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Do it Yourself Instructions for Car Repair

One feature common to all new and used cars is the need for occasional maintenance and repair. Besides the need to replace fluids and parts that wear down over time, nearly every model is susceptible to some sort of mechanical problem, some more significant than others. While professional car repair services can be expensive, there are many simple repairs that can be done at home with common tools and a bit of knowledge.


  • Some of the most common car repairs that can be done at home involve routine maintenance. Chief among these are oil changes and tire rotations. To rotate the tires, consult the owners manual. Use the tire change kit to jack up one corner of the vehicle and remove the wheel, replacing it with the spare tire. Lower the car and move to another corner of the car to repeat the process, this time inserting the tire removed in the first step. Remove any stones or debris from the tire tread using a blunt tool such as a screwdriver before replacing each tire. Use the diagram outlined in the manual to know where to move each tire, as this will vary depending on the type of vehicle.

    Oil changes information, including the type and amount of oil needed, will also be outlined in the manual. Remove the drain plug from the oil pan beneath the car using a wrench. Collect the used oil in a plastic basin so that it can be recycled properly. While the oil is draining, remove the oil filter using a filter wrench. Screw on a new filter and replace the drain plug. Finally, add new oil at the oil fill point under the hood. Be sure to test the oil level using the dipstick and add oil if necessary.

Electrical Repair

  • Many of the most common problems with modern cars involve the complex elements of the electrical system. Dashboard gauges, power accessories, and entertainment features may all be able to be fixed with simple repairs. First, consult the owners manual or the Internet to find any reset procedures. This can help in the case of a computer glitch. Also, be sure to check the fuse box for any blown fuses. The fuse box is usually located in the engine compartment or beneath the dashboard. Identify a blown fuse by its discoloration and replace it with a spare fuse of the same color. This simple step can save a trip to the mechanic and repair many minor electrical problems in a matter of minutes.


  • While there are some repairs that are best left to professionals, diagnosing problems with your vehicle can mean less time spent trying to identify the problem once the car is in for service. Pay close attention to your vehicle’s behavior and note the conditions under which any problems or irregularities occur. This includes unusual noises, poor performance, or lower fuel economy. Many cars are equipped with an on-board computerized diagnostic system. Consult your manual for a procedure to generate error messages. This may involve turning the key or depressing the brake pedal in a specific sequence. The car will then display an error message on the odometer or trip data display. This information may indicate the source of a problem, preventing any unnecessary repairs.

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How to Keep Car Maintenance Costs Down

How to Keep Car Maintenance Costs Down

These days, having a car is comparable to putting a drain on your wallet. With fuel costs on a never-ending rise and exorbitant car insurance premiums, the price of routine maintenance tasks add into that equation. While this article isn’t a crash course, per se, on how to troubleshoot your car so that you can revive it in case of a breakdown, it will explore ways to keep your maintenance costs down.

Heed the oil light.

When you see the oil light signaling at you, it’s time to pull over and turn off your car’s engine. While this may simply be a case of dwindling oil level or an oil change need, it can also signal that something’s seriously wrong with your oil pressure and you only have minutes or mere seconds to spare until engine destruction.

There’s nothing wrong with independent shops.

While dealers may get you worrying that going to independent shops for maintenance tasks will void your warranty, this is far from true. As long as you adhere strictly to your car’s schedule for maintenance, use only quality parts and stash away related papers and documents, federal law is on your side, should there be any need for a warranty claim.

Loaner cars are a nice touch to enjoy when you use your dealer, but if you’re able to save actual dollars by going to an independent shop, then go ahead with the latter. If you’re thinking of bypassing your dealer, make sure that you keep tabs on any outstanding recalls on your vehicle by doing research.

Don’t pay to rotate your tires.

Tires which aren’t directional require tire rotation to keep them from wearing out fast. You don’t have to pay someone to do this for you, however. Instead, when your car is being serviced or inspected, ask the mechanic to replace your tires on different spots or buy your tires at a warehouse store and let them take care of the task.

Show some loyalty.

Your car is just like a person:  throughout the course of its life, it will need to be examined several times. And, just like having one family doctor makes sense, why not having just one mechanic? Find a well-regarded mechanic in your neighborhood or community, get to know him or her better and be loyal to him or her. Often, your loyalty will be rewarded, with efficient service and occasional discounts on services.




A DIY Car Scratch Repair Kit That Really Works

There is nothing worse than an ugly scratch on your beautiful vehicle! Car scratch repair at a body shop can cost hundreds of dollars. But you can do-it-yourself for a fraction of the cost.
The best car scratch removal product I’ve found is the Ultimate Car Scratch Remover.

If you have tried As-Seen-On-TV car paint scratch removers, you probably discovered they only hide the damage. After a few car washes, those ugly scratches came back to life. Why? I found out the hard way that those products only temporarily fill the scratch—they don’t remove it.

I have a box full of scratch remover products that didn’t work. But I have been able to permanently remove scratches from my own vehicles using the Ultimate Car Scratch Remover (CSR). That’s why I recommend it to my customers. (I don’t recommend something that I don’t use myself.)

What Types of Car Scratches are Repairable?

Generally, if you rub your fingernail across the scratch and it does not “catch” you can repair it with CSR.

To see how it works, watch this video to see my friend, Karl (the inventor of CSR), damage the clearcoat on a BMW M3 with a ScotchBrite pad, then remove all the scratches.


You can repair all kinds of scratches with this stuff:

  • Car key scratches
  • Fingernail scratches
  • Tree branch scratches
  • Car wash brush swirls
  • Scuff marks and paint rubs
  • Mysterious scratches

This is a professional-quality scratch removal system…not a cheap over-the-counter scratch filler.

First, you micro-sand to remove the scratch and blend it in with the surrounding area. Then, you finalize the repair with the micro-polishing process that adds a hard protective coating and brings out the shine. The protective coating on the repaired area even resists new scratches.

What amazes me is that the repair is permanent. The scratch will not reappear after a few weeks or a few car washes like it does when you use one of those scratch filler pens.

And here is a tip: you can even remove minor scratches on your headlights with it! Karl has some videos on his site about using CSR to polish your headlights.

Cheaper than an Auto Body Shop

Doing your own car scratch repair saves you a lot of money. Body shops often charge hundreds of dollars to remove a scratch. You will save, on average, $200 – $600 over having a body shop repaint the entire panel.


Progressive Windshield Repair & Cracked Windshield Replacement

Damaged windshields often can be repaired, rather than replaced, under your insurance policy. However, specific criteria must be met in order to qualify for windshield repair service.

In general, smaller chips, such as a star or bullseye chip, can be repaired. Chips or cracks longer than 6 inches generally require the windshield to be replaced.

No deductible applies for a windshield repair completed by a glass shop within Progressive’s network, provided you have Comprehensive coverage and your glass claim is covered.

Should my windshield be repaired or replaced?

If you answer “yes” to any of the questions below, your windshield may be a good candidate for windshield repair vs. replacement:

Is your windshield damage less than 6″ long (about the length of a dollar bill)?Does the damage to your windshield appear similar to the one star crack or bullseye chip below?

When you file your glass insurance claim, a Progressive claims representative can answer any additional questions you may have.

To get your windshield repaired or replaced as quickly as possible, just file your claim online.

Please Note: Some services described above are only available to customers who purchased coverages such as Comprehensive, Collision, Rental Reimbursement, Medical Payments, etc., before their loss. Coverage is subject to the terms of your policy. Please refer to your policy to verify which coverages you have.

How to Avoid Discoloration On Silver Cars / Deep Dent Repair

This paintless dent repair (PDR) article is about how you can avoid the majority of discoloration on silver metallic vehicles when performing PDR on deep dents.

Deep creases through a body line are very complex to begin with. And silver cars can be a bigger challenge because you have to keep a close eye on the paint. We are talking about the discoloration that happens quite often. It’s caused when the metal is stretched back when applying pressure from behind and the metallic seems to become white, AKA, “ghosting.” One technique used to avoid “ghosting” discoloration is to use heat prior to removing your dent. Also, tap down all crowns and high spots as much as possible. This allows much more flexibility in the metal and paint.

Unfortunately in some cases if the dent is very deep, you’ll find even though you did all the preventive measures to avoid “ghosting” the paint, it happens anyway. Don’t be too discouraged… there is still hope. Here is a little tip “if” your silver panel starts to discolor. First get out as much of the dent as possible. Then take 2000 grit sand paper, soak it in water for about 5 minutes or more. Lightly (with the weight of your finger tips) apply pressure horizontally for about 15-30 seconds. Then wipe off with clean microfiber cloth. Next apply a light clear coat compound to remove the find scratches. I prefer a small buffer wheel that can fit on your cordless drill. Last, either rub or buff with with wax and you will reduce the “ghosting” in your pdr repair by 80% or better.

Here is an example of what was a “ghosting” situation on a Mercedes Benz. A deep crease that went through the body line. This Mercedes pdr crease repair did not look so good before we color sanded. NOTE: Color / Wet sanding should only be used in these cases. Do not let wet sanding become a habit. To prevent micro high spots, use the soft tip and switch up your tool tips. Remember to always protect your tool tip as you push. Do not use bare metal tips against the panel unless you are very experienced.


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Sneaky Ways to Save on Car Repair and Maintenance

Let’s face it: cars can be expensive, and I’m not talking about the purchase or lease payment. Once the newness wears off sooner or later your car will need maintenance, and maybe a ding or two or a crumpled fender. Taking your vehicle to the dealer can cost some serious cash, and if you do your own repairs you know the parts alone are expensive. Here’s a few ways you can save on your car repair and maintenance:

Check your local papers for sales, and not just one paper: look at them all, and swing by your local auto parts stores for copies of their most recent circulars. Most department and auto supply stores run sales, and you can save quite a bit on things like oil filters, oil, replacement wiper blades, and other maintenance items. Don’t just scan the newspapers; check online for the stores’ website sales, too.

Look at online sites such as Craigslist for used auto parts. Don’t just skim the ads; do a search for the item you’re looking for and remember to check the categories such as “barter,” where you might find a mechanic willing to work for a trade of something you own or can do.

Check online discount and coupon sites such as, which has offers from auto repair to massages to travel offers: anything you can think of, they’ll probably offer a discount in your area! Usually when you’re looking for an oil change or a windshield repair you’ll find a dozen or more to choose from here.

If you’re looking for specific replacement parts such as fenders or transmissions, call around to your local junk yards. They may have the exact part you need, and even if they don’t a savvy junkyard owner will have a list of resources to point you in the right direction.

The important thing to remember is not to get stuck without your car because of a high quote from a dealership service person. Think outside the box for alternative sources, and you’ll get your vehicle back in running shape much faster and probably much cheaper, too!


What Happens If You Use Used Motor Oil

Used motor oil or dirty motor oil refers to engine oil that has already been put and used inside a vehicle. In this article, we will explain to you what will happen to your car’s engine if you use used motor oil, which can also happen if you never change your car’s motor oil.

  • Contamination

We all know that motor oils, even when inside the vehicle, are slowly contaminated by dirt, dust and other impurities. If they are taken out from the engine, stuck in a container and used again in a vehicle, there will be additional contaminants from the container. Its effects on the engine will be more drastic than motor oils that are not changed for a long time because of the additional contaminants.

  • Thick and Sludgy Oil

As motor oil is used, dirt and impurities accumulate in it, making it thick and abrasive. All the additives in the used motor oil are also worn out so it will not lubricate your vehicle’s engine anymore if you use it. Instead, the thick and sludgy used motor oil will clog the passageways of the oil flow. Because of the clogged passageways, oil will not reach and lubricate the hottest parts of the engine. This may lead to a serious problem because if engine parts remain hot for a longer time, the engine’s life will become shorter.

  • Damaged Parts of the Engine

If you use used motor oil or if you do not change your motor oil for a very long time (but you always use your vehicle), the contaminants like acids and dirt damage the core parts of your engine. If you get used motor oil from other vehicle and use it in your vehicle’s engine, the performance of your engine will degrade. It can lead to poor fuel efficiency and gas mileage. This also happens if your motor oil is not regularly changed because this oil has already worn out and had been contaminated with many impurities.

Taking used motor oil and using it in your vehicle creates undesirable effects on your vehicle’s engine. The lifespan of your engine will get shorter and its main parts will get damaged. It is always better to use a new one or if not, you can take the used motor oil in companies that refine them. But in case of emergency and you have no choice but to use used motor oil, make sure that you will not use it for a long time.

Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited has the best auto repair Columbia MO has to offer, where their expert staff can get your car back on the road in no time.


Auto portal reviews the Skoda New Superb Price, Specification, and Photos & Launch

All about the new Skoda

The all-new Skoda superb, the upcoming new era third generation Czech car has created a lot of excitement in the Indian car market as the completely renovated Skoda got big thumbs up from car lovers here. The new Skoda Superb will reach the Indian people in both 1.8 litre TSI petrol and a 2.0 litre TDI diesel type engine systems. This most stylishly built Skoda is based on the next Gen-Volkswagen MQB platform and it looks much wider and larger than the normal Skoda car does. The new Skoda is expected to be launched in India on the 23 rd of February 2016.


Exterior Appearance

The newly built Skoda Superb has higher dimension of 4861*1468*1864(mm), which is 28 mm longer and 47 mm wider than its current variant. It comes with a bigger wheelbase that boasts of extra 80 mm length. The external appearance looks polished and loses its standard soft curves. Many of the features are borrowed from the Vision-C concept with the complete makeover of the new front and rear design with the wider front grilles and LED lamps. The rear profile looks neat with several curves present all over the body. The sloping roofline adds to its appearance as well. On the whole, the new Skoda Superb is a great looking car with stunning features.

Interior Appearance

The interior of the Skoda maintains its legacy by offering wide cabin and larger rear space. Th other comfort provisions are the storage containers in the rear seat armrest and adjustable rear side AC vents. The rear side passengers can enjoy stretchable long distance with much comfort. The boot is very big and can be extended from the 565 litres to 1700 litres with foldable rear seats. The other expected features are dual-zone air conditioning, parking sensors, Apple Car Play, auto windscreen wipers, auto headlamps, MIB infotainment system and a panoramic sunroof along with many more additional smart features added to its kitty.

Engine system and Safety measures

The Skoda Superb is expected to come with a 1.8 litre TSI petrol engine that gives a 118 KW power and 250 Nm torque with a six –speed manual transmission system and the 2.0 litre TDI diesel engines will offer 103 KW power and 320 Nm Torque with a six speed auto transmission system. Skoda claims efficiency of petrol engine to be 13.1 kmpl and diesel engine system to be at 17.1 kmpl. The presence of the adaptive front light systems and cornering lights with fog lamp, 8 air bags including rear ones with ABS and ESC offers great stability and safety to the car. The Superb would be priced in the range of Rs. 21.68-27.28 lakhs.

More about Hyundai Xcent in India visit: and also check out Bajaj V in India visit:

How to Spray Paint a Car – Spray Painting – Car Paint Gun Operation

One thing is for sure if you are going to be a paint technician then how good you are at it will all depend on how well you learn to operate your spray guns. They are the tools of the trade and can mean the difference in your being an excellent paint technician or a poor one. Not only must one learn the various techniques involved with the spray guns there is also a must have knowledge to be gained in how to maintain the spray guns to keep them in their optimum working condition. You can have all the techniques mastered but if your gun is not operating properly then in won’t matter about your techniques.

You have to visualize what the spray gun is doing when in operation such as taking tiny droplets of paints then breaking these droplets down into thousands of small particles. What gives the spray gun its ability to do this is its nozzle set. This is the air cap, paint needle and the fluid tip. There are variables that determine the size of those thousands of droplets of paint. It will depend on the viscosity of the streams of fluid as well as how much surface tension is present. The reason you don’t get a steady stream of paint running out is because of the compressed air at the nozzle.

Getting on to the techniques of the gun when you slightly apply pressure to the trigger the air valve opens. With a little more pressure, it opens the fluid tip needle and allows the paint to flow.

If you are using a gravity gun. The amount of fluid dispersed is controlled by the viscosity of the paint. The flow is also determined by the fluid tip as well as the needle adjustment. As a rule of thumb, the gun should be almost fully open. With pressurized fluids, air pressure also affects the flow.

Equipment Set Up
Knowing how to work with atomization is the key to the proper set up. The combinations of the variants must be just right. For example the exact blend of the right nozzle with the correct pressure settings combined with fluid flow and fan width all the way they are suppose to be determines the outcome. Ideally, for the standard guns try and use only enough pressure to give you the best atomization and spray pattern.

If you are new to the world of spray painting the best advice in the beginning is keep it simple. In other words, use a type of spray gun that is going to do the job you need it for. There is no need to purchase a spray gun that has a lot of additives to it if you don’t require them. On the other hand, if you are going to be using your spray gun on a regular basics then you may want something a little more advanced, as you will likely need it as you venture into your paint jobs.

The Average Cost for Repairing a Car Paint Scratch

car paint scratch can ruin an otherwise beautiful finish on a vehicle. Even if a scratch is not very large, simply knowing that it’s there can cause stress for many car owners. Not only are paint scratches unsightly, they can lead to other damage to your car’s metal surface such as rust or even corrosion. So, it’s always best to remove scratches as soon as possible.

However, just like anything else, you never want to pay too much. So, this article will discuss the best scratch removal processes and how much you can expect to pay.

Having It Done by a Professional

If your vehicle has large scratches (such as those done by key damage or the car having brushed against a sharp or hard object), then it may be better to let a professional repair the scratches or touch up the paint. There are many professional paint shops that can do the work for you, and you can even take the vehicle to the dealer to have the scratch repair done.

