I would like to pass on a few tips to the "Do it yourself"
crowd and I would also like to invite anyone with some tips of
their own, to pass them on to me. If you have a good tip that
you would like to share with others, E-mail them to me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you like, just click
on one of the E-mail boxes in my web site at: www.rickthewrench.com.
1. Air filters.
Surface dirt on an air filter does NOT necessarily mean that
the filter should be replaced. Hold a light up inside the filter
and if you can see good light shining through the filter element,
then it is still usable. (Holding a light inside different filter
elements can also show you the difference between a GOOD filter
and a cheap one that. The cheap filter will show all of the
tiny little holes in the filter material.)
2. Spark plugs.
Modern spark plugs DO NOT have to be changed every year or 12,000
miles. Top quality spark plugs are warranted for as much as
five years and unlimited mileage. (I only change plugs, in my
own vehicles, when testing shows them breaking down.) However,
this warranty does NOT cover spark plugs that are fouled by
fuel control or engine problems. The spark plugs can be like
a window into the engine. When you take them out, lay them out
in order and give each one a good look. Plugs that show a black
sooty coating are fuel fouled from that cylinder or cylinders
running too rich. For example, if you have a 6 cylinder engine
with Port fuel injection and one plug is black sooty looking
and the others are a light chocolate brown, you may have fuel
injector problem in that cylinder alone. Plugs that have a gloss
or shiny black coating are oil fouling, cause from oil use in
that cylinder or cylinders. Spark plugs that are very white
and have little black spots on them are caused from lean fuel
mixture or improper ignition timing advance. The plugs should
have a nice light brown colour (Canadian spelling.) when the
engine is operating properly.
3. Rear drum type brakes.
Although most brakes are supposed to be of the self adjusting
type, you will find you can DRASTICALLY increase the life of
your brakes if you MANUALLY adjust them a couple of times a
year. (I find the adjusters never seem to keep up to the wear
and if you inspect the shoes and see more wear near the end
of the shoe that contacts the wheel cylinder, then your brakes
are not self -adjusting enough.) Properly adjusted brakes not
only LAST LONGER but they also work better too. I always adjust
customers rear brakes, every time I do an oil change for them.
4. This is a tool tip.
The most important tool that I think every person that works
on their own vehicles should have, is a small Volt/Ohm meter.
This meter is very important in all sorts of testing and diagnosis
and you don't need to spend a lot of money on them. (My favorite
is a small pocket model that I bought at Radio Shack for less
than twenty dollars. It is a digital type and very handy.)
That's enough for this week,