the acceleration stops momentarily and then picks up again.

Listen for strange noises. Some people are just poor drivers and the old saying comes to mind, “If you can’t find it, grind it” so check for grinding sounds when you brake or change gears especially. This may indicate a serious mechanical fault and it’s best to walk away.

High-pitched squealing noises from the V-belts are also unacceptable under any circumstances and another reason to simply walk away. After the test drive check to see if any fluids have leaked onto the ground. Oil or coolant could indicate serious problems with oil seals, engine or the cooling system.

Last on the checklist is to trust your gut. Does the vehicle “feel right” to you? If the answer is yes, it’s time to sign on the dotted line and happy motoring until the next buy.

Replacement Car Key – A Few Tips and Tricks

Have you ever experienced losing your car keys? One of the most common feedbacks that you will surely get is that it is a very frustrating experience. You are off to an all-important meeting then when it is about time to go, your car keys are nowhere to be found. What ensues afterwards is yourself constantly going back and forth in your house in an attempt to look for your keys. In a much luckier situation, you will be able to find your keys but there are unfortunate cases that people just outright lose them. Lost car keys are much more common than you can ever imagine. But what is important is that you know exactly what to do in case it happens to you. In case you don’t know, car keys are actually replaceable. Keep on reading and you will know a few tips and tricks with regards to a replacement car key.

If you find yourself in a situation when you need a replacement car key, by far one of the most widespread solutions is to determine if you have a spare set of keys. But if that is not a viable option, the second thing that you can try is to get in touch with your car dealership. In most cases, your car dealer will be able to easily replace your lost keys. But while having your keys replaced by your car dealer is a surefire option, one of its biggest caveats is that it may cost you an arm and leg. If your vehicle is a bit on the modern side, then this means that your keys will most likely contain special computer chips and require special programming. And because of that fact, be ready to shell out as much as $200, which most people would agree is kind of steep. Most of the expenses are for the programming the electronic chip.

So you ask, which is the most economical solution for a replacement car key? There are a few things that you can try in this case. Probably your best bet is to purchase a replacement from your friendly neighbourhood locksmith. Yes, a qualified locksmith is capable of making a replacement set of keys for clients who have lost theirs. They have the experience, expertise and the right tools that will enable them to create replacements. And the best part is, they can do this for a fraction of the price as compared to the price that is being charged by most car dealers. But calling a locksmith is not exactly a foolproof option because not all of them are proficient when it comes to making replacement car keys.

Tips to Follow After Your Windshield Replacement

If you are looking for post windshield replacement tips, you are on the right page. Although you can get clear instructions from your technician, reading this article can also help you take care of your windshield. Read on to know more.

How long should you wait after a windshield replacement job?

You need to let the adhesive sit for a while before you use your car again. Based on the temperature, humidity, and type of adhesive, you may need to wait for less or more time. As a general rule, you need to wait for at least 60 minutes. If you use special adhesives, you need to wait a bit longer.

When should you remove the tape?

If you used the tape as part of the replacement job, you may want to let it sit for 24 hours. This way the seal will have enough time to dry and it won’t be affected by rain, dust, dirt or other types of debris. Besides, the tape keeps the windshield in place.

When should you go for a Car Wash?

Typically, car washes use extremely high water pressure to remove grime, bugs, and dirt from vehicles. And these jets may ruin the windshield if it has not dried already. If you need to wash your car within 24 hours, make sure you hand wash it instead. However, rain won’t cause a problem. So, there is no need to worry about driving in a storm.

Take It Easy

The molding and sealant are more vulnerable during the first 24 hours post the repair job. So, you might want to take it easy. You don’t need to shake anything. For instance, you may not want to slam your car door as it may cause a sudden pressure rise inside the car, which may break the windshield.

In the same way, you don’t want to go off-road or drive on rough terrain. It’s even better to leave your car windows a little gapped to allow hot air to get out. The idea is to reduce high pressure inside your car.

Opt for A Different Route

You can choose a different route if you have to drive on rough terrain. Aside from this, if you think your car won’t be safe in your current parking lot, you might want to consider a different parking area and report the damage to the owners of the parking area.

Leave A Window as it is

It’s better to leave a window cracked for a minimum of 8 hours once you have worked on one window. This way you can allow the pressure to escape as the internal pressure increases due to the heat of the sun. You might want to close your vehicle doors gently for the first one to two days.

So, if you have replaced your car windshield, we suggest that you follow these tips. This will ensure your replacement is not ruined. After all, you don’t want your effort and money go down the drain just because of your carelessness.

Car Show Tips – 4 Things Judges Look For at Car Shows

If you are taking a vehicle to a car show and would like to place well, you need to know what the judges are looking for.  In addition to any specific criteria outlined for the category your vehicle falls in to, there are some general things you should make sure you take care of.  In this article, I will discuss a few things that all judges look for.  By paying attention to these you can greatly increase your chances of doing well.