Fix It Yourself with our Car Paint Repair Guide

Whether you have it done in the paint shop or at the dealership, the paint for retouching the scratch areas will probably be need to be ordered through the dealer. The dealer can use the VIN number of your vehicle to order touch up paint that matches the original color of your vehicle exactly.

While the severity of this scratch damage will determine how much the car scratch removal price will be, the cost of the paint needed for the job can be expensive. For example, a mere 2 ounces of touch up paint can often run between $50 – $300 depending on the make and model of the vehicle the type and the type of paint that is needed.

In addition to the paint being expensive, a professional collision repair and paint shop may charge as much as $500 or more to repair major scratch damage, and will usually not charge any less than $150-$200 for small jobs. Your local new car dealership may charge even more.

Do It Yourself and Save

For minor scratch damage, you may want to consider doing the work yourself. Repairing paint damage caused by minor scratches is usually relatively easy and can be done for a very small amount of money. In fact, you’ll probably be able to buy a touch up paint pen for around $15-$30. All you would need then is a couple of sheets of sandpaper, a bucket with some soap and water, a few dry towels and some car wax.

There are many handy guides on the Internet that provide instruction on how to repair minor scratch damage on your vehicle. However, the job usually only involves some light sanding of the scratched area, applying the touch up paint, allowing it to dry and then waxing your vehicle. The whole process can usually be completed in an hour or two save for the waxing of the vehicle. You should allow the touch up paint to dry for one or two days before waxing the repaired area. The total cost of this type of repair – around $20 – $40 and a couple of hours of your time.



Auto Windshield Repair

Replacing a car windshield is an expensive affair. A viable alternative is repair, which most insurance companies now accept in place of replacement. In fact, they even waive the client’s deductible should he or she choose to repair instead of replace the car windshield. This makes financial sense to insurance companies too, because they save millions each year this way. By repairing instead of replacing an auto windshield, the original windshield retains the integrity of its factory seal. In short, everyone wins. Windshield repair is a high margin specialty service, making it a major industry.

New auto windshield repair solutions include the revolutionary PRISM (pre-resin injection suspension method) technology and various techniques that involve injecting resins into the cracks with or without vacuum. This process can take a few minutes or last as long an hour, depending upon the size of the crack.

Manufacturers make toughened auto windshield glass under intense pressure. The glass has very high density, and this causes even minor cracks to widen progressively. Repair is not feasible for bigger sized cracks. In such cases, the car owner has no alternative but to replace the windshield. Auto safety norms demand that a motor vehicle has a proper windshield which does not affect the driver’s ability to navigate effectively.

It is possible to undertake car windshield replacement and repair without involving professionals in the process. There are many kinds of kits available on the market today. Windshield repair kits usually feature the resin compound that acts as a filler, injectors that fill this resin into the crack, holding structures to stabilize the affected area, and curing lamps to speed up the setting process. Such do-it-yourself solutions include instructional videos that guide the car owner in the proper use of the kit.

Proven Tips And Tricks About Auto Repair

When you experience a breakdown, getting it running again should be your priority. Not having a reliable vehicle will make your life. You don’t always need to pay huge amounts of money on car repairs. There are a lot of basic repairs that you can do yourself.

Get a good battery charger and be sure it is always in your car.Learn how to find the charger with ease.

Keep a record of every car is fixed or maintained. If you have problems later, your mechanic will appreciate having access to your past records.

Be careful of mechanics that try and make unnecessary work on your car. A good mechanic should let you know if they noticed parts that are starting to get worn down and will need to be replaced soon but they should not replace the part without getting your approval. Never take your car to someone who doesn’t do the right kinds of repairs.

If you’re headlights don’t appear to be as bright as they once did, check to make sure they are clean. Clean theses with a glass cleaning agent to get them as clean as possible.

Watch out for obvious warning signs that your mechanic is not up to snuff. If a mechanic is not giving you straight answers or cannot explain repairs in details, they may not be the one you want to work with. You need to be able to trust the person doing your repairs, so don’t fear seeing someone else.

Try finding a reliable mechanic who fixes cars on their own property. If they possess sufficient experience, and they will usually charge you less for labor. You can save a lot of money by going down this route.

Speak with friends and family about auto shop recommendations before you pick a shop. You may get some great recommendations from your friends and family that make your search easier. You should still always do your research however. At least try to find some online reviews of those recommendations.

The weight of a big key chain. If your key starts sticking, then you are going to have to replace your tumblers and then get rid of your fun keychains.

Ask about labor rates or prices before hiring a shop. Some shops have their rates in conspicuous places, but you should not hesitate to ask about rates if you do not see any information. You need to know how and why you are being billed for your car repairs. Some mechanics bill you for estimated labor times established by the manufacturers guidelines. Some repairs that are deemed “minor” may be all day if they go by those manufacturers’ established times.

As you can see, fixing your car does not have to require taking your car to the shop and paying an arm and a leg to the mechanic. The more you learn about maintaining your car, the more confident you become about doing other car maintenance tasks. Apply the advice in this piece and get rolling once again.


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Chichester has various expertise to repair car parts like the cambelts, gearbox and the air conditioning

The Cambelt also called the timing belt is one of the most crucial components of a car engine. It regulates the operation of the car engine. If it breaks, it can cause expensive damage to the engine. So, this needs to be replaced when need arises to keep the engine in good health. However, it might not always be possible for the car owner or the driver to understand whether it the right time to replace it not, so the car needs to be examined periodically and the repairing centre would suggest the right time to replace a cambelt. Based on the age and mileage of the vehicle, the repairing experts can quickly assess whether it needs a replacement.

Thus, in order to avoid huge repair costs due to a damaged cambelt, the specialists help andcambelt change in Chichester is done.

With numerous independent garages in Chichester, there would definitely be one garage to suit the needs. The owner needs to enter the vehicle registration and his postal Pin code. The rest is done by the service providers. Chichester cambelt change will save time and money on cambelt repairs and cambelt replacement.

Like the cambelt, event he Gear box needs periodic check up and replacement when need arises.  Thus, for the gearbox repair Chichester, experienced engineering teams are available and accessible to get the gearbox up and running in least possible time.

Saving money is always the first option to adopt and repairing an existing gearbox to a good as new standard costs much less than a replacement. They replace and repair almost all gearbox brands, such as Flender, Hansen, Lufkin, Falk and SEW to name the common ones and the less common models like Shanthi Gears, Fenner, Renold etc. They would even reduce the cost of moving the gearbox to the workshop, in case the fixation process is not possible on the spot.

So, after the cambelt and the gearbox which are responsible for the car to run, comes the question of comfort for the travellers. So, the car sir condition should also be up and running. It may happen that as the outside temperature is rising, it is noticed that it is time for Car Air Conditioning Service Chichester.
At that time there is a huge rise in bookings for Air conditioning servicing. So it is advisable to make a pre booking before the summers, so that the expertise can fix the air conditioning system and the owner does not have to wait for a long time for the repairing.


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Performing Car Dent Repairs At Residence – SCKars

Car dents are among the inconveniences you could need to put up with all through your car ownership. They can happen anytime without having warning-a vehicle bumped on your car although backing up, a supermarket cart got out of control and came zooming toward your car door, or you got into a tight parking space and the car next to you banged its door on your auto body panel as it was being opened. Car dents can give your car a worn-out look and decrease its value, so car dent repairs are very essential.

Sadly, these repairs can get so costly when done by an expert. So, your finest bet could be to do it yourself inside your own garage. It may take plenty of time and patience, but you will also get lots of savings.

Car Dent Repair Procedures

Repairing a car dent includes two general actions: restoring the original type of the dented panel and then restoring its original look.

. Restore the original form by fixing the dent

1.) You have to pull out the dent. You’ll be able to do this by pushing the dent out from the inside together with your hands. Straightforward dents are soft enough for the hands to push.

2.) If the dent doesn’t budge, the next alternative could be to use a block of wood as well as the right mallet or hammer. Position the wood outside of the dent although you hammer the dent from the inside to push it out (be sure that you use just the proper amount of force here).

three.) Should you can’t gain access to the inside of the dent (i.e. if the dent is in a tight location like under the hood), you’ll be able to use an electric drill, screw, and a self-locking vice grip. Drill a 1/8″ hole at the center of the dent, screw inside the screw, and use the grip to pull on the dent.

4.) Sand all the paint from the area of the dent and then fill it with body filler. Once the filler is tough, shape the surface with sandpaper (commence with a coarse sandpaper and finish with a fine one).

. Restore the original look by repainting

1.) Apply spray primer on the area (numerous coating is required, and each coat should be thoroughly dry just before applying the next).

2.) Right after this, repaint the area of the dent (a number of coating is also needed, with fine sanding done between each and every coat until the desired smoothness is achieved).

Should you strategy to do your own repair, you’ll be able to locate total repair kits to enable you to with the job. Today, you will find already a wide selection of kits that can enable you to do the job simply. Amongst the latest are those that don’t require you to drill on the dent anymore, reducing the incidental harm to your car. You’ll find kits that make use of hot glue gun, tabs, and brackets for an easier and quicker repair of car dents.

With all these now provided, it is easier to perform car dent repairs at residence without having all of the main expenses.


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Car Repairs & Service: Professionals do it better

Today we are all working very hard to make every penny, and to make every penny count, and that is true tenfold for our vehicles. The best way to evade high priced repairs at the service station is to keep up with the upkeep of our vehicles. Your car is very important to you, as your car is one of your more pricey expenses such as your house and so your car always needs to be at its top performance.

By upholding our cars, we are given the chance to find a trustworthy, specialized repair shop that will care for your car the way it should be. Let’s face facts here, our car is more than just simple transportation, it is our way of interacting with the world. It is our way of getting out and about, our salvation to see our friends and family, to get to our occupations, to get to that flawless date. And when we need it, we need it to be here for us, unconditionally. Without your car you have nothing, you are walking everywhere now, right? Or even catching a taxi, hopefully it is one of the safer drivers. Think about how important your car is to you and how it needs to be kept maintained so you are not stuck looking for other means of transport or paying incredible amounts of money for your car to be fixed! Do remember it costs more to fix your car if something goes wrong than it does to have your car serviced, so make the wise decision to maintain your car regularly.

We can always try to work on our own car, and if it is fresher than a 1990 model we are pretty much out of good fortune. The systems of today’s modern technology are computer driven and require specialised tools to identify and understand any problems that may ascend. The industry criterions for these machines change every few years, so keeping up with them is not a very bright idea now is it? It is far better to leave it up to the professionals. Upholding your means of transportation is the best way to keep expenses down. Keeping every one of your car’s systems in good functioning order is the most effective way to avoid a costly repair. An oil change may cost R200 to R1000 and all depends if you do it yourself or trust a professional.

Professional work is always appreciated more, whereas your own mistakes could really hit you when you have made the situation worse. Hauser Auto is a group of individuals with immense skill in the art of auto repairs and servicing with just over 15 years of incredible work they truly understand what it is like to have ‘car problems’. So do not hesitate anymore and go and visit Hauser Auto for reliable service and customer satisfaction at heart.


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How to Work With Fiberglass for Car Repair

Fiberglass is used for many purposes, including major construction, repairs or reinforcement, and will bond to almost any surface with the proper preparation. Auto-body repair shops often use fiberglass for repairs because it will bond to metal and offer a long-lasting, durable repair. Fiberglass is applied in layers of reinforced fiberglass material that’s saturated with a catalyzed resin mixture. Fiberglass is easy to work with and very inexpensive to use as a repair material.

Things You’ll Need

  •  Safety glasses
  •  Dye grinder
  •  Rags
  •  Acetone
  •  Fiberglass mat
  •  Small bucket
  •  Fiberglass resin
  •  Catalyst
  •  Stir stick
  •  4-inch felt roller
  •  Air roller
  •  100-grit sandpaper
  •  Sanding block
  •  300-grit sandpaper


    Put on your safety glasses and grind the damaged area smooth using a dye grinder. For any cracks or fractures, grind directly on the crack, removing any rough or damaged material. Scuff the entire surface that will get fiberglass applied to it.

    Clean the surface of the affected area using a rag and acetone to remove any dirt or grease. This is crucial for a solid bond.

    Tear the fiberglass mat to size so it covers the damaged area. Tear the number of layers needed to bring the damaged area level with the surrounding surface. Tearing instead of cutting fiberglass mat eliminates visible edge lines on repair patches.

    Add catalyst to a small bucket of resin following the recommendations on the container. Thoroughly stir the catalyst into the resin using a stir stick.

    Wet the surface of the repair with the resin using a 4-inch felt roller. Apply the first layer of mat and saturate it with resin using the felt roller. When the entire layer is full of resin, roll out any air bubbles using an air roller. Repeat this process for each layer of mat until the repair is complete. Let the fiberglass harden.

    Sand the fiberglass repair using 100-grit sandpaper on a sanding block until it’s smooth and level with the surrounding surface. Lightly sand the repair again with 300-grit sandpaper until the repair completely blends in with the rest of the surface.

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DIY: Repairing Paint Chips

The moment you have been dreading has arrived. You have to go to the mall in your beautiful, expensive, brand new car. You just know that the nit wit who parks next to you is going to slam his door into the side of your car as he gets out. So to prevent this, you park way out in the boonies with nary a car in sight. You hike the 200 meters to the mall entrance happy with the fact your new car is safe from harm.

But, when you come out with that new items from Victorias Secret you bought for your wife, you see a 1969 Chevy Malibu with more rust spots than a scrap yard has parked right next to you. As you get loser to your car you see two paint chips that match the door of the Malibu.

Getting It Fixed
Okay, so you head on over to the body shop to get an estimate for repairing the damage.

The estimate is for $429.62 to repair the paint chips. And to add insult to injury, he says he can’t guarantee an exact paint match for your white pearlescent paint.

Sad to say, but it is very difficult for anyone to match many modern paint finishes if you do an entire body panel. If the chip is small but goes through the clear coat and deep into the paint, the best thing may be a simple touchup. It won’t be an exact match, but no one might notice it unless you point it out. I know, I know, you will still know it’s there but chances are you will be the only one who knows.

Paint By The Numbers
This is the best technique for small chips or scratches, like near the edges of trunk and door openings.

If it is about 70 degrees or less outside, you should do this in a heated garage. If you live in Yuma, Arizona or Reno, Nevada work early in the day so the paint doesn’t dry out too quickly.

The dealers parts department will have the color for your car and that will get you as close as possible to the correct color.

Then get some clear coat and primer if the chip goes down to the metal. Make sure you use an automotive primer, not the spray primer you get at the hardware store or home center. If your dealer has the clear coat and primer that would be the best way to go since it will usually be by the same manufacturer.

If you follow these directions carefully, and have some patience, you will get a quality repair that will last for years.

The first thing to do is to mask off the area around the chip with masking tape up to a ¼” around the chip. Now using lacquer thinner or alcohol clean the area of dirt, wax and road grime from inside and around the chip. Use a clean, lint free cloth. Do not use any type of paper towel or tissue. If the chip goes down to bare metal, use some 40 grit emery cloth to scratch up the metal so the primer and paint will have something to grab on to. Make sure any rust that may have formed is cleaned out as well.

Using the applicator brush or a toothpick, I use the end of a paper match myself, coat the bare metal with the primer. Try not to get it on any of the paint, just the bare metal. You want a smooth layer, just enough to cover the bare metal, with no bumps or lumps. Let this dry for at least 24 hours.

This is where patience and a steady hand comes in. With you applicator apply a nice thin even layer of paint with no bumps or lumps. Don’t go and try to do fill the whole chip in, but do make sure you get paint in all the corners. If you get a little sloppy use a cotton swap with a little bit of lacquer thinner to clean up any excess paint. Leave the applicator out for about 30 seconds if the paint is too thin. If it’s too thick, add about six or eight drops of lacquer thinner to the tube of touchup paint and shake very well. Start out with a small amount of lacquer thinner and add one or two drops if necessary. It’s much harder to remove lacquer thinner form the paint than it is to add it.

Once you’re done, let it sit for another 24 hours. The paint will shrink quite a bit as it dries. That’s why we don’t want to use too much. If it starts to get lumpy, use some 800-grit Wet/Dry sandpaper. Just sand the new paint you don’t want to mess up the surrounding, good, paint.

Now repeat this procedure until the pain is almost flush with the surrounding paint. You want to leave a small recess for the clear coat. This will probably be only one or two coats of paint. More if the area has been repainted once before.

Wait about a week, a little longer if the weather is a bit cool, and coat the damaged area with clear coat. If all has been going well you might be able to simply build up the clear coat to the level of the original paint without overlapping and it will be, nearly, invisible.

If things have not gone so good you’ll have to blend the repair with the factory paint. Apply clear coat about a ¼” around the damaged area. Keep doing this over a few days allowing for drying and shrinkage. Keep doing this until you’ve built it up a couple of thousandths of an inch. A little bit more than the thickness of a sheet of loose leaf paper. Allow this to dry and shrink in the sun for at least a week.



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How to Paint Your Car

Whether you’re at the end of a long restoration, or you’ve just made a quick repair after an accident, the last step in the process is paint. And what a step it is. Painting is part art and part science, with lots of experience thrown in to get it right. If you don’t have the experience, does this mean that you should cut your losses and pay to have a pro get the paint job done for you? Maybe, maybe not.

If you’re the kind of driver who wouldn’t be happy with a paint job that had a small flaw in it, you are probably better off letting a professional auto painter do the job. But if you really love to save money, you can save big if you can pull off the job of painting your own car or truck. Do you want to change the color?

In my younger days I painted a few cars, some we even painted outside hoping the whole time that it didn’t rain.

Before you even consider painting your car, you need to understand as much as possible about the process. Countless car guys have made the mistake of studying only the process of laying paint onto the car’s body, skipping all of the other information about how paint works, why paint sprays correctly (or not), what prep means. This kind of shortsightedness is a shortcut not to a good paint job, but to disappointment and a full strip and repaint. In other words, if you don’t study up before you try to tackle the job of painting your own car you’ll probably end up spending twice as much money in the end.

There’s no better place to learn everything about being an amateur car painter than the bible of beginner spray gun jockeys, How to Paint Your Car, a Motorbooks publications that has been thoroughly revised to include all of the latest information on auto painting. I know what you’re thinking: Why is a guy who provides all of his information online recommending a book to learn about auto painting?

Believe me, I am a huge fan of the internet and all of the information it has made available to us. But in some cases, especially those that involve a complex task with many, many steps and various levels of understanding, having all of the information come from single trusted source is important. If you don’t know your HVLP from your IMDB you need to read!

How to Paint Your Car discusses each step in the process. If you’ve never seen a paint job from start to finish, you’re in for a few surprises. Many people think that your average paint job consists of a little cleaning, maybe some light sanding, masking tape and paint. A little bedside reading and you’ll quickly learn this isn’t the case. What you’ll also learn is that each step in the painting process, while important, is easily accomplished by the well-prepared DIYer.

One of the most important things you’ll get from this book is the importance of proper preparation, also called simply “prep.” Prep work is the key to a good paint job. But did you know that even a shiny existing paint finish requires some amount of prep to accept the new paint job? There is a section in the prep half of the book that talks about the importance of a proper primer coat to seal away any body work and old paint before you apply a finish coat. Not only does the primer/filler serve to smooth out any minor imperfection in the surface of the metal (or your filler job), but it’s also an important guide coat if you are unsure of how even things ended up. There is all sorts of information like this in the book, including a sample paint job that you can follow from start to finish, with tons of pictures and each step shared in minute detail.

I would not attempt to paint my own vehicle without doing a lot of reading. This book covers everything from prep, to chemicals, to painting, to glass, to trim, to even wax. There’s a reason it’s been the go-to source of information for as long as I can remember. Need to color sand? It’s here, too!


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What is a Good Car Maintenance Schedule?

You must make sure that your automobile is taken care of the right way. However, it can be confusing to get your vehicle treated right because of all those parts. You might even become real confused if you look under the hood because there are so many things to keep track of.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot get your car maintained with a smart maintenance schedule. You’ll find that you can take care of all sorts of things in your car if you just create a schedule for car maintenance. It gives you a better idea of what you can do to maintain your car.

What to Regularly Schedule For Your Car

How can you tell when it’s time to take care of some things in your car? Just use your schedule! It’s easy to create one but you have to space everything out at the right times.

Be sure to repeat these procedures on a monthly or occasional basis; some inspections take longer than others based on how long ago it’s been since certain things were done.

Monthly Car Maintenance

Check all lights on the front and back of the car to see if they’re working. Check each tire’s air pressure and add new air as needed. Examine all belts and hoses for wear.

What To Check Every Three Months

Replace the engine’s oil and filter every three months. The air filter may also need to be treated. Test the battery and its cables; the battery must have a positive readout. Check and replace all brake and transmission fluids.

What To Check Every Six Months

Inspect the overall chassis to see if it’s lubricated. Clean off or replace the wiper blades; be sure to look at their rubbery parts to see if they’re sturdy and flexible.

What To Check Every Twelve Months

Replace the antifreeze or engine coolant. Inspect the brakes to see if they are worn out or if they need to be polished. Replace any spark plugs that may not be working. Replace the air filter for the cabin. Don’t forget your annual car inspections.

What To Check Every Two Years

Replace the fuel filter next to the fuel tank.

car-checklistYour Car Maintenance Checklist

Every inspection has a few staples to it. You’ve got to use these ideas to keep your car running:

  • Oil level
  • Fluid Containers (antifreeze, brake fluid, washer fluid, transmission)
  • Belts
  • Filters (air, fuel, etc.)
  • Tires
  • Tune up (wires, cap, plugs)

Look at the oil level on the dipstick inside your car. The oil level has to be at an appropriate height; this means that the oil is moving fun. If you don’t have much then you have to add oil. Take a look at any fluid containers inside your car. Even if you don’t have a need to replace any fluids, you should still check to see if they’re pure. Your car could be harmed by contamination in some fluids. Any contaminated fluid must be emptied. See any unusual colors under your hood? The odds are they’re from your belts wearing out. Sometimes a worn-out belt might have a lighter or darker look. Test your tires for air; most cars will list the appropriate air amounts for each tire within a space on the inside of the gas cap lock.

Car Maintenance Tips

An ounce of prevention is always important like they always say. You can use these maintenance tips to protect yourself:

You may need to take your car out to a professional oil change place with more professional tools to help replace the oil in your car.

Your tires must be thick. Always see if there are any problems relating to the tires on your car wearing out. They must be fixed soon.

Are you use the right fuel? Detonation can occur if you don’t. This is where heat and pressure levels in the car can change. Always use the right fuel to maintain your engine.

Don’t touch any glass materials as it can cause small bits of oil or grease to build up in them. Hold all glass items at their non-glass bases.

Check everything as soon as the check engine light goes off no matter how long ago it’s been since you last did certain things with your car.

Get a Car Maintenance App

Don’t forget to keep yourself in tabs with what you have to do. An app like aCar or Car Maintenance Reminder can take in information based on what you do with your car. You need an application if you want up to the minute info on what you have to do. It’s easy in today’s busy world to forget about what you need to do. A good app can remind you of it so you won’t be lost.

QUESTIONS??? – Contact us at North Hills Exxon if you’re in the Raleigh area and your vehicle needs help. We believe in not only providing you with good auto care but also in providing a great value. We want you to take care of your car and to avoid spending more than necessary. After all, taking care of your vehicle the right way is critical to keeping it safe and to keep repair costs down.

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What Will Minor Dent Removal Cost for My Car?

Learn about the general costs of most minor dent repairs for a car and how to make an informed decision about where you to go to get the work done.

Even a minor car dent eventually can spread through rust and corrosion. To avoid seeing your wheels succumb to rust that began with a small dent, keep your car in shape y making that dent or ding disappear.

Getting to the dent

Know that a specialist has to gain access to the area between the body and frame to pull out most dents. This initial process can be time consuming.

RELATED: Will my insurance increase after I file a claim?

No paint damage?

If the dent hasn’t hurt your paint, paintless dent repair is typically very affordable and done fairly quickly.

Cost: Depending upon the specialist’s skill and reputation, you should expect to pay from $50 to $120 for a 1-inch dent. Naturally, this base price will increase with the size of the repair — about $10 to $30 for every additional half-inch.

So, a 12-inch dent could cost you from $160 to $450, depending upon a few variables like the location of the car dent, who performs the work and the car’s make and model.

Similar damage in same area

If your vehicle has hail damage or dents that are similar and in the same general place, expect to pay less. A professional can work on the damage from one access point, which should lower the cost substantially. And if you didn’t know, there even are companies that fix only hail damage.

RELATED: How can I find a reputable auto body shop?

Where should you go?

You normally can choose from three types of businesses, each with its pros and cons.

Dealerships: Use these if your vehicle is a high-end model or under warranty. Some sensitive repair jobs require manufacturer-specific tools that only dealers have. If you aren’t under warranty, be prepared to spend, as this is typically the most expensive option.

Large franchises: Places like MAACO are known for producing quality work and having access to the latest technology. These types of businesses are better suited for more detailed or advanced repairs, although costs may be a bit higher. Check online or ask about specials or coupons.

Small shops: These typically are the least expensive, and most of the time, you’ll get quality workmanship and a more personal experience. While great for basic repair jobs, these small businesses aren’t going to be as financially secure and highly insured as some other places. Tread carefully.

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Car Paint Repair

Car paint scratches are not only unsightly, but will drive down the resale value of your vehicle. Neglecting to undertake scratch removal or a chip repair on your car’s paintwork can also lead to chronic and escalating rust problems – meaning you could needlessly incur extra, but avoidable, costs in the future.

Previously, there was little incentive for car paint repair, thanks in part to the inconvenience of using costly car body repair outlets. But the good news is that with ChipsAway’s Repair System, introduced to the UK over 20 years ago, there is now no excuse to leave those car scratches unattended.

  • Quick and Convenient Service
  • Professional Colour Matching
  • Car Body Repairs

Typically, a ChipsAway car scratch repair will take just a few hours to complete, at a fraction of the cost of using a traditional body shop.  During the process, colour matching is undertaken to the manufacturer’s original code specification. Therefore, instead of an expensive paint repair across a whole panel, our ChipsAwayprofessionals only need to paint the damaged area. So whether you need one single car scratch removal, or multiple scuffs repaired and removed, the work can be undertaken in a relatively short amount of time, restoring your car paintwork to pristine quality.

ChipsAway is convenient too! Many of the ChipsAway network offer a mobile paint scratch removal and car paint repair service, and some operate from fixed-base CarCare Centres with many offering a collect and return service or courtesy car option. Wherever you are, you can be assured that ChipsAway will save you time and help you avoid the hassle of finding a suitable appointment to fit around. Whether you’re at home, work, or even away on holiday, as a specialised car scratch repair service, ChipsAway specialists will go the extra mile to make sure our service is centred around you.

All repairs undertaken by ChipsAway professionals are fully guaranteed.

Bumpers are often scratched during parking, as are alloys. ChipsAway are also specialists in alloy wheel refurbishment.


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Advantages of Paintless Dent Repair

It is certainly no secret among car owners that paintless dent repair is the preferred choice. It is a process which vehicle dents (no thanks to hail storm damage) are immediately removed without making use of the traditional repair methods that will need a panel beating technique and re-spraying of the vehicle’s body. The evident dents are removed from the vehicle by using highly specialized equipment or are pulled out using what is known as “glue system.” The paintless dent removal process will not affect your vehicle’s paint which simply means that will not be required to spend additional money on re-spraying your vehicle – this is good news, because your factory paint will be protected (yay!)

Paintless Dent Repair Advantages:

a) Your Vehicle Will Still Retain Its Value
If you plan to sell your car in the near future (in order to get a better one), you can still retain the value of your car when you use a paintless dent removal technique to remove your car’s dents. The value of car panels which have fixed using the conventional auto body work will be not be as high as the car panels that have been fixed using the paintless dent repair technique. The addition of car body fillers and auto paint can be easily detected and will thus reduce the value of your car’s actual worth. Paintless dent repair greatly relies on the skill of the auto body service provider and his or her dent removal equipment.

b) Saves Cost
With the paintless dent removal technique, you do not have to pay as much compared to using the traditional method where you will have top pay for the following:
– Car body filler material
– Auto paint
– Manpower – the traditional dent removal method is certainly more labor intensive than the paintless dent removal method.
You will end up saving up to 50 percent! 50 percent!!

c) Great for the Environment
If you are passionate about the environment then paintless dent repair is the right choice for you, because you will never have to use paint which happens to expensive and dangerous to the environment. The conventional auto body paint shops make use of chemicals that will be needed for the following:
– Clear coats
– Base coats
– Paint thinners
– Auto paints
These chemicals gently destroy the environment. The paintless removal system does not require the use of these chemicals because it removes dents by massaging the dented panel back to its original shape, no fillers, no re-spraying, excellent result.

Some auto body shops provide mobile paintless dent repair services, while some other reputable auto body shops require the vehicle owner to bring over the car to their auto shop where they are going to pay great attention to it.

With paintless dent removal you are sure of getting great value for your money and still get a chance to still get second hand value for your money. Now you have a choice to save the high quality factory paint that came with your car.


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Repair of windscreen damage

Repairs should be done quickly
Bullseyes, stars, chips and long cracks can all be repaired. However, it’s important that a repair is carried out as soon as possible, particularly in the case of long cracks. Long cracks let in moisture and dirt which can ultimately damage the laminate and destroy the ability of the windscreen to withstand damage in the event of a crash. Experience has shown that if a long crack is properly repaired within two to three months, the repair will restore the full integrity and strength of the windscreen. This time factor is equally critical for small star cracks and bullseyes.

The conditions under which the vehicle is used also plays a significant part. Where the vehicle is driven on unmade roads, for example, particularly in rainy conditions, repairs need to be done earlier.

How repairs are done
In the case of stars and bullseyes, repairs are normally done by the use of an injector, which allows the air to be extracted from the damaged area by suction, after which a resin is injected into the damaged area to replace the air.  The resin bonds to the glass and because it has the same refractive index as glass, the repaired bullseye or star, while not invisible, generally shows an inprovement visually of 80 to 90%.

Long cracks are treated quite differently: Once a crack has grown to one or two inches in length, it is open to the surface of the glass along its entire length. (Unlike the
small cracks from a star or bullseye which do not come to the surface).

This is why long cracks are more prone to the ingress of water and dirt which will ultimately damage the laminate. A sliding injector is used which forces the resin into the crack, and is slid along the crack until it has all been injected. First a thin primer resin is injected which bonds to the glass, and this is followed by heavier resins which give the required strength. Once repaired correctly long cracks are guaranteed against any further cracking for life.

Windscreen wiper scratches
Windscreen wiper scratches are generally caused by either a small object or objects being caught in the wiper rubber, which then scratches the glass during the normal operation of the wipers. Alternatively, the windscreen rubber can sometimes separate from the clips and the clips themselves will scratch the glass,  In either case it is very important to stop the wiper operation after any sign of scratching occurs, extended operation of the wipers will result in a scratch which could be too deep to polish out.

In the next article, I’ll talk about windscreen wiper scratches, and other deeper scratches on side and rear windows.



A Guide to Dent Repair

Learning how to do paintless dent repair is invaluable. It can save you a costly trip to the body shop and a huge investment in a new paint job for the whole vehicle. Most cars will get dinged eventually. Dent repair is important to the look of the car, the functioning of all its parts and for the resale value. It can also save you a costly insurance claim.

Tools and Materials

  • A bright light (portable)
  • A plunger or suction cup
  • A rubber mallet
  • A soft damp rag
  • A car dent removal kit

Dent Repair Step by Step

The following steps will help you get started on removing your own dents or at least to be ready for the next hail storm.

  • Evaluate the dent. Make sure the dent is not old or set too deeply into the surface to be knocked out easily. Wipe off the surface with a damp rag. Remove any layers or fabric that will come off, like a door panel or roof covering. Shine your bright light on it and see if you’ve missed anything, or if there are any strange lines threading away from the dent.
  • Try to suck out the dent. Using the largest plunger you have or a suction cup from the local auto supply shop, place the circle over your dent, making sure the dent is exactly in the center and will receive most of the suction. Be careful not to scratch the paint by moving the cup or plunger around while the suction is still being applied. Pull the plunger or suction cup hard away from the durface of the car, popping the dented metal back into place.
  • Tap it out. If you can get clear access to a door panel dent or one on the roof or hood, you may want to try and tap it out yourself. Try a couple taps with your rubber mallet and see how it looks or if it has moved. Also, beware of stretching. Sometimes when a car has dented, even if it looks manageable at first, the actual surface has been stretched and it won’t fit back into place. If that happens, stop and get a professional opinion.
  • Try a do-it-yourself kit. Most auto body or repair shops carry a kit with tools to try and remove your own dent. As the popularity in taking dents out yourself rises, the kits get more elaborate and the instructions give more options to do it all yourself, taking out the guesswork once you have determined it is doable outside of a body shop.

There is a time, however, when it’s more effective to take it to a body shop instead of messing with it yourself. If it looks like the dent has been knocked more than once or it has been there a while and is creased, chipped and worn, it might be better to have someone replace the panel or professionally take out the dent and repaint. Sometimes it’s just not worth the effort when those efforts could end up doing more damage than good, and costing twice as much because of the duplication of energy.

Finding Reputable Dent Repair Shops in Your Area

One of the best and most reliable sources for information about auto body technicians are friends. Often times one of them has already needed a dent repair shop and done the work of figuring out which one is best. While their advice may be good, you have to be careful to not just take their word for it because sometimes different customers have different needs and experiences.

Check out the Shop

Once you have the name of a shop, go check it out before you need any work done. If you go when you need something from them you may feel pressured and not fully check out the shop. Another way to quickly determine whether the shop is reputable is to look for posted prices, awards, degrees and certification. Chances are that if a shop has all of those, you at least won’t be scammed and will be aware of the price for the work.

Consider the Employees

Another indicator of a shop’s professionalism is the employees. If they are friendly, courteous and knowledgeable then they will take pride in their work and do a good job. On the other hand if the employees are unsatisfied, and seem like they don’t want your business; then they don’t deserve your business and would not do a good job.

Test Their Work

One of the best methods for testing a repair shop is to have them do a small job before you use them for anything major. Have them repair a small dent and use that to determine whether they deserve the bigger jobs. While it may cost you some extra money that you wouldn’t spend otherwise, it can save you from making a big mistake with a bad repair shop.

Factor in Location

While a convenient location can be a huge benefit, it should not be the biggest factor when picking a dent repair shop. While it may save time at first, in the long run it can lead to huge headaches and problems if the shop isn’t qualified. A convenient location should only be the deciding factor between two equally qualified dent repair shops.

Beware of Lowball Estimates

The last piece of advice for finding a repair shop is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If one shops charges half the price of another shop, don’t just take the low price and have them do the repair. Instead ask them how they can afford to charge so little compared to the other shop and if the answer isn’t satisfactory then don’t go there.


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How To Cover Windshield Repair Through Car Insurance

Chipped, cracked, and broken windshields are among the most common car repairs. Pebbles, vandalism, falling branches, animals, and even sand and gravel can damage your windshield.

This page will review ways to pay for auto glass replacement and repair using car insurance.