1. Spotless Cars

Regardless of the category your car is placed in, your car should be absolutely clean and spotless.  There should be no visible dirt or mud on the outside of the car and the interior should be immaculate.  You should spend some time after arriving at the car show to do some shining, polishing, and touch up work.

2. New Tires

Your tires are also an important consideration.  Rolling up with tires with a year’s worth of wear and tear is not going to help your chances.  The judges are looking at how you maintain your vehicle.  Your tires should be new, with no dirt or mud, and clean.

3. Scratch-Free

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many cars you will see with scratches and other nicks and dings that can easily be repaired.  Any imperfections like this draw the judge’s attention away from the rest of your car and can easily lead to you not showing well.

4.  Custom Paint-Job

If you really want your car to stand out to the judges, you may want to consider a custom paint-job.  This can be dramatic like a bright yellow or hot pink to make your car stand out or it can be something more subtle like a different shade of the original color.    Without a custom paint job, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of cars with the exact same paint scheme as your car and the judges have seen them over and over again.   Judges are often looking for creativity and uniqueness.

Impressing the judges in not always an easy task, but by following the above advice you can greatly increase your chances of success at your next car show.

Car Paint Restoration Tips and Techniques – Paint Stripping and Sandblasting

Auto body Repairs Using Sand Blasting Equipment:

A restoration requires you to make a choice as to which method you are going to use. In order to do this you really need to categorize the levels of restoration.

Category One – Light to Medium fix ups

Mechanical repairs and repainting

The basic mechanical work is done first to ensure safety of the vehicle components. This followed by minor body works and refinishing touch ups.

Mechanical repairs with replacements and refinishing

Some mechanical parts are replaced as needed. Little more detail is required in the bodywork.

Category Two – In Depth Restoration

Similar to the mechanical repairs with replacements with the refinishing more in depth. Some taking apart of the vehicle is required to attend to rust and corrosion of key parts. Items have to cleaned, refurbished or replaced such as drive train parts, suspension and underbody parts. Close color match of body is required and trim may need replacing. Cars restored under this category are often pampered and not used on a daily basis.

Category Three – Just off the Assembly Line

Restoration here entails making the car look like it’s just been manufactured. Showroom quality. No body fill can be used in these restorations as well as fiberglass body panels except for some Corvettes.

Category Four – Show Piece

This is the museum category and is really not applicable because they are those that are only found in the Museums.

Getting Down to Sandblasting

Sandblasters work off of compressed air and are either pressure feed or suction feed which are the cheaper of the two. The only drawback is that part of their energy goes into drawing up the material however; they don’t require an expensive pressure tank. Pressure feeds do require a pressurized tank, but they work extremely well.

Sandblasting is effective cost saving and messy. Should only be done outdoors. With the right grade of sand the results taking it right down to the metal and removing the rust pits. It works effectively on other parts as well. Make sure you apply a flash rust treatment to prevent rust till you get the primer on.

The one thing to remember about sandblasting is do not over do it. As soon as you hit the bare metal stop.

You can use silica sand for various other grades just be sure to be careful with what you use. For light touches, you can use the ground or English walnut shells.

The siphon blasters are a lot less expensive than the pressure blasters. Remember to remove the hardware and trim before blasting and make sure you wear the proper body protection as well ensuring you have a proper hood and gloves. Preferably, a supplied air hood would be ideal.

Sandblasting can be extremely effective provided the right techniques, tools and materials are used in a safe environment. Many individuals are against sand blasting because of the damage it can cause. They are right it can work against you but only if you go beyond what is required. The whole key to success is stopping when you hit the bare metal.

Tips For Buying Auto Parts Online

The Internet is a wonderful place for buying many things. You will often have access to options that you never knew existed. You will also have many more choices and can often find a better deal on items online than in a brick and mortar store. One area of items that are advantageous to buy online are auto parts. With the ability to search millions of websites and many different stores, you may be much more likely to find the right part for even the most obscure type of vehicle online than in the offline world. You may also find a better price at the same time.

Here are a few tips for buying auto parts online:

Major Stores

Pretty much every major auto parts store has an online version, where you can search their entire nationwide database for parts availability, order the part and have it sent to you wherever you are. It’s highly convenient and makes it easy to compare prices. Some major chains that have sites include, NAPA Online, Advance Auto Parts, Auto Parts Warehouse, AutoZone, CARQUEST, Pep Boys and many more. Nearly all of them offer online search and shopping options. Some of them even offer a low price guarantee on certain parts and provide you with news, information, rebate deals and special online only deals.

Manuals & Auto Repair Information

There are many resources online that may help you install your auto part. Check out 10w40 for manuals and information for many makes and models of vehicles.