Understand Glass Coverage

If your windshield (or other glass, e.g., side windows, rear window, or sunroof) is damaged by something other than a collision, you’ll likely pay for it usingcomprehensive coverage. However, understand that this coverage is optional and if you don’t have it, you may be on your own when it comes time to pay for repairs.

Comprehensive coverage typically pays for damages occurring from:

  • Storms.
  • Fires.
  • Vandalism.
  • Animal collisions.

Check to see whether your car insurance company includes windshield repair and replacement in your comprehensive coverage.

Even if you read the words “auto glass repair,” inquire if it is all-inclusive. Auto glass replacement on some comprehensive coverage plans only covers the side and back windows, but not the windshield.

Consider Your Deductible

Before filing a windshield repair claim, compare the cost of the repair/replacement with the size of your comprehensive deductible.

If your deductible is greater than the cost of the estimated repair, it won’t be worth your while to file a claim.

However, do note that some car insurance companies and some policies will allow for glass replacement without requiring payment of a deductible. Most likely, your coverage will cost more; however, you’ll save on your deductible.

The Potential Impact on Your Premium

In most cases, a claim for glass damage that does not result from a collision does not cause an increase in your car insurance rates. However, this will vary by car insurance company.

You may want to think twice about filing a claim if the cost of your repair is only a small amount greater than the amount of your deductible.


Your windshield gets cracked by a flying rock and:

  • The windshield repair cost is $280.
  • You have a $250 deductible.
  • The insurance company will contribute only $30.

Consider whether saving $30 is worth filing the claim. The claim will go on your car insurance claim record. Essentially, having more claims on your record increases your perceived risk and, in turn, the chances of seeing a hike in your auto insurance renewal rates.

Submit Your Claim

If your deductible is low enough to warrant filing an auto glass claim, file the claim with your auto insurance company as soon as possible. Depending on your auto insurance company, this can be done:

  • By phone.
  • In person.
  • Online.
  • Mobile application.

An insurance company agent will confirm whether or not you’re covered for the windshield repair or replacement and explain your options. You may need to go to the car insurance company to get the damage inspected and get the approval for reimbursement.

Get the Damage Fixed

Your next step will be to get your windshield fixed. You may alternatively be able to submit the claim to get reimbursement after getting the work done.

Many car insurance companies offer two options for getting auto glass repair:

  • Via a specific car repair shop with whom they are have a contract.
  • Via a repair shop of your choice.
    • NOTE: Certain limits on the reimbursement amounts may apply.

If you choose your own repair shop, make sure to choose a reputable one, such as one that meets Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council standards.

Submit Your Receipt for Reimbursement

Your car insurance company may allow you to upload or fax your receipt or invoice with:

  • Your name.
  • Policy number.
  • Phone number.
  • Date of damage.

Be sure to ask your company exactly which details you’ll need to submit.

Protect Yourself Against Windshield Repair Fraud

To ward off windshield and auto glass replacement fraud, recognize the following scam attempts:

  • Your repairperson tries to convince you that you need your windshield replaced as opposed to being repaired.
  • Someone approaches you unsolicited away from a repair shop (e.g., in a parking lot, car wash, or gas station) and tells you they can fix your windshield.
  • Your repair shop charges your insurance for several windshield replacements without you knowing it.

These fraudulent schemes can harm you in multiple ways. For example, they can:

  • Make your car dangerous to drive.
    • If your windshield is replaced with subpar glass, you are at the risk of decreased vision and danger of the windshield popping out and injuring you in a crash.
  • Increase your auto insurance premiums.
    • Having an unnecessary claim on your insurance can raise your rates.
  • Result in the loss of your auto insurance for making false claims.
    • If your repairperson makes multiple, false claims against your insurance, you can find yourself with a cancelled policy.

To prevent fraud:

  • Say no to anyone you don’t know who offers to repair your windshield unsolicited.
  • Research repair shops before picking one. Your car insurance company can recommend reputable places.
  • Contact your car insurance company BEFORE getting your windshield replacement. They may repair small damage for free.
  • Review your bill carefully.
  • Follow up with your insurance company to make sure additional claims weren’t made against your policy.

The best way to ensure you get any auto glass replaced, including your windshield, in a timely and affordable manner is to first speak with your car insurance company about your coverage, get any recommendations for reputable repair shops, and make sure to get receipts for all repairs.


Will Insurance Repair a Car Windshield for Free in Florida?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff

Replacing a car windshield can be expensive. Depending upon the make and model of the vehicle in question, replacement windshields can run between $200 and $400. At some repair shops, labor costs may increase the price of replacing a windshield even further. Older vehicles’ windshields may also be more expensive to replace since their original parts may be difficult to find.

In addition, poorly-fitted replacement windshields may cause more problems than they solve. Typical problems may include leaking around the seams, shuddering noises while the car is in motion, and premature cracking or chipping. While the first two of these problems can be fixed by adding more sealant to the windshield’s borders, the third problem typically requires an entirely new sheet of glass.

A few states maintain special statutes that mandate insurance coverage for replacement windshields. Auto insurance providers in these states can’t force policyholders to use their deductibles to pay for the cost of windshield repair or replacement. Since the value of most policies’ deductibles exceeds that of the typical windshield replacement job, these rules may save insured parties hundreds of dollars over the lives of their policies.

The states that currently have these statutes on the books include Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky. In Florida, all drivers who carry comprehensive insurance coverage on their vehicles are eligible for “free” windshield replacement. Many of the state’s mechanics and body shops advertise this service with some even offering goodies to lure in more customers.

The racket is clear: The owners of these shops take advantage of the fact that insurance companies must reimburse them for the windshield-replacement work that they perform. Since windshield-replacement customers don’t have to pay for the work out of pocket, they’re more likely to order replacement windshields preemptively. In fact, many mechanics and body-shop employees offer this service in conjunction with regular maintenance services like oil changes and tune-ups. After receiving a “free” windshield replacement, drivers who feel as if they’ve saved a great deal of money may be more willing to order up such additional services for their vehicles.

In Kentucky and South Carolina, drivers must carry comprehensive insurance coverage to receive the “free” windshield replacement benefit as well. Drivers who carry collision-only coverage may still be able to recoup the cost of replacing a windshield damaged during an accident for which they were determined not to be at fault. However, they generally must pay out-of-pocket for the initial repair.


Car Dent Repair: How to Pull Out a Car Dent Without Causing Damage

Car dent repair is important for handling small dents and dings that seem to happen with regularly frequency to our vehicles.  Knowing how to do it will prevent you from taking your vehicle to a body shop every time a minor accident happens, which is very time consuming and costly.

Assessing the Damage

The first thing you should do for car dents is to assess the extent of the damage. Most of them can be tapped or popped back out if the metal had not creased or crumpled. You can usually know this just by looking closely at your car. If you do not see ripples that looks like partially folded metal or bumps, you should be able to repair it yourself.

Sucking Out Dents

One of the easiest ways to do it is to use a suction device on your car dent, which can be done with the common plunger. Apply it over the dent and depress it in a slow slowly but steadily. Once all the air is out, a tight seal will be formed between the plunger and the car panel and you will be able to pull the dent out.

Tapping out Dents

For dents that are on large surfaces such as the roof or hood, you can wrap a wooden block in an old towel and place it on the side opposite the dent. Tap on the block with a rubber mallet and slowly work the dent off your car.


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6 tips to maintain coolants and fluids for a longer-lasting car

Pay attention to coolants, power steering fluid and transmission fluid and your car will run better, for longer. Just like the doctor will tell you to watch your fluids, a good mechanic should say the same about your car. Here are six useful tips.

6 tips to maintain coolants and fluids for a longer-lasting car

1. Dilute your coolant

  • Your cooling system needs both coolant-antifreeze and water, so don’t pour undiluted coolant into your cooling system.
  • Dilute it with water to the commonly recommended 50-50 ratio. Similarly, don’t use straight water in your system either.
  • The coolant protects against corrosion and freezing. The water ensures good heat transfer from the coolant to the radiator.

2. Keep your cool

  • Check the coolant-antifreeze level weekly that shows on the translucent coolant-antifreeze overflow tank.
  • If low, fill to the maximum fill mark on the tank with a 50-50 solution of coolant-antifreeze and water.
  • Some coolant manufacturers now sell premixed coolant and water for the motorist who wants a quick and easy way to top off.

3. Don’t forget to flush

  • Coolant-antifreeze eventually degrades and becomes contaminated.
  • Flush it from your cooling system as recommended in your manual (typically every two years; every five years for newer coolants).
  • Failing to do so can damage your radiator, clog your heater core, and cause the thermostat and water pump to fail.

4. Don’t mix coolants

  • Avoid mixing coolants that are different in colour. If your coolant is pink, don’t add a green formulation to it.
  • Otherwise, you’ll end up with a thick solution that won’t do its job. Use only the coolant specified in your owner’s manual.

5. Check power-steering fluid

  • Check the power-steering fluid once a month with the car warmed up. If the level is low, have the hoses and pump inspected for leaks.
  • In addition to making your car difficult to steer, low power-steering fluid will damage the power-steering pump.
  • Be sure to use the power-steering fluid recommended for you car.

6. Maintain your transmission

  • Change automatic transmission fluid and filter after the first 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) and after every 40,000 kilometres (25,000 miles) or two years thereafter, or as recommended in your owner’s manual.
  • If you use your vehicle for towing, change the fluid and filter every year.
  • For manual transmissions, change the lubricant (motor oil or gear oil, depending on the car) after the first 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) and after every 80,000 kilometres (50,000 miles) thereafter.
  • Use synthetic motor oil or gear lube for longer transmission life unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise.



Why Replacing a Damaged Windshield is Important

Angie’s List talks to windshield experts about the risks involved with driving with a cracked windshield.

A chipped or cracked windshield is not only an unsightly blemish on a car, it can be a major safety issue, auto experts say.

Experts say driving with a damaged windshield risks your life and the lives of drivers around you because you are more susceptible to get into an accident.

A damaged windshield — or one that hasn’t been properly set and glued into place — can pop out during a collision. The windshield also provides structural support for the car, meaning an improperly installed windshield could even cause the roof to collapse.

“The windshield is part of the structural integrity of the vehicle, and protects occupants during an accident, especially a rollover accident,” says Mike Delaney, president of highly rated Patriot Auto Glass in Ashburn, Va. “The A-pillars [the frame of the car that runs from the side of the windshield to the back of the car] of vehicles are getting thinner, and the windshield is more a safety feature now than 40 years ago. If a windshield is not replaced properly, it won’t adhere to the vehicle properly.”

A serious liability

Many smaller chips are easily fixable by a reputable auto glass expert. But if the chip is too large, or it expands to the length or width of a credit card, it will likely need to be replaced.

Standard windshields are made of two transparent pieces of glass that are glued to a vinyl resin in the center. The vinyl resin helps keep the glass in place during impact or a collision and stops shards of glass from flying, which can cause serious injury or death.

However, experts say once the vinyl resin, or safety layer, has been cracked or chipped, the windshield is unable to withstand much more impact, and cannot protect as well the driver and passengers. A large crack can also negatively impact your vision and reflect sunlight glare, making it difficult to see.

Proper replacement

Many cracks and chips can be repaired for less than $100. But if the chip gets too big to repair, or if the original crack was too deep or wide, you may need a qualified professional to replace the windshield.

Although the windshield replacement process often takes less than an hour, you’ll want to find a professional who has the right tools and expertise to do the job. A technician should first replace the rubberized weather stripping that holds the windshield to the frame of the car along the edges of the glass. Typically, after removing any exterior trim and the weather stripping, a coating of adhesive is applied along the edges of the windshield frame, before lifting the glass into place.

“Most late-model vehicles have windshields that are glued in place,” said David Lamontagne, owner of highly rated Dave’s Auto Glass in Denver. “The old windshield must first be cut out of the vehicle. Then the body and glass are cleaned and prepped. The new windshield and moldings, if required, are reinstalled in the vehicle with a urethane-type glue and are allowed to cure for a short time before the car can be driven.”

Find a reputable company

The average price of a new windshield installation ranges from $170 to $300, or more. Many insurance policies will cover windshield replacement, but you’ll need to check the details. If you have a $500 deductable, for example, you’ll likely end up paying for everything.

Experts say if you’re not sure whether the windshield needs repaired or replaced, take it to a professional as soon as possible.

“If a ding or star chip is not repaired quickly, it could spread into a crack, requiring replacement,” Delaney said. “Extreme heat or cold could cause stress on the impact spot and cause it to grow larger. Guidelines are different industry-wide, but mine is the damage should be about the size of a quarter or less.”

Read online reviews to find a reputable auto glass company. Get at least three estimates and ask the technicians what process they use for replacement. To learn more about auto glass repair or replacement, go to the Auto Glass Safety Councilwebsite, a not-for-profit organization that has established industry safety standards.

“Your windshield is a structural component to your vehicle,” Lamontagne said. “It supports the roof and pillar area. With this in mind, it is very important to be sure that no corners are cut during the replacement process. If a windshield is installed improperly, it could fall out of the vehicle during a collision and allow the occupants to be ejected.”


Car Paint Repair: Touch Up Painting

Remove and repair flakes, chips, dents, dings and scratches on your car’s finish before the rust sets in. It takes just a few minutes of your time over a few days. These great auto painting tips and techniques will show you how to touch-up those little eyesores and take years off the look of your car.

Over the years, you’ve probably acquired your fair share of scratches, dents with flaking paint, and paint chips on “Old Reliable.” And if you’re like most people, you’ve been ignoring them. But all those insults are either already rusting or soon will. By investing very little time over several days, you can stop the rust in its tracks, touch up your car’s finish and get your vehicle back into reasonable shape—all for less than $100.

First, we have to caution you not to develop unrealistic expectations—you cannot achieve body shop results in your driveway. But our techniques will make the blemishes less noticeable and delay the onset of rust-through.

Start your touch-up project by getting the proper paint color. The dealer usually sells 1/2-oz. vials of touch-up paint and clear coat for about $8 each. But call the parts department first to see if your color is in stock (have your VIN handy). One vial is enough to repair about two dozen small paint chips. If you need more than a few vials, search for a larger bottle on the Internet. Most auto parts sites explain how to find the paint code for your vehicle. Expect to pay $20 to $30 for a 2-oz. bottle of paint.

To fix scratches and paint chips, you’ll need a spot-sanding tool (see Photo 3; $8) and professional micro applicators and paint syringes ($7 to $9 each). The small applicators deliver just the right amount of paint to chips. For scratches, use the paint syringes to apply a continuous coat of paint. For small dents and dings, apply paint with a 1/4-in. artist’s brush ($10 at any art supply store).

At an auto parts store, pick up a can of wax and grease remover ($4), and if you already have rust forming, an assortment of sandpaper grits and a bottle of brush-on rust converter ($7).

Before starting any of the repairs, wash your vehicle. Let it dry and apply the wax and grease remover with a clean rag to the areas you’re touching up.

If you have flaking paint with exposed rust, pick away the loose paint with a small screwdriver or putty knife. Then sand off the surface rust with 150-grit sandpaper. Switch to 600-grit sandpaper to feather the painted edges around the spot. Also use the spot-sanding tool to remove rust from scratches and larger paint chips. Remove the sanding dust with a clean rag. Then follow the instructions on the bottle of rust converter and use a foam brush to apply a thin coating to the area. For scratches, use a paint syringe to apply the converter. Allow it to dry thoroughly. Most rust converters dry to form a primer coat and don’t require additional primer, but double check the directions.

If you don’t have any rust and the factory primer is visible, you can skip those steps and proceed with painting.

Shake the paint vial or stir the bottle for the recommended time to ensure the metallic flakes are suspended in the paint. For dents, use the artist’s brush to apply a light coat of paint to the treated area. Use several thin coats rather than a single thick one. Lightly sand each coat with 600-grit sandpaper after it dries. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for drying time between coats. Clean the brush with the recommended solvent between coats.

To repair paint chips, select a micro applicator that’s slightly smaller than the chip. Once again, apply several thin coats, rather than a blob of paint. Thick blobs skin over and then sink as they dry, leaving an ugly divot.

To repair scratches, apply the brush head to the syringe and load it with a small amount of paint. Then apply light pressure to the plunger as you guide the brush head all along the scratch.




Tips On How To Maintain A Car Properly

Car Maintenance

In this increasingly hectic world, owning a vehicle is perhaps one of the most convenient and comfortable things. It is an easy mode of transportation and helps you get from point A to B in a short period of time. However, it is important for car owners to know that with owning a vehicle come a set of responsibilities as well. This is mainly because no matter how much you try to prevent faults and issues, cars eventually do start giving trouble in due time. This article provides you useful tips on how to maintain a car and when to perform regular maintenance checks.


Follow these car maintenance tips to learn how to take good care of your car and increase the longevity of your vehicle.



Of course, you might already know a lot about your vehicle, but to gain more valuable information it is imperative to take a comprehensive look at the owner’s manual. Store it in your glove box and if any issues or problems do occur, make sure to browse through it. The owner’s manual gives you useful tips on how to prevent problems and use various features of your vehicle. Additionally, it provides you a helpful car maintenance checklist (mentioned below) and even has a map of all your engine components, so you can learn how to check and top the essential fluids in the car.


Ah, here it goes again, another fault! Why does your car happen to give so many problems? Well, have you been taking your car for regular servicing? Perhaps not, but bear in mind to always do so. This is mainly because skipping on quarterly/monthly schedules will only aggravate issues in your vehicle. Keep in mind that similar to any other appliance, your vehicle also requires regular tuning and servicing. Therefore, be smart and responsible and stick to your regular car maintenance schedule as advised by your automobile manufacturer or written in the owner’s manual.

Additionally, don’t forget to have your car serviced at a reliable repair shop. Find a knowledgeable and trusted mechanic to meet all your vehicle’s service and maintenance needs. You can consider asking your friends for recommendations or search online.


The battery is an important component of your vehicle without which it can almost be impossible to power and drive a vehicle. Any trouble with the battery can result in burned-out fuses and wires, thus leading to even more complicated problems and expensive repairs. Therefore, it is essential for car owners to assess their car battery at least once in every month. Look for warning signs, such as dangling wires and corrosion. Loose electrical connections should be attended on a priority basis. If you do find signs of corrosion, it’s time for you to visit your mechanic.


Have you ever wondered how some car owners drive for hundreds and thousands of miles without facing trouble, while others pay thousands in repair bills? What’s the secret here? Regular oil changes! It is one of the main concept to keep in mind when learning how to maintain a car. All moving components inside your engine are lubricated by oil. Driving miles upon miles makes the engine oil extremely dirty, thus causing it to lose its lubricating qualities. This causes the engine to wear faster, resulting in more problems. Therefore, to avoid this from happening, keep in mind to regularly have the engine oil changed. This way, you can keep your engine lubricated and clean from the inside, leading to a healthier engine.


The health of your engine cooling, power steering, anti-lock braking, and automatic transmission systems depends on the condition of the fluids. Similar to engine oil, other fluids in your vehicle begin to lose their lubricating qualities over time. Therefore, all vehicle fluids should be replaced at regular intervals. You can consider using a dipstick to check the fluid levels and fluid color before refilling. If the level is low or the color black, top up accordingly or change the fluids.

Additionally, if you use your vehicle for towing or other power-draining activities, consider installing an additional transmission fluid cooler. This way, you can prevent any overheating issues which can cause considerable damage to your vehicle.


The tires are the foundation of your vehicle, without which it can be impossible to drive a vehicle. They balance your car and facilitate movements accordingly by working with your vehicle’s suspension system. However, this doesn’t mean they are ‘immortal’, as tires are subject to maximum wear and tear. Therefore, it is imperative for vehicle owners to check the tires regularly for warning signs. To maintain proper alignment, consider rotating your tires every three to four months. Additionally, to avoid any road-grip issues, make sure to check and maintain proper air pressure.


Air filters and oil filters tend to get extremely dirty over time, thus causing loss of engine power and lower gas mileage. Spark plugs and timing belts too begin to deteriorate over time, thus causing numerous shifting and power issues. Therefore, when it comes to auto maintenance, replacing your vehicle’s spark plugs, timing belts, oil and air filters on time can save you a lot of costly repairs and can help maintain your vehicle’s engine efficiency.


For optimum performance, it is essential to keep your vehicle clean both from the inside and out. Dust and air react with oxygen which causes rust on the exterior of your vehicle. Additionally, there are a lot of wires and electronics under the dash. Electronics plus water will always cause trouble. Therefore, keep in mind to wash your car on a regular basis to prevent rust and keep the interior clean to avoid any electronic issues and ensure your vehicle stays smell-free. Also, don’t forget to change your cabin filter after every 15,000 miles.

You can either perform these tasks yourself or have a professional do them for you. For maintenance schedule, check in your car brand vehicle guide for a checklist to learn how to maintain a car properly. Nevertheless, by following the car maintenance tips mentioned above, avoiding expensive repairs and maintaining your vehicle won’t be a problem.

Hope you gained some information from this article. Please share this article with others so they can benefit too!



Ten vital car checks

The most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of breakdown is to get your car serviced to the manufacturer’s schedule and specification.

Beyond regular servicing the the following simple checks will help you to enjoy safe, worry-free motoring.


  • Know the correct tyre pressures for your car and check them at least every two weeks using a good-quality gauge or garage air line.
  • Check tyre tread and condition – look for cuts on sidewalls. If any one tyre needs regular top-ups, it may have a slow puncture.
  • Don’t forget to check the spare as well.


  • Check the handbook for the location of the basic toolkit for the car that should contain at least a jack and wheel removal tools.
  • Familiarise yourself with the jacking points used to lift the car safely.
  • If locking wheel nuts are fitted make sure that the toolkit includes the key or removal tool.

Engine oil

  • Check the dipstick at least every fortnight and before any long journey.
  • Have the oil and filter changed at recommended service intervals using oil of the correct specification.
  • High oil consumption can indicate engine problems.


  • Check the coolant level regularly and top up as necessary – but only when the engine is cold.
  • Have the antifreeze concentration checked before winter.
  • Antifreeze prevents the build-up of corrosion within the cooling system as well as stopping the coolant freezing so is important all year round.


  • Wiper blades wear down over time and smear the windscreen if they become worn.
  • Replace them at least once a year for best performance.


  • Check and top up regularly – it’s a legal requirement that the system works.
  • Use a good screenwash additive through summer and winter – water alone won’t clear oily road grime and freezes more readily in winter.


  • Check regularly for stone damage as this can impair vision or distract attention.
  • Minor chips can grow and crack the glass but many can be repaired by a windscreen specialist.


  • Check all lights weekly. Don’t forget indicators, brake and fog lights.
  • Clean lights regularly. In bad weather wipe them over with a damp cloth during driving breaks.

Power steering

  • Ensure that the fluid reservoir is checked at every service, and check it yourself once a month.
  • Top up only using the correct hydraulic fluid as advised in the car handbook.


  • Deal promptly with damage to bodywork to prevent rust setting in.
  • Many cars have extended bodywork warranty schemes, which may require annual inspection at the dealer. Check that any previous owner has kept records up to date.


Should You Consider Mobile Car Repair?

You may have never heard of mobile car repair before. What does it actually mean? A mobile car repair service will come to you, wherever you are. They will repair your car on the spot. This is incredibly convenient for you, especially when you think about the hours you have wasted at your mechanic’s just to get an oil change. Given the numerous advantages, should you consider getting your car repaired that way?

Time Is Valuable

The biggest advantage of a mobile car repair service is that you are not wasting any time at all. You can stay at home and do laundry, or you can stay at the office and do your job while your car is getting an oil change. You don’t have to drive to the service shop, you don’t have to wait while they work, and best of all you don’t have to smell oil and other things.

If there is one thing better than someone who will take care of your car for you without inconveniencing you in any way, then that’s a car that performs its own oil changes. However, until that happens, you can’t beat a mobile repair service.

Most Repairs Are Easy

Okay, so maybe car repairs are not easy, especially if you are not handy and don’t really like cars. However, most car repairs can easily be done anywhere. An oil change can be done in your driveway and an inspection of your fluids as well. While a car repair shop may have you believe that your car needs to be lifted up and taken apart for every job, that’s really not the case. After all, how else would a backyard mechanic fix his own cars?

The most important thing you can do to ensure that your car will continue to run smoothly for a long time is to keep it serviced. That means your mechanic will need to inspect the fluids, the brakes, the lights, and everything else. Additionally, you’ll need to get regular oil changes.

Of course, there are some things that a mobile car repair service simply can’t do. For example, in order to perform an alignment, your car needs to be put onto a special machine. However, getting an alignment is not something you need done every day. And if it’s possible to get most of your car repairs done conveniently, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of that.


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How Do I Remove a Car Scratch?

car buffing
Have scratches on your car? Read on to learn the best ways to remove them.

For people who take pristine care of their vehicles, a scratch on their car’s exterior is an unsightly blemish.

Fortunately, there are professional detailers and even DIY kits that specialize in eliminating unwanted scratches and dents from a vehicle’s surface.

“If it looks good, it feels good and it drives better,” says Darren Macron, owner ofMacron Mobile Detailing in Dublin, Ohio. “Scratches are just about the No. 1 thing on the minds of drivers when it comes to exterior detailing.”

How professionals remove car scratches

Most detailers go by the general rule that if you run your finger over a scratch and it stops, it’s likely too deep just to buff out and you may need to take your vehicle to an auto body shop for repair. In a case where your finger may feel the scratch but still glides over it, auto detailers can generally fix it with a rubbing compound.

Scratches that are contained to the clearcoat and don’t penetrate the paint are fixed rather easily, as re-painting isn’t involved.

The first step is to clean the surface of the scratch with either a clay bar or Nanoskin pad, says Ken Steeg, owner of Xclusive Mobile Detailing in Granadad Hills, California.

The next step is applying the rubbing compound to either a cloth or a buffer. Macron says he hand buffs over the clearcoat in a circular motion, sometimes leaving a 2- to-3-inch in diameter circle around the scratch. This blends the scratch while wearing down the clearcoat, he says.

“We’re working the clearcoat so everything is smooth,” he says.

RELATED: The Angie’s List Guide to Auto Detailing

Electric buffers are a better option to rub in the compound for longer or multiple scratches.

A buffer will tear through some of the clearcoat. Steeg says he typically buffs the entire car when he does this, which he says prevents 90 to 95 percent of the scratches from coming back.

For best results, Macron recommends leaving high-speed buffing to professional detailers.

Macron says the final step they use is applying a petroleum-based polish, followed by a wax.

“A wax will fill in the crevice and will smooth it out,” Macron says.

For serious scratches that have cut through the entire clearcoat and into the paint, Macron says he offers a service that includes sanding. This will include using a 2,000 or more grit wet/dry sandpaper to wear down the entire clearcoat to the metal and then touching it up with paint. These are scratches deep enough to catch your fingernail, Macron says.

“In these cases, I would recommend finding someone that can do wet sanding,” Steeg says. “If it’s really deep, you may have to go to a body shop.”
Steve Schwartz, owner of C & S Body Shop in Kansas City, Missouri, says if the scratch is through the paint, rust will form within a week if it’s not repaired or at least covered up temporarily with nail polish.

The process generally includes sanding the scratch down and priming the area before painting it, he says.

Can I remove a car scratch myself?

Waxing, eliminates up to 80 percent of surface scratches, Macron says, whether it’s by hiring a detailer or doing it on your own.

However, using only an over-the-counter wax and not a rubbing compound is only a temporary solution.

“Three to four weeks later the scratch will come back,” Macron says. “A compound will eliminate it.”

Macron says there are DIY solutions available, such as scratch repair pens that will provide a quick fix, but he doesn’t recommend these low-cost alternatives

“I haven’t found any that are helpful — nothing that I’ve been impressed with,” Steeg says.

Cost to remove a car scratch

Macron says he charges roughly $35 to $55 for a single scratch, depending on the size, difficulty and time required. Macron says he removes multiple scratches for $159.

Steeg says he charges anywhere from $50 to $300 to repair light scratches on cars.

Scratch Wizard , an online company that sells DIY touch up kits, estimates the cost to repair a clearcoat scratch is generally between $150 and $300 Schwartz says the cost to repair a deep paint scratch can range in price from $300 to $900.

“It’s a good idea to go to a shop and ask what they can do for you,” Schwartz says.



Tips to Maintain the Cooling System of Your Car in This Summer

We are moving into the hottest days of the summer. During the coming weeks the cooling system of your car is going to be stressed by the hot weather. You certainly do not want to have problems while you’re on your summer vacation trip, and you need to be vigilant about the status of the cooling system. There are some very useful tips to maintain everything as it should be during the hot months.

Coolant in Subaru

An automobile’s cooling system has two primary objectives:

1. Keep the engine at the right temperature;
2. Move heat away from the engine to reduce temperature stress.

Benefits of using right Coolant

The coolant is able to do both. This circulates through the engine, getting in contact with the heat and bringing it to the radiator for cooling purposes. The right coolant should have a high boiling point with the ability to easily transfer heat away from an operating engine. Coolant is essentially a mixture of ethylene glycol and water. The pressure in the cooling system hovers around 14 to 15 pounds per square inch, so it can better adjust to high temperatures in the engine. Excess coolant is maintained in a reservoir known as a plastic overflow tank. The coolant is powered through the entire system by thewater pump, and the heated fluid is processed in the radiator.

Check the hoses

Things work well if the hoses are in good order. Cracks or splits in the seams can cause leaks which can quickly turn into torrents. The same is true if there is any bulging. Some people think any type of coolant hose can be used as a replacement and that is not true. Coolant hoses should be replaced with a corresponding part for the year, make of engine, and model of the automobile. The part number of the old and replaced hose ought to be the same. Moreover, the routing of the replacement hose must be exactly the way the older hose was. A pressure test after the cooling system has been refilled needs to be conducted to make sure there are no problems.

Role of belts

Belts play a very prominent role in the cooling system of an automobile. A number of models have the water pump given by serpentine belt, which also moves the alternator, air conditioner compressor, and the power steering pump. Newer models will use a timing belt. Whatever belt is being used it has to be inspected to be sure is in no danger of snapping. Should that happen, then the water pump may stop as well as other essential parts of the engine.

Working of radiator

The radiator is the centerpiece of the cooling Car Radiatorsystem. Within the radiator are countless numbers of little metal fins which help expose heated fluid to cooler air. This also permits the heat to be pushed into the atmosphere. Athermostat keeps a watch on the temperature and maintains the fluid going through the system. The radiator is definitely under a lot of pressure and stress during the hot months. It is possible that a leak may occur, which can cause the coolant to drip out of the cooling system. This is situation you certainly would not want to have happen. If you notice that the temperature gauge is rising higher you may have some problems under the hood. This requires having the radiator inspected as well as the hoses for any possible leaks.

Schedule coolant system check

It is a good idea to have a professional mechanic take a look at the cooling system. You are dealing with hot fluids under a fair amount of pressure, and that can be little bit risky. A mechanic can do a coolant flush and replace the old coolant. That helps makes things operate a little bit better. The belts and hoses can also be checked. If you have not already done so, it would be a good idea just to have a coolant system check be scheduled. There are some very hot days still coming, and the work done now can prevent a serious crisis from happening later on.

Keep a careful watch on the temperature gauge on the dashboard and also the thermostat. It is possible that your car may need new coolant, and it can be taken care of quickly. Schedule an appointment with the automotive service center prior to making that long vacation trip. The cooling system needs to be in good working condition to avoid problems far away from home. Any problems with the cooling system are fairly inexpensive.





By Robert Huang

For most automobile owners, changing oil and doing routine maintenance checks are important aspects of keeping the vehicle healthy. When the car manifests signs of problems, the driver would usually make sure it is corrected immediately to avoid more costly repairs later. But one thing most car owners neglect, but should not, is the windshield. Although the windshield does not belong with the ‘mysterious’ underhood components and seems to be transparent in its use, its importance cannot be understated. As with any car component problems, windshield damage should be repaired immediately.

Many people doubt the value of a chip repair. Paying fifty bucks for a chip repair that is barely the size of a nickel seems unreasonable. However, most do not realize that the windshield is very fragile to internal stress. It may look impenetrable, but when subjected to road and temperature stress, the chip can easily become a crack. Searching recent forums, an Acura owner’s tolerance of “an annoying little rock chip [had] finally become a long streak across the middle of [his] windshield.” (1)


As with all things, let’s begin with the basics.

Windshield glass is a type of laminated glass. It consists of two layers of special composite glass with a laminate in between the layers. The laminate usually is made from a form of vinyl plastic, which is in simple terms, a very strong plastic. The laminate acts as a sticking board for the inner and outer layer of glass, which serves to hold both layers together and provides a surface in the event of shattering for glass fragments to adhere to.

A black frame, referred as the ‘frit’, lines the outer edges of the windshield, commonly 2-3 inches wide and even wider on top. The frit protects the urethane molding (generally speaking, glue that bonds windshield to car) of the windshield from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Without the frit, the urethane would melt and cease to hold the windshield to the body frame. This is what happens with rear-view mirrors that are incorrectly installed; they fall off the windshield after the adhesives melt in the sun’s heat.


Windshields play essential roles in vehicle safety and drivability. First and the most apparent function of the windshield is blocking wind and airborne debris from you and providing a clear perspective of road conditions. This is more of a drivability issue. The next two functions are safety-related, especially during an accident. In a frontal collision, two safety features of the car minimize impact damage to the driver and passenger: SRS Airbag and seat belts. In order for the airbag to deploy properly, the windshield needs to be in place. It stops the airbag from deploying upwards and redirects the direction of inflation toward the driver. In a rollover, windshield serves dually to prevent the roof of the car from collapsing and the passenger from having any body parts hanging outside the car. This issue is more pertinent with side windows, where loose body parts will dramatically increase fatality rates.

An improperly installed or cracked windshield will jeopardize your safety. One, the windshield may crack up and eventually lose integrity and shatter. Two, during an accident, the windshield will fly apart on airbag deployment with shards of glass spewing all over the place. And the airbag will be less effective. Third, on a rollover, compression stress will first stretch the crack from end to end and then finally break the windshield. Flying glass shards are very sharp and dangerous.


Ok, are you still following me? In the above sections, I have mentioned windshield structure and function. This section will cover windshield installation. The next section will tell you about windshield stress areas that dictate how likely a chip or crack is going to develop further.

Windshield placement is a highly robotic and computer-controlled process in the assembly line of automobile manufacturing. Computerized alignment and placement procedures ensure that both molding and windshield are accurately fitted. Preparation of the car frame provides a clean surface to which the windshield could bond. Furthermore, there is ample time between windshield installation and the end of the production line for the molding to cure. Because of these exacting processes, the quality that comes out the factory is the best.

For aftermarket windshield installation, getting rid of the original windshield properly is foremost to a good replacement. The correct installation techniques require removal of the old molding and lower windshield cowl panel. Subsequently the glass is cut out, leaving around 1/16” of urethane bedding. The channel area, where the urethane adhesives bond, should be primed to inhibit rust formation. Rust formation will eventually weaken the bonding of the windshield to the car. After placement of the windshield, the car should be given from 1-24 hours to cure, depending on the adhesives used.

Some unethical replacement practices include shortcuts, such as close-cutting, flush-cutting and jumping-the-cowl. These will not be covered here, but if you are interested, you may read about these shortcuts in brief in the second link in References.