Auto Forums

You can find information on your make or model of vehicle as well as ask questions and get answers about repairing and maintaining it. You will also be able to talk with other auto enthusiasts. Some popular auto forums are Automotive Forums, AutoForums, CarForums, Autoforum Universe and the forums at Automotive. You may be able to get advice on where the best place to get parts is for your specific make and model. There are also forums available for specific makers which should also have excellent information on where to get parts.

Books

You can easily order any of the auto repair manuals you need online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. This may be more convenient for people who don’t have a bookstore or auto parts store near them. The most popular and reliable publishers of auto manuals are Chilton’s and Hayne’s. Buying the manual online, you may be able to save money by comparing prices at numerous book sellers, you can use AddAll to do this.

Auctions

Auction are a great place to search for your auto parts and eBay Motors is where you will want to begin your auction search. Currently there are a staggering 546190 listings on eBay Motors under Car & Truck Parts alone. You will want to drill down to the specific category for your desired part, then try to narrow the search under that category.

More Tips

Make use of the many price comparison search engines, coupon code sites and be sure to watch out for shipping costs. Some sites, such as Autopartswarehouse offer free shipping, so be sure to take advantage of those offers.

In summary, buying auto parts online has many advantages, from better availability, to the ability to compare prices much more easily to the wealth of auto repair and maintenance information at your fingertips.

Tips For Choosing a Digital Storage Oscilloscope For the Automotive Technician

Next to a good scan tool, I think having a good scope is vital to diagnosing today’s cars. A scan tool will tell you what the control module is “seeing”, but a scope will tell you if the module is being told the truth by allowing you to see the actual input from the sensors.

The scope you choose should be in line with your needs and your budget. There are a variety to choose from, but they generally fall into 2 categories: handheld, or PC-based.

Let’s take a look at the two.

What Is A Scope?

When measuring voltage, there are three tools that immediately come to mind. The first is the Digital Volt-Ohm Meter, or DVOM. This tool simply measures voltage and displays it on the screen. Most have a variety of features that allow you to record minimum and maximum readings as well, and certainly they have their place in diagnosing electrical problems.

The next tool is a Graphing DVOM. This tool now allows the measurement to be plotted on a graph over time, allowing the user to see the variances in the signal as they occur.

Last is the DSO, or Digital Storage Oscilloscope. The DSO, too, graphs the voltage signal over time. The BIG difference between all three is the rate that each samples and records these signals. Let me back up a bit. Each tool “samples” the signal and then plots the average to the display screen…whether in a numerical value or as a graph. The accuracy of the reading is impacted, therefore, by how many samples per second the tool records and averages. The more samples taken, the more accurate the reading. Of course, there are variances inherent in each tool as well that need be taken into consideration. The typical DVOM may sample at the rate of 200-400 samples per second, as compared to a good DSO with a sample rate of 20 MILLION samples per second.

Now consider the speed at which some input signals occur. As a reference, the typical spark plug takes 1.5 milliseconds to “fire”, and we’ve all seen a spark jump it’s gap. The graphing meter or DVOM just can’t sample fast enough to catch imperfections in signals operating at this kind of speed. And that is just one area where a scope shines!

In addition to measuring voltage, a scope can be used to measure pressure, vacuum, and current with the right accessories. These abilities allow a good scope user to perform engine diagnostics faster and easier. Imagine, for example, testing the mechanical health of a modern transverse V6 in a matter of minutes, rather than hours!

HandHeld Scopes

Handheld scopes are more convenient than most PC-based scopes and often more user friendly, with built in databases and testing methods. The Vantage PRO, by Snap-On, is probably the most popular and most capable of the handheld offerings out there. Cost, however, may be a factor for most, with the PRO 2-channel costing more than many PC-based 4-channel units. The key is in how much help you really need…Do you want all the “bells and whistles”?

If cost is the primary factor, then the UEI scope/scan tool may be the choice for you. Having experience with the original UEI ADL7100 scope (I still have it!), I think most beginning scope users will find this scope more than sufficient for most testing needs.

If it’s real diagnostic power you want, though, then PC is the way to go

PC-based Scopes

There are PC and PDA scope options available today, and all offer more power for diagnostics than the conventional handhelds. The ability to utilize higher sample rates, view on a larger screen, and store/record more information allows the user to find those elusive “glitches” that a handheld may miss.

PICO scopes are at the forefront of automotive PC-based scopes, and are competitively priced to handhelds. Unlike the databases in most handhelds, updates for the PICO are free. Because of their early relationship with Tom Roberts, PICO has become the top choice of techs looking for PC scope applications.

There are also other choices in PC scope software/hardware, and I encourage you to do your homework when comparing. Remember, tools are an investment in your productivity and their cost should be compared versus their benefits. Keep in mind, too, that any scope is only as good as the user. Make sure the tool you choose…and the company you choose to purchase it from…will be there to help you learn how to get the most out of your new scope!