Whether your car is parked, speeding east on Highway 60 or turtle-ing in the morning rush hour on I-10, your windshield endures many abuses: temperature changes (most notably night cooling and day heating,) road vibrations and car body frame shears, and road debris.

Because glass expands and shrinks at a slower rate than the metal body frame it is located in, during temperature changes, for example a rise in ambient temperature, the expanding metal pushes in on the sides of the windshield; conversely, a decrease in the ambient temperature exerts a pulling force on the edges of the windshield.

Now imagine, in addition to temperature stress, the constant pulling and pushing of the windshield from the body frame absorbing road impact. A stress gradient exists within the windshield. The highest stress occurs around the edges and lessens gradually approaching the center point of the windshield.

So far so good…Then a rock hits the windshield and creates an opening. Usually the windshield could distribute temperature and vibrational stress to its neighboring glass molecule. Now, however, tension would accumulate along the edge of the crack until it travels down to the border of intact and separated glass. The extra tension causes the borderline intact glass to separate, since it is the next weakest point and would continue until something is done about it.

Stress gradients correlate directly to the likelihood of a chip or crack developing further. A stone break in a high stress area, i.e. the sides, is more likely to evolve into a crack. Cracks that start from the edges usually travel to the center of less stress, just as water flows from high pressure to low pressure. Depending on shearing forces the car body exerts on the windshield, the crack may actually travel in different directions.


After you read this article, we hope that you have a deeper appreciation of the value of the windshield chip and crack repair that our service sector provides to you. By repairing stone breaks and cracks when repairable, we save you time and expense and give you quality. Cars retain their originally fitted windshield, which is ever more important in new models where windshield design have reached the stage that correct replacement is paramount to ensure a snug fit and prevent stress cracks from developing. (Stress crack can occur even without external damage, especially if the windshield is not designed to fit on certain car models.)

Properly done repairs will enhance the strength of the windshield, reduce optical distraction, restrict damage area and maintain a smooth surface for wiper operation.


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How to Fix Car Scratches and Dents: PM Resource Guide

Car scratches can be incredibly frustrating–tiny flaws are expensive to have fixed professionally, but it’s also hard to ignore them. Over the years, Popular Mechanics has published several articles advising readers how to get scratches off all parts of their cars (including bumpers and headlights), and which products to use along the way. Car dents are another matter–they’re much harder and more expensive to fix. But if you’re ready for the challenge, PM has instructions for those projects too: Just check out our coverage for how to hammer out dents and replace skin on car doors.


The Scratched Body
Paint scratches, no matter how small, can be expensive eyesores. Here is a look at the anatomy of a paint scratch (and how to diagnose different kinds of body scratches), along with step-by-step illustrated instructions for fixing one.
• How to Repair Your Car Scratch: Saturday Mechanic

The Bumper Scuff
Bumper scuffs and scratches can’t be remedied like scratches marring your paint job–this common scratch requires a bit more work. Here’s how to make a scratched bumper look like new.
• Plastic Bumper Repair

Foggy Headlights
After a few years, headlights don’t have to be scratched to look scuffed and foggy. “Polycarbonate has a tendency to get hazy,” says Popular Mechanics senior auto editor Mike Allen. “Severely neglected lenses can actually pit and develop a network of fine cracks, called craze, which makes the job of fixing them tougher.” But this common malady can be fixed. We have step-by-step illustrated instructions for making your headlights look clean and clear.
• How to Polish Your Headlights Like a Pro.

Blotchy Plastic Cladding
The gray and black plastic cladding that frequently comes on SUVs is easy to get dirty, but hard to get clean. Here’s how to make that vinyl look good again.
• How to Clean Plastic Cladding

Repainting and Bodywork
Sometimes a small fix just isn’t going to do it for your car’s paint job. After getting a 1967 Camaro convertible back to the “roller” stage, PM editors tackled getting a bright new red paint job on this classic. Here’s the definitive guide on giving an old car a new paint job, weld seams and all.
• How to Paint a Car

The Products
Is there a product out there that can do it all for you? Our As Seen On TV product-testing guru put the Fix-It to work to see if it would help make car scratches disappear, and tried to see whether Liquid Diamond could replace real car wax.
• Testing Fix-It, the “Instant Scratch Remover”
• Liquid Diamond Product Review


Hammering Out Dents
This is a difficult, multistep project, but given the prices mechanics charge to repair dents, the tools and time involved to fix an unsightly dent may be worth the investment.
• Dealing With Dents

Dented Doors
You can replace a dented door, or you can reskin the one you have. Body shops used to have to weld new skins to doors–it wasn’t a DIY project. Today, thanks to special adhesives, reskinning is something you can do (carefully) at home. Here’s how.
• How to Replace Skin on Your Dented Car Door

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Avoid Towing Your Cars and Call For Mobile Repair Services

A busy day struck with a car repair will be the worst day ever in one’s life. People find it really hard to find a mechanic to repair their cars in the middle of the road. All their plan will be to tow the car to a near by workstation. But that is more time consuming work which will cause more disturbances on your day’s plan. And towing is also a money consuming option where you must have to spend some $200 to $300 for towing your car to near by workstation.

In California, there is always an option that makes you feel easy during your car break downs. You don’t have to call a towing vehicle or never have to take your cars to near by workstation. But the workstation will come to your location. The mobile repair services in California will send you the technicians who were well trained and experienced in car repairing. They will fix your car at no time and also charges very less. The auto repair Fremont and auto service Oakland are the services chosen by people often to fix their cars. This is because these services are cheaper yet quality one.

Apart from mobile repair services, these servicing companies also provide fleet maintenance services and auto repair services at their workstations. The auto service Redwood City is a very famous service in California offered by different servicers in the state. The customers are expected to visit the workstation with their cars to avail these auto repairs and felt maintenance services. This is because; the equipments used for these services cannot be ported to the customer locations. With high quality equipment and well experience and certified technicians, the services rendered will be top in quality and cheap in cost.

To avail the mobile repair service of these companies, you are expected to make a call to them and have to mention the location in which the car is at present. To avail the fleet maintenance and auto repair services, you will be expected to schedule an appointment before you visit the service station. This will avoid too much of crowd visiting the company at the same time. The payment modes are also very simple that these servicers will accept cash mode, credit and debit cards. So if you are struck with car break down, don’t call a towing vehicle; call a mobile repair servicer and get your work done on time.


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Replacing A Windshield VS Repairing A Windshield

Windshields are the window panes fitted at the front of just about all automobiles, such as a car, truck or van. These handy panes help give protection to us from harsh winds, precipitation, not to mention impact damages. Without these, it would be difficult to drive a car in today’s climate.

Windshields are more often than not made from laminated safety glass or sometimes treated glass that includes a couple of curved sheets of glass with a vinyl film in between them. All of these layers of glass and vinyl are bonded to the window framework for protection. This structural arrangement helps to ensure the glass pane won’t ‘explode’ upon impact with wind, bad weather conditions and other natural forces. More to the point, these panes are produced to provide protection to the driver and other vehicle occupants.


That doesn’t really mean windshields aren’t prone to being damaged.

Windshield Crack Repair

Windshield repairs are often executed in cases where only a small specific part of the windshield is cracked. The majority of repairs rely upon the section of the windshield the damage is located, as well as the height and width of the split area. Repairing a windshield helps prevent chips or even cracks in the windshield’s structure from expanding onto the rest of the auto glass. This for all intents and purposes maintains the structural solidity of the pane and all without exchanging the existing vehicle’s windshield. A normal windshield repair will hardly set you back in excess of $70, as a result it’s known to be a quite inexpensive alternative with regards to a repair or replacement.

Windshield Replacement in Atlanta, Ga

Assuming your windshield has sustained major damages, you’re most likely willing to get a windshield replacement carried out. Windshield replacements are considerably more relevant for panes with damage advancing all the way through the majority of the glass. In short, if it’s stretched across the front of the window longer than a dollar bill, it will require a replacement. A windshield alternative unit ultimately returns function to your windscreen. Though expensive, it’s the most suitable option to ensure your security on the highway when your windshield is broken or cracked.

Windshield Repair Or Replacement? What Should I Do?

Windshields break. They sometimes get chipped. Now and again, they can endure extreme impact damage. In cases where this stuff crops up, a large amount of motor vehicle owners often ponder if they are in need of their windshield being repaired or possibly entirely replaced.

The degree of the damage is the decisive consideration in selecting repairs or replacements. Also, the place of this same damage may also help with the decision process. For instance, if it turns out there’s a crack at the edge of the windshield, quite a few windshield repair Atlanta professionals just like us would definitely suggest a replacement windshield, due to the fact the fracture may spread to the rest of the auto glass little by little.


Should your car have a windshield replacement or repair? Auto Glass Atlanta can be reached 8-5pm Monday – Saturday. Get in touch with us at (678) 809-3466 to schedule a qualified examination of whether your windshield requires a repair or replacement in Atlanta, Georgia.

Deconstructing Car Dings in the Driveway

At some point, inevitably, your car gets dinged or dented. While it might not seem worthy of an insurance call or a visit to the body shop, it bothers you every time you see it.

If the damage is smaller than a football, you may be able to bypass the body shop and still get the dings fixed. There are a number of services that offer paintless dent repair, which involves using specialized metal rods to push out small dents from the inside. Unlike with a typical body-shop repair, there is no sanding, body filling or repainting needed. It works best on late-model vehicles, which have stronger bodies and more resilient paint.

Most services charge by the dent, which is still cheaper than full-body work. Since it doesn’t involve heavy machinery or repainting, technicians will do repairs at customers’ homes. We put paintless dent repair to the test with four cars with dings, using some nationwide franchises as well as independent operations.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, we called Collision on Wheels for a free estimate to fix a baseball-size dent and a couple of door dings of a 2007 Toyota. The estimator said the price would depend on the location of the dents; it would be cheaper if they were on the same panel. Of the three dents we had, two were on the same panel.

We were surprised when a truck with a different name pulled up for our appointment. Turns out the company subcontracts out its smaller jobs to Frank Loureiro and his one-man business, Super Dents. With the car in the driveway, Mr. Loureiro opened up the panels from underneath and inserted golf-club-size rods behind them, using them to gently massage and push out each area. Within a few minutes, the dents started to disappear. He removed a couple of very small dings at the edge of the door panel at no charge. Roughly an hour later, the dents were gone and the panels smooth to the touch.

In Boston, we tried David Woodward, owner of DingSmith, for a grapefruit-size dent on the rear passenger door of a 2004 Volkswagen. We texted him pictures of the dent and informed Mr. Woodward that the dent had previously been “fixed” twice—once by ourselves with a plunger and once by a detailing service. The dent popped back after each fix. Mr. Woodward said he would guarantee his work for the car’s lifetime.

Upon seeing the car, Mr. Woodward said he could fix the dent but not an adjacent crease. He used a long, thin metal tool with a blunt end to reach in through the window and behind the dent to push it out. It looked like it worked at first, but it reappeared when he tried to test it by pushing it in with his hand.

He tried to fix it again, hitting a small rubber tip with a mallet to reshape the metal around the dent. The dent was really gone this time.

In Phoenix, a 1999 Jeep had a golf-ball-size dent in the hood. When we called Unique Dent Removal, owner Quin Adams said he rarely does home repairs these days. Most of his business comes from body shops and car dealers. He was particularly busy when we called because of damage done to cars by a major hailstorm that recently hit the area.

(While none of the cars we used had hail damage, hail storms turned out to be a problem in a number of areas in the country, increasing wait times for appointments and causing some services we called to refuse at-home repair jobs altogether because of the increase in business. Some services charge on a case-by-case basis, rather than per dent; others won’t take on the problem if the dents are too large or too deep.)

Due to the backlog of storm-related work, we decided to take the car to him for repairs. After 20 minutes of a tap here and a push there, the dent was gone. Mr. Adams noticed a few tiny dings on the hood and removed them at no charge. He also waxed and buffed the entire hood. We were delighted with the service and results.

In Seattle, there was a door dent on a 1997 Subaru. We called Scratch Master and spoke to the owner, Brian Lewis. He said the company would do an onsite estimate and would charge us $20 for it if we decided not to do the repair.

We called on a Monday and Mr. Lewis came out to do the repair on Thursday. We had a small dent on one of the passenger doors, which turned out to be in a difficult place to repair because the dent was on top of a beam within the door. Mr. Lewis explained that with a normal door dent, he would insert a tool through the window, push it down, and rotate it inside the door to push it out. With our dent, he said if he went down through the window, the amount of leverage required to fix the dent could break the window.

Instead, Mr. Lewis opened the door and inserted a tool through a small hole near the door latch, leveraging it to push out the dent. After fixing the dent, he covered up the hole with a rubber plug. He cautioned that sometimes the work could slightly crack the paint. We were satisfied with the results. If we look carefully, we can still tell there’s a bit of a flaw in the paint where the dent was. Though no one would know it was there but us.




Broke With a Beater: How To Maintain an Old Car

You might not be familiar with the term “beater.” But in all likelihood, you’ve owned or driven one in your lifetime. This is the hand-me-down, the junker, the old car that hasn’t received an ounce of love in at least a decade. It’s the vehicle that’s been beat on.

A big difference between those doomed to spend their lives in old, ugly, dented, fuel-thirsty beaters and those who can soon afford better rides is how they care for it. Neglect maintenance and it could lead to a crash, a breakdown or cost money you may not have.

In this article, we’ll offer tips on how to keep your old car running safely as long as possible for the least money. You can do a lot yourself, even if you have little mechanical experience.

Owning and maintaining a beater to ensure safety is all about prioritizing your scarce (or tightly held) resources. We’ve grouped maintenance issues into three areas:

Priority No. 1: Maintain things that could cause your old car to lose control and possibly cause an accident. This includes your car’s braking system, tires, steering system and what we’ll call “the driver vision system.” Spend your money here first.

Priority No. 2: This will include maintenance on things that will leave you stranded or cause other components — such as the engine — to fail. This includes radiator hoses, fuel lines, constant velocity (CV) joints and fan, accessory and timing belts.

Priority No. 3: The third priority will be simply to keep your old car alive. This includes changing the engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant.

Even if your do-it-yourself role will be limited to “inspector,” get a repair manual for your vehicle: Manuals cost less than $20 new. You also could get one used or borrow one from the library. You’ll also need at least one jack stand and a few tools: Look on or at a thrift store or flea market.

It’s No Accident
The cost of an accident — insurance deductibles, lost work days, a traffic citation or increased insurance premiums — would go a long way toward paying for a better vehicle. A wreck can start you on the road toward becoming a lifetime beater driver.

Start by checking the brakes. Most beater owners wait until they hear grinding noises before taking action. Be a bit more proactive. Checking to making sure there’s adequate material remaining on the brake pads for disc brakes is a good place to begin. It’s also a task that most can do armed with only the car’s standard jack and lug wrench and a jack stand. Remove the wheel, and with most disc brakes you can see the pads on either side of the disc. Leaking brake fluid means immediate repairs are required.

Just as doctors draw blood to help determine a person’s health, “bleeding the brakes” will say a lot about your brakes as well. The job is only slightly more difficult than checking pad thickness: Consult the repair manual for details. If the brake fluid is dark black and contains bits of rubber, a serious brake job is mandatory. If not, flushing the brake fluid — bleeding the brakes until all the old fluid is expelled and replacing it with fresh fluid — is a cheap way to help the inside of the brake system last longer. Cost: about $12 for a do-it-yourselfer with the right tools and an assistant. Serious brake work requires either a professional or on-site help from an experienced amateur. Prices start at about $40 for a DIYer who only replaces the front brake pads.

Worn out and neglected tires cause more accidents than record-keepers can account for. Though it’s painful when you see the credit card statement (about $200 to $400 for four non-performance tires), replace tires sooner rather than later.

Steering and suspension problems show up as uneven wear on the tires or by the way the car steers and rides. Have a professional inspect the system ($40-$75) to see if it’s safe to drive, and suggest what repairs are needed.

A government report said “obscured vision” accounted for as many accidents as brake and tire failure combined. It’s inexpensive (about $15) and easy to replace windshield wiper blades. Old cars’ headlight lenses are often pitted or yellowed. A less used pair from a local or online auto recycling center (a.k.a. junkyard) or eBay could run anywhere from $50 to $150.

Stranded With No Way Home
Most beater cars need every hose replaced, and it’s likely the heater hose, which carries hot engine coolant to a small radiator inside the car (about $30) has never been changed. For example, I used to drive a $450 Subaru as a winter beater. A heater hose sprung a leak one night on a deserted road next to a partially iced-up river. I ended up having to creep out to the edge of the ice to fill a plastic milk jug with water for the radiator. On another beater, I replaced all the hoses except for a tiny, difficult-to-access one on the water pump, only to discover how quickly all the coolant will blow through such a tiny hole. This public confession is intended to show that neglected maintenance can be dangerous for both people and engines.

Problems like this are avoidable, and there are often warning signals. It’s almost certain that those who suffer car fires ignored the aroma of gasoline: Your choice is to replace an inexpensive fuel line or risk a fire. And if you hear squealing, it’s likely a fan or accessory belt that should be replaced. A new belt is less than $20. The difficulty of the job varies greatly among vehicles. If you don’t have the work done and the belt breaks, you’ll be the one squealing.

Many old cars have engine timing belts that should be changed every 60,000 miles. This costs about $500 or more and is a not-for-amateurs task. Some engines — notably Hondas — suffer serious damage when the timing belt breaks, while others just stop running.

Owners of front-wheel-drive beaters need to listen for signs of a failing CV (constant-velocity) joint: usually a clicking noise that first appears during tight turns. Look at the rubber boots around the CV joint: Missing or boots torn long ago likely means the CV joint probably needs replacing. A professional repair can cost $300 per axle, but an experienced amateur can do it for about $80 per side.

To help make sure your old car will start, clean corrosion from the battery terminals with baking soda mixed into water and apply an anti-corrosion chemical (about $4). Inspect the battery cables (about $20 a pair) and their connections.

Another important note: If you’ve recently acquired a beater, you should have its oil and oil filter changed, (a $20 to $40 cost for DIYers). Have the automatic transmission fluid flushed and the filter changed. (I recommend paying a professional do to it, about $150.) Change the radiator coolant once a year (about $8).

Time To Dump It?
There’s no easy answer to the question of when to get rid of your beater car. Some argue that shelling out $2,500 for a replacement transmission tops going further into debt to get another car. Besides, if you buy another used car that’s less of a beater, it might soon need a $500 timing belt.

Don’t sell just because you’ve recently been forced into a major repair. Since specific models tend to suffer identical problems, you get an idea of other big expenses that might be on the horizon by asking owners of similar vehicles on the Edmunds’ Forums, or quizzing a mechanic who specializes in your make. Those who own expensive-to-repair European beaters should bail out sooner.

One way to find out if you can dump your beater is to determine the payments for the vehicle you’d like to buy and then start putting that amount into a savings account every month.

Beater Knowledge Can Pay Off
Knowing how to keep a beater car running as long as possible will save you money, particularly if you do it yourself. Sometimes there are other perks as well. I once met a young woman whose manual-transmission beater had problems with its clutch-actuating mechanism. This tough old car was built before clutch interlocks, so I taught her how to start it in gear and shift without using the clutch. The payoff? She eventually married me.


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Car Repair – Tampa’s Lucrative Market Facts

Florida has many laws that protect consumers in the car repair business. The Florida Department of Agriculture has a dedicated side just for consumers and car repair shops. All Tampa car repair shops must abide by specific guidelines and be registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Consumers can go onto the Florida Department of Agriculture website to find out the specific guidelines that should be followed by all shops that perform car repair. Tampa has many car repair shops to choose from. Some repair shops specialize in tires or brakes, some specialize in repairs or air conditioners. Some shops perform auto body collision repairs and some shops do it all. The guidelines are all the same whether you go to an import shop or an auto electric repair shop.

All shops are required to offer you an estimate prior to performing car repair work on your car in Tampa. You are given 3 options on your repair bill to suite your car repair situation. You can choose that you request a written estimate, you can give authorization for repairs not to exceed a specific dollar amount, or you can choose not to receive a written estimate. Whichever you choose helps the car repair shop in Tampa get to work on your vehicle at your discretion. You should use your best judgment when choosing these options so that the outcome will benefit you.

In Florida and Tampa, car repair shops must be registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture. By law, they will be assigned a motor vehicle repair shop number. You should be able to find this number located on the repair order you receive. The number looks similar to “MV-XXXXXXX”. The “X’s” in this example represent the actual number for the car repair shop. The legitimacy of the shop can also be verified simply by calling the Florida Department of Agriculture consumer hotline. Here you can check out any complaints or concerns associated with the car repair shop in Tampa.

Checking on a car repair shop in Tampa prior to doing business with them can save you time and Hassel. Obviously if you check on a car repair shop and find they have no motor repair shop number, they are not running a legal repair shop in the first place. These car repair shops should be reported to the Florida Department of Agriculture since all car repair shops are required to be registered. This helps rid of scam shops that are all over the Tampa Bay area. Just like the Better Business Bureau, the Florida Department of Agriculture will investigate shops that my be doing inappropriate business or scams that leave consumers with improper repair jobs on their car. Performing a simple check on a car repair shop may help you determine that a repair shop is unfit and help you keep from getting scammed on your own car repairs.





check engine light


Every new car now comes with OBD-II – On Board Diagnostics 2. This is a fault-registering system connected to sensors all over the car, engine, fuel and emissions system. When the check engine light comes on, it can mean many things. There are something like 4,000 unique OBD2 codes that can be stored. Handheld OBD2 diagnostic tools can be plugged in to the OBD2 port which is normally under the dash on the driver’s side. These tools can read out the fault code and/or reset the system to contain no codes. Codes are split into two categories – historical/inactive, and active. The historical codes are lists of things that have been detected in the past but are no longer an issue, whilst the active codes are things that are a problem right now. Codes are subdivided into B-codes (body), C-codes (chassis) and the biggest list of all – P-codes (powertrain).
P0440 OBD-II code. This is the most common code you’ll find and it’s the first thing you should check. P0440 is the code for Evaporative Emission Control System Malfunction which covers a multitude of sins. The one thing it covers that you can check is your gas cap (petrol cap). Most new cars have a pressurised fuel system and vapour recovery loop. If you’ve filled up with petrol and not twisted the gas cap until it clicks, you’ve not sealed the fuel system. It won’t pressurise and the OBD2 system will log a P0440 code. In fact, on a lot of cars, that code is so common they’ll actually have some way of telling you to check the gas cap. In the Honda Element, for example, if a P0440 code is logged, the dash scrolls “CHECK GAS CAP” across the odometer display. So if you get a check engine light, check the gas cap first and see if the light goes off. Note : even if the light does go off, the code will likely still be stored in the OBD system and will show up next time it is checked.
It wasn’t the gas cap. If tightening the gas cap didn’t do it, you’ll need to find someone with an OBD2 diagnostics tool or reader. Some garages will charge you just for plugging the device inand reading the code. If they do, walk away. They’re ripping you off. Better to find a garage or mechanic that will read the code and actually give you a diagnosis rather than just making you pay to find out a number. Smaller garages and local mechanics will normally do this for you for a small fee, and being independent, the diagnosis won’t be predicated on you buying some expensive parts from a corporate chain.
If you’re a do-it-yourself type used to working from shop manuals, then a lot of places that will give you the diagnostic code for free. In America specifically, the Schuck’s chain do free diagnostics checks (Checker, Kragen, Murray’s, Advance) as well as AutoZone. Drop in – don’t phone up and ask. A lot of times if you phone up they’ll tell you it’s $40. If you just turn up, more often than not they’ll do it for nothing. In the UK I’m not sure who does – if you know, drop me a line. The alternative, if you’re into maintaining your own vehicles, is to buy a reader and do it yourself.

service engine light


This might indicate “Service”, “Service Engine” or “Maint Reqd”. It’s an indicator that you’re getting close to a scheduled maintenance interval. On some cars it’s as simple as counting miles before it comes on, whilst on others it maps engine temperatures, oil temperatures, air temperatures and other indicators of probable stress to tell you when it might be time for new oil or a service. In most cars this can be overridden or reset by you, the owner. Your handbook will tell you if this is the case. If you take your car for a service, the garage should reset it for you.
Typically this light will come on when you start your car, and then turn off again as part of the self-check. If it stays on for 10 seconds then turns off, it normally means you’re within 500 miles of needing a service. If it flashes for 10 seconds, it normally means you’ve exceeded a recommended service interval.

battery warning light


This warning light is different in every car but normally it looks like a picture of a battery, similar to the picture on the left here. You’ll see it come on and go off when you start your engine as part of the car’s self-test, but if this light comes on and stays on, it means the electrical charging system is no longer working properly. Think of it like a cellphone battery. If the cellphone is plugged into the charger, you can use it indefinitely, but when you disconnect it from the charger, there’s a limited amount of time before your battery runs out. It’s exactly the same in your car, only bigger. Every car has an alternator – the charger – and a 12v battery used to supply power to the electrical system. If the alternator becomes faulty or the drive belt to it snaps, then it will not be able to do its job. The longer you drive, the more your car will use up the remaining juice in the battery and eventually the engine will die. This almost always requires a new or refurbished alternator.

brake warning light


Most cars nowadays have a brake warning light on the dash. Its purpose is to alert you that something is wrong in the braking system somewhere. If it comes on, check your owner’s manual to find out its meaning. The brake warning light doesn’t have a standard meaning; it could be used for multiple purposes. For example, the same light may be used to show that the hand brake (parking brake for the Americans amongst you) is on. If that’s the case and you’re driving, you ought to have noticed the smell of burning brake dust by now. The light can also indicate that the fluid in the master cylinder is low. Each manufacturer has a different use and standard for this light. Which is nice. Because it would be such a drag if the same indicator meant the same thing in every vehicle.

brake warning light


If you’ve got an ABS-equipped car, you also have a second light – the ABS light. If it comes on, get it seen to as soon as possible. It means the ABS computer has diagnosed that something is amiss in the system. It could be something as simple as dirt in one of the sensors, or something as costly as an entire ABS unit replacement. Either way, if that light is on, then you, my friend, have got 1970’s brakes. It’s important to note that this light normally comes on when you start the car and then switches off a few seconds later. If it blinks, throbs, flashes or in any other way draws your attention to itself, then take note. It’s not doing that just to please itself. Compared to a steady light, a blinking ABS light normally indicates something more serious. In some cases it could be as bad as “you have no brakes at all.”

coolant warning light


This is normally the coolant level warning light. If this comes on it means that the level of coolant in your radiator is low and needs topping up. DO NOT OPEN THE RADIATOR CAP WHEN THE ENGINE IS HOT! The coolant system is pressurised and it could easily release pressure and spray you with boiling coolant. Do it when the engine is cold. Top up the system with either a pre-mixed coolant bought from a shop, or with distilled water. Don’t use tap water – the mineral deposits in it boil out in the cooling system and calcium gets depositted around the inside of the radiator making it less efficient (which will eventually cause it to fail). It’s always best to use pre-mixed coolant, or to mix your own rather than using neat water. The coolant mixture behaves as an antifreeze in winter as well as a corrosion-inhibitor to stop your engine rusting from the inside out.

oil pressure warning light


Typically this light will come on if your oil pressure is too low. Low oil pressure is serious and if you continue to drive with this light on, eventually your engine will die. Low oil pressure can be caused by a failed oil pump, a blocked oil filter or strainer in the sump, or by low oil levels – for example if your engine is burning oil. Either way, you need to get it fixed, and fast. Low oil pressure is A Bad Thing and your engine won’t thank you for leaving this problem untreated.


I stumbled on a site in the UK that has even more explanations of the various warning lights you can find on your dash – head over and take a look if you’re curious: Engine warning lights


Another useful site with some more maintenance tips talks about 7 checks you should perform before the onset of winter – you can find that here: 7 vehicle checks you should perform before winter.

<<Beck articel



hroughout the rest of this website you’ll find in-depth articles describing in intricate detail how everything automotive works. On this page, I’ve simplified all that knowledge into a series of basic car maintenance tips, subdivided by category. These tips apply to pretty much every car owner, from business fleet owners, to specialists like a limo service, to the weekend hobbyist. Basic car maintenance really isn’t that hard. There are simple things that you can do on your own like being able to use a silicone lubricant to protect your car from rusting. Some tips have simple explanations right here whilst others link back to the articles in the rest of the site. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try the search button at the end of the top menu. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, or have a suggestion for something else I should cover, contact me using the contact button on the top menu bar.


If you’re looking for TSB (Technical Service Bulletins) or wiring diagrams for your vehicle, BBB industries have access to most of them for free. (Almost any decent car shop will have access to this sort of information – as the owner, you should too). BBB’s search page is well worth a look. Major recalls normally result in owners being contacted, but minor ones get done each time a vehicle is taken to a main network dealer. TSBs are the bulletins sent to the dealer networks containing info on known bugs and issues with all makes and models that need to be rectified when the vehicles come in. If you’re looking for a particular TSB or wiring diagram for your vehicle; TSBs and wiring diagrams.



Every 5,000 miles or 8,000km, rotate your tyres. arrow Tyre rotation.


Brake dust contains all sorts of nasty stuff. If you leave it too long, the combination of road grime, moisture and heat from your brakes will bake it on to your wheels. Brake dust normally clings to wheels with static electricity so a damp sponge and clean cold water is the best way to get it off.


Check your tyre pressures regularly – once a week is ideal. Bad tyre pressures can affect fuel economy, handling and comfort. It’s easy to do and there is no excuse not to. arrow Checking your tyre pressure.


Bald, slick tyres might be good for motor racing but they’re no good on the road. Most tyres come with tread wear bars built into them now – find one, examine it and if your tread is too low, replace your tyres. Four new tyres might seem expensive but they’re cheaper than a fine or an accident. arrow Tread wear bars.

While lurking on the Internet and collect the best tips for you, I tried to find the best online-resource with different wheels and tires. I found CARiD website as a really good place to do shopping: They offer ultimate wheels and tires collection, largest selection and truly dedicated team of experts to help you!



At the front of your engine there will be a series of rubber drive belts that loop around various pulleys, driving everything from the alternator to the a/c compressor. Rubber perishes, more so in extreme conditions like those found in an operating engine bay. Get your timing belt and accessory drive belt checked every 25,000 miles, preferably replacing it every 50,000 miles. See the Fuel and Engine bible for information on interference engines and why checking your timing belts is a necessity, not a luxury: arrow Interference engines


Check your tyre pressures regularly – once a week is ideal. Bad tyre pressures can affect fuel economy very noticeably. It’s easy to do and there is no excuse not to. arrow Checking your tyre pressures


This is something everyone can do – it’s quick and easy and it’ll tell you if your engine needs oil. If the oil is too high or too low, it can cause trouble for your engine. To check the oil, park on level ground and wait until the engine has cooled down after driving, then locate the dipstick. Pull it out and wipe it clean, then push it all the way back in until the top of it is seated properly in the dip tube again. Wait a moment then pull it out again. Check the level of the oil. If it’s between the high and low marks, you’re fine. (If it’s too low, add a little.) The high and low marks can be denoted by two dots, an “H” and “L” or a shaded area on the dipstick. The photos below show a Honda dipstick which has the two dots. Why not just read the level first time around? The first time you pull the dipstick out, it will have oil all over it and it will be difficult to tell where the level is. That’s why you need to wipe it on a rag to get a clean dipstick, then dip it back into the oil to get a good reading. More information on why you should check your oil level is here arrowChecking your oil level.


Again, something everyone can do. The coolant is the other thing your engine cannot go without. Every engine is different but if you check your handbook you should find where the coolant reservoir is. It will normally be bolted to one side of the engine bay or the other, and be a white semi-transparent bottle. Wait until your engine is cool and take a look at it – the outside should have ‘low’ and ‘high’ markings on it and the level of coolant inside should be between the two.

Next articel >>

Car paint scratch repair

Find out the right way to use car touch up paint.

Here’s why you should fix scratches in car paint.
Unless your driving habits keep you away from the public at large, sooner or later your pride and joy will acquire scratches. Face it, we’re obsessed with appearance. Still, many people choose to live with scratches.

Big mistake.

The vehicle body is no different from human skin. When it’s exposed to the elements and left unprotected, it will start to deteriorate (except for fiberglass or plastic panels which will just look bad).

Prompt car paint repair can restore appearance and reduce restoration expenses. Advance Auto Parts carries a full line of car touch up paint and car paint scratch repair kits. Plus, don’t forget about our complete selection of quality auto parts.

Why you should make car paint scratch repair a priority:

Today, a myriad of new products promise easy and low-cost car paint scratch repair, and some may be the perfect solution to your problem.

The irony is that if you repair a scratch right away, it’s comparatively no big deal, as far as time and expense goes. If you leave this opportunity open for oxidization to form on your sheet metal for any length of time, you’ll be astounded how quickly surface rust turns to body rot and how pricey it can be to repair.

Car paint repair — what you’ll need for the job:

  • Sandpaper (400 or finer wet/dry)
  • Wax remover
  • Car primer
  • Correct body color car touch up paint
  • Cotton or terry cloth
  • Rubbing compound
  • Car wax

Car paint repair do-it-yourself difficulty guide:

Estimated time required – 3 – 6 Hours

How to fix scratches in car paint; do it on your own and save:

  1. Minor paint scratches like this one shown in the picture, can be repaired by completing the following steps.
  2. Check your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s color code. Then get the correct color of car touch up paint (usually a base/clear two-part system). You’ll also need wet/dry sandpaper, polishing compound and a terry cloth towel.
  3. Wash the damaged area. Use wax remover if necessary. Then sand the scratch or nick, feathering the edges to smooth transitions to the undamaged paint.
  4. If the nick goes to the bare metal, apply primer and wet-sand once the primer dries. Otherwise, dab on the color-matched paint as smoothly as possible.
  5. If the car touch up paint is a base/clear, apply the clear topcoat once the base has completely dried.
  6. When the clear coat has cured, wet-sand the repair smooth with the undamaged areas.
  7. Use a fine-grit polishing compound to smooth out any imperfections. Finally, wax the car to add a layer of protection.




Easy Power Window Repair

So one of your power windows doesn’t work. Check the fuse first. If that’s good, the problem is either a bad switch or motor or a broken regulator (the device that actually lifts and lowers the glass). A shop will charge you at least a few hundred dollars to replace the motor/regulator, but you can do the job yourself in about four hours. Regulators are available online or at auto parts stores.

You need a basic set of metric sockets, screwdrivers, a drill and most important, a subscription to an online service manual. That way, you can download instructions and diagrams that are specific to your car. Use our instructions as a rough guide, and refer to your manual for specifics.

Start the repair by removing all the trim panel fasteners to access the switch for testing. Remove the trim panel and peel off the vapor barrier. A trim panel removal tool is inexpensive and saves you a lot of time.

Reach into the door panel and disconnect the power connector to the window motor (wear leather gloves to protect against cuts). Connect the leads of your voltmeter to the two terminals on the connector. Turn the key to the “on” position and toggle the window switch up and down. If the switch is good, you’ll see the voltage reading change from plus-12 volts to minus-12 volts. That means the problem is the motor/regulator. If your meter doesn’t display those readings, you’ve got a bad switch or a broken power or ground wire. Download an electrical diagram and check the power and ground wires leading to the switch to isolate the problem.

Replace the entire regulator assembly, not just the motor. Start by removing the window-to-regulator bolts (have someone hold the glass while you do this).

Then remove the glass by tilting it away from the door and lifting it out. Next, remove the regulator bolts or rivets (drill them out and snake the old regulator out through one of the door panel openings. Reverse the procedure to install the new regulator. Bolt the regulator in place and then reinstall the motor and window switch electrical connectors and the window glass. Test the window for proper operation. If the glass binds, you may have to loosen the bolts and make minor adjustments to the regulator. Then tighten everything and replace the vapor barrier and trim panel.


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Auto crash dents: repair or replace?

From minor fender-benders to car crashes that need some serious work, you will probably drive away with at least one serious dent to fix. Your two primary options to get rid of these dents is repair or replace. Repairs focus on removing the dent while keeping the same materials, while replacements simply exchange the entire affected panel for a new one. Read on to learn the details behind both options.

Repairs: Suction, Shaping, Fillers and More

One of the first things you will probably ask when taking a car in with a bad dent is, “Can it be fixed?” The answer will only follow after a close examination of the dent – but auto body experts have a lot of tricks these days to repair bad dents so you would never know they were there.

Suction and pulling are often used to reverse smaller dents and prepare the car for more detail work. Complex dents typically come with scratches, abrasions, and other issues that need careful treatment. Whenever possible, your auto body technician will try to remove the dent and repair the damage without repainting – there’s even an entire technique called Paintless Dent Removal that attempts to tweak your car’s surface without resorting to new paint.

However, deep or broad dents with more problems will probably need some repainting. In this case, find an auto body shop that offers paint matching services that will find the exact shades manufacturers originally used. Deep dents may require the use of fillers, sanding tools and more to restore your car to its old look.

Replacement: Cost, Damage, and Time

Some dents are simply easier to replace than fix: Auto body technicians will typically suggest a replacement if the damage is more than superficial and the structure of your vehicle has been compromised in some way – such as bent framework that needs to be fixed before the broken panel is replaced. If the damage is located primarily on one panel, the technician may suggest replacing that panel is a more elegant solution than trying to fix the dent.

This is also the time for some cost-benefit analysis. Ask your auto body shop about what parts they have in and what they have to order, as well as how long it would take to replace the part versus repairing it. Sometimes repairs would take so long that it is ultimately less expensive to just order a new part. However, this might mean leaving your car with the auto body shop for a bit longer than a repair would take, so remember to ask about shipping times as well.

Ultimately, an experienced technician will give you appropriate advice on a repair vs. a replacement based on how the crash affected specific parts of your vehicle. If you do have to make a decision, consider both your budget and what is important to you – repairing as much damage as possible, or making your car pristine once again.


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How to Handle a Car Repair Dispute

Consumer complaints to the Better Business Bureau about auto repair shops consistently rank in the top 15 types of complaints. Most auto repair shops perform reliable repairs. Sometimes, however, repairs don’t measure up to expectations. When this happens and your best efforts to resolve the problem fail, try following these steps to strengthen your position.

Things You’ll Need

  • Your state’s consumer protection law pertaining to auto repair
  • Know the laws in your state. You may be entitled to written estimates, the return of your replaced parts or awards in excess of the amount of the original bill. Hopefully, this information will not be needed but it is important to know what the law says. You might find that the company has violated the law, hence greatly improving your position in any negotiations.
  • Determine whether miscommunication, incompetence or alleged fraud is at the root of your problem. In the case of a misunderstanding or a failed good faith attempt to repair your car, some mutual resolution can usually be reached. When fraud is alleged, you may have to use everything that is at your disposal.
  • Give the repair facility a chance to resolve the problem, but set very specific ground rules such as no more expenditures and a expected time of completion.
  • Offer to compromise. Some suggestions are: get the repair done correctly at another shop with a reimbursement from the original shop; a full or partial refund for the faulty repair or a “store credit” at the shop for some future service or product.
  • Consider arbitration. The Better Business Bureau has a dispute resolution program in which member companies agree to participate when a consumer initiates a complaint. AAA also has a similar method of resolving member complaints against shops participating in their Approved Auto Repair program. You could also inquire at the trade associations to which the shop belongs for any arbitration procedure they might have.
  • Know that if all these efforts fail you may have no alternative but to file suit. Depending on the amount of the loss, initiating action in small claims court may be appropriate. Otherwise consultation with an attorney would be prudent.

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How to Properly Repair Paint Chips

The repair of a scratch and a chip are the same. A scratch is merely a chip on uni-directional steroids. The only problem with a scratch is that it takes more time to be able to blend in the new paint.

Items you need:

  1. Touchup or color matched paint
  2. Compatible primer – I like Wurth Rustop primer
  3. Organic cleaner – P21S Total Auto Wash or Wurth Citrus Degreaser
  4. Solvent – Rubbing Alcohol or Prepsol or Enamel Reducer
  5. 3M Imperial Hand Glaze
  6. Meguiar Finesse Sanding Block 2000 grit
  7. Car wash
  8. 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper
  9. Round undyed wooden toothpicks
  10. Large lightweight cardboard boxes (large shoe box or bigger)
  11. Several 100% cotton towels
  12. Magnifying glass – help for we with older eyes
  13. New Pencils with unused erasers
  14. Rubber glue
  15. Several heavy clean plastic cups
  16. Roll of quality paint masking tape

Realize that paint chip repair is a learned skill and should be practiced on an area of the car that is not that visible. The hood and nose are two areas that should be tackled last. Test all cleaners or solvents on the paint prior to usage. I like to use the seam underneath the rocker panels. Apply a little cleaner or solvent to a cloth and rub the seam. If you do not get any color on the rag, then the cleaner/solvent should be safe for the paint. If you do get color on the rag, then you may wish to consider another solvent.


1. At least 24 hours before you want to start, use the rubber glue to attach small 600 grit sandpaper circles (the diameter of the eraser) onto several new pencils. The eraser must be unused and flat on top.

2. Step #1: Wash the car with a quality car wash and dry thoroughly.

3. Paint chips come in two flavors. The worst case has exposed the bare metal, while the less severe has left the original primer intact. Clean the area thoroughly with the P21S or Wurth Citrus degreaser. If there is rust on the exposed metal, clean off with the pencil eraser. Use a toothpick to gently probe the area and make sure that the edges of the chip are secure and not waiting to fall off and destroy your work. This is an optional step! If you do not feel comfortable with sanding or your paint is one of the new clear-coated finishes, you should jump to step number 5. Take a new pencil/sandpaper tool, dip into clean water and put a few drops of water on the chip area. *SLIGHTLY* rough up the chip and a small portion of the surrounding paint. Lightly turning the pencil will rough up an area the diameter of the eraser and this should be more than enough. Keep the roughed up area as small as possible, the object is to give the new paint approximately 1 mm of old paint to “grab” around the perimeter of the chip and not dig scratches.

4. Move onto the next chip and repeat the above. Depending upon the amount of time available, you may wish to tackle 10-20 chips at one time. Try to stay within the area that may be covered by your box(es).

5. When finished sanding all your chips you are tackling at this time apply a small amount of Alcohol or Prepsol or Enamel Reducer to a rag and wipe each chip and surrounding area to remove any sanding dust and grease/oils. Use additional solvent and new area of the rag for each chip. Allow to dry (these are highly volatile and will evaporate quickly with no residue).

6. If the original primer is intact, and “pencil sanding” does not disturb the primer, then skip the next step and go directly to painting (# 9)

7. Make sure that the chip and surrounding area is clean. If not, reclean with the Prepsol, Alcohol or Enamel Reducer. Pour or spray a small amount of primer into a clean plastic cup. Dip the point of a wooden toothpick into the primer to get a thin coating on the first 1-2 mm of the toothpick. If there is a blob on the end, gently scrape it back into the cup. Place the tip of the toothpick against the center of the chip and allow capillary action to literally flow a *THIN* coat of the primer into the depression of the chip. Move onto the next prepared chip. If you have finished priming all your prepared chips before two hours are up, cover with a box, taped down with masking tape and go have a beer. The key is to allow the first coat of primer to dry at least two hours. Dispose of your cup and start with a fresh cup and toothpick. Apply another thin coat of primer to each repair that needs primer. Priming is completed when no metal is visible and the level of the primer is *BELOW* the level of the surrounding paint. This is important! Cover and allow to dry for two hours or until dry.

8. Apply a small amount of Alcohol or Prepsol or Enamel Reducer to a rag and wipe the chip and surrounding area to remove any sanding dust and grease/oils. Allow to dry. Repeat for all the chips that are on today’s list of victims.

9. If you are using a touchup, shake the bottle thoroughly. If you are using color-matched paint, mix thoroughly and pour a small amount into a clean plastic cup.

10. Dip the point of a new toothpick into the paint to get a thin coating on the first 1-2 mm of the toothpick. If there is a blob on the end, gently scrape it back into the bottle. Place the tip of the toothpick against the center of the chip and allow capillary action to literally flow the paint into the depression of the chip. Repeat for each chip. The key is not to use too much paint. Do not redip the toothpick. Use only the amount that will flow from one dip. Temptation to add more paint with each application will be almost overwhelming. Fight it!

11. Cover with your paint box and allow to dry 2 hours and repeat 8-12 times till the depression is filled with paint and bulges slightly upward and covers the roughed up area with a thin coating of paint. The first 2-3 coats may not completely hide the primer. This is fine because you have many more coats to go. Fight that urge!

12. The paint application is completed when the new paint bulges slightly upward (a fraction of a millimeter) and had covered the roughed up area with a thin coat of new paint. Allow the paint to dry for at least a week.

13. The touchup paint has been applied to the surface and allowed to dry for at least 1 week, and resembles a minute mound ( __o__ ) (this is exaggerated) on the flat plane of the existing paint. The object is to remove the mound and make the surface of the paint one continuous flat plane. The Finesse Block offers the ability to gently remove only the high spot of the repair. Unlike sandpaper or polish on a rag, the five usable sides of the block are flat and act like a “wood plane” to remove only the elevated areas of the repair. The 2000 grit will not leave scratches.

14. Soak the Finesse Block in clean water for 24 hours prior to use. Put a small drop of car wash on the chip repair. This acts as a lubricant for the sanding block. Then gently “plane” the high spot on the paint. I prefer to “plane” in one direction (usually back to front – drawing the block towards me). If the block dries out, re-wet and continue use. When the new and existing paints are blended (smoothed to the flat plane) to your satisfaction, clean the area using a quality car wash and lots of water and then use a quality glaze to restore the high gloss finish. I prefer 3M Imperial Hand Glaze. Don’t use a machine on your car, as it deserves to be caressed by hand. Use a machine on your Yugo or SO.

15. When applying either a glaze or a wax, apply to your soft cotton cloth or applicator pad (don’t squirt the stuff on the car) and work in one direction only. Don’t go around in circles like dear old dad. Circles are many times the cause of “swirl marks.” A front-to-back, back-to-front motion (the way the air flows over the car) will help minimize swirl marks or at least make them less visible. Buff out with a soft cotton cloth. If it looks good, wax with a quality hard wax and you are done.

16. Tip for applying wax. If you are using a quality Carnauba based wax, try applying it with your fingers instead of a pad or cloth. Hold your fingers together and use your fingertips as an applicator pad. The tactile feedback from your fingers will tell you when the wax has been worked into the paint. If grit should lodge under your fingers, you will know immediately and not grind it into the paint. A pad will not allow this tactile feedback and these devil grits become sandpaper. A circular motion of the pad will make a 360-degree swirl mark. All marks on paint are most visible at a 90 degree viewing angle. Thus the front to back marks are most visible from the sides, whereas a circle stands out from any viewing angle.

The question was also asked if clear touchup should be used as a final coat to repair chips on clear coat paint. There are two viewpoints to this question. The purist will say yes, the paint has a clear coat and thus, the repair should also. The process is the same as previously described, except the clear coat is substituted for the last 2-3 coats or paint. The practical world says no. The touchup paint is different from the original paint and is formulated only as a touchup paint. Once it is applied it should, according to the manufacturer, match well enough to be all but invisible. I have found this to be the case with the numerous repairs on the many cars/colors, I have completed. If you are using the original paint as a touchup (I have not done this with a clear coated car), then my understanding is that you should use the clear as a topcoat. The color coat of some paints will many times be relatively dull in appearance. These paints rely on the clear coat to provide the “shine.” Try one chip in an area that is not that visible. If the process works, then continue with the rest. If not try the clear coat top layer.




Tips on how to maintain your new car

One of the reassuring qualities of contemporary cars is that they need much less-frequent service to keep them running well. Changing the spark plugs, breaker points, and condenser used to be a seasonal exercise, and body rust was accepted as a normal if unfortunate hazard of aging. Now many spark plugs can go 100,000 miles between changes. Electronic ignition has done away with the points and condenser. Chassis, suspensions, and even some transmissions are lubed for life. And factory rust-through warranties typically run six years or longer. What’s more, reliability has improved significantly. The result is that most late-model cars and trucks should be able to go 200,000 miles with regular upkeep.

Here are a few simple, periodic checks and procedures you can do that will help you get there.

Three key tasks

Check the engine oil

Do it regularly—monthly for a vehicle in good condition; more often if you notice an oil leak or find you need to add oil routinely. The car should be parked on level ground so you can get an accurate dipstick reading. Don’t overfill. And if you do have a leak, find and fix it soon.

Check tire air pressure

Once a month and before any extended road trips, use an accurate tire-pressure gauge to check the inflation pressure in each tire, including the spare. Do this when the tires are cold (before the vehicle has been driven or after no more than a couple of miles of driving). Use the inflation pressure recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer, not the maximum pressure embossed on the tire’s sidewall. The recommended pressure is usually found on a placard on a front doorjamb, in the glove compartment, or in the owner’s manual. Also be sure to inspect tires for abnormal or uneven wear, cuts, and any sidewall bulges you can see.

CR advises that digital tire-pressure gauges (which cost about $15 to $25) are probably the best bet overall because they will give an accurate reading or none at all. Many pencil-type gauges (typically $10 to $15) are good as well. Note that to check the pressure in a temporary spare tire, which is often 60 psi, you will need a gauge that goes higher than that—say from 0 up to 90 pounds. (See our tire buying advice and Ratings.)

Give it a wash

Try to wash the car every week, if you can. Wash the body and, if necessary, hose out the fender wells and undercarriage to remove dirt and road salt. It’s time to wax the finish when water beads become larger than a quarter. (Read “How to detail your car” and check our car wax Ratings.)

Other checks at each oil change

For normal driving, many automakers recommend changing the engine oil and filter every 7,500 miles or six months, whichever comes first. This is sufficient for the majority of motorists. For “severe” driving—with frequent, very cold starts and short trips, dusty conditions, or trailer towing–the change interval should be shortened to every 3,000 miles or three months. (Check your owner’s manual for the specific intervals recommended for your vehicle.) Special engines such as diesels and turbocharged engines may need more-frequent oil changes.

Check the air filter

Remove the air-filter element and hold it up to a strong light. If you don’t see light, replace it. Regardless, follow the recommended service intervals.

Check the constant-velocity-joint boots

On front-wheel-drive and some four-wheel-drive vehicles, examine these bellowslike rubber boots, also known as CV boots, on the drive axles. Immediately replace any that are cut, cracked, or leaking. If dirt contaminates the CV joint it can quickly lead to an expensive fix.

Inspect the exhaust system

If you’re willing to make under-car inspections, check for rusted-through exhaust parts that need replacing. Also tighten loose clamps. Do this while the car is up on ramps. If a shop changes your oil, have them make these checks. Listen for changes in the exhaust sound while driving. It’s usually advisable to replace the entire exhaust system all at once rather than to repair sections at different times.

Look at the brakes

For most people it makes sense to have a shop check and service the brakes. If you handle your own brake work, remove all wheels and examine the brake system. Replace excessively worn pads or linings, and have badly scored rotors or drums machined or replaced. The brakes should be checked at least twice per year; more often if you drive a lot of miles.

Check the fluids

On many newer cars, the automatic transmission is sealed. On cars where it is not sealed, check the transmission dipstick with the engine warmed up and running (see the owner’s manual for details). Also check the power-steering-pump dipstick (it’s usually attached to the fluid-reservoir cap) and the level in the brake-fluid reservoir. If the brake-fluid level is low, top it up and have the system checked for leaks.

Clean the radiator

Prevent overheating by removing debris with a soft brush and washing the outside of the radiator with a detergent solution.

Check the battery

Check the battery’s terminals and cables to make sure they are securely attached, with no corrosion. If the battery has removable caps, check its fluid level every few months—especially in warmer climates. (See ourcar battery ratings and buying advice.)

Regular maintenance every two to four years

Drain and flush the cooling system

Considering the hassle of collecting and safely disposing of old antifreeze, you may want to leave this to a shop.

Change the automatic-transmission fluid

Many models require that you replace the fluid and filter every 36,000 miles—sooner if the normally pink fluid takes on a brownish tint. With some cars the fluid and, if applicable, the filter can go 100,000 miles or more. With other late models, the transmission fluid never needs to be changed. Check your owner’s manual for this information.

Replace the drive belts and hoses

Do this every two to three years, even if they don’t show any wear. If a belt becomes noisy, have it adjusted.

Change the timing belt

If your vehicle has a belt instead of a chain, stick to the manufacturer’s recommended replacement interval—usually every 60,000 to 80,000 miles. Check the owner’s manual or consult a dealer. Failure to change the timing belt can result in a very expensive engine repair if the belt should break.