Life saving tips when replacing the windshield on your car
When faced with replacing a windshield, many car owners default to the lowest-price option. But if you take this route and are in a serious accident, your decision could cost you your life.
An incorrectly installed windshield could pop out in an accident, allowing the roof to cave in and crush the car’s occupants. Furthermore, when the front airbags deploy, they exert a tremendous force on the windshield and will blow out one that is not firmly glued in place.
“There are a lot of schlock operators” installing windshields, says Debra Levy, president of the Auto Glass Safety Council, which offers certification for installers. She says using original manufacturer’s glass is a plus, but choosing a good installer is even more important. To find a certified shop, visit www.SharkysAutoGlass.net there you will find certified tech that can help you with your windshield replacement. Certification is valuable because it keeps installers up to date on advances in adhesives and changing automotive designs.
David Beck, one of two technicians at Windshield Express, near Salt Lake City, installs eight windshields a day and has been working in the auto glass business for 18 years. Beck agrees that certification is important and warns that there are many “tailgaters” — installers with no brick-and-mortar shop — who quickly “slam” windshields into cars with little regard for safety. They don’t handle the windshield correctly, don’t use the proper adhesives and leave the car unsafe for driving and prone to rusting and leaks.
“The thing I wish that drivers knew was that the windshield is the No. 1 safety restraint in your vehicle,” Beck says. The windshield is two sheets of glass held together by an inner layer of strong vinyl. When the windshield breaks, the vinyl holds the glass in place rather than allowing the shards to fall into the car and cut the occupants.
The windshield is a layer of protection that “keeps you inside the car and things out of the car,” Beck says. “This is not the place to cut corners on and go with the cheapest price.”
Steve Mazor, the Auto Club of Southern California’s chief automotive engineer, adds that if the windshield isn’t strong enough and an occupant is thrown from a speeding car, “the odds of survival are much less.” Thirty percent of all fatalities, he says, are due to people being ejected from the car.
An investigation by the ABC News program 20/20 on windshield safety shows technicians incorrectly installing windshields by not wearing gloves. The grease from their hands prevents the adhesives from bonding correctly, Beck explains. Another error that 20/20 caught was technicians failing to use all the necessary bonding agents, such as primer.
When you are looking for a good windshield installer, Levy recommends calling three shops and asking a few qualifying questions beyond just price and certification.
Levy says to ask the shops if they use original equipment glass, which is usually of higher quality and fits better. Also, she suggested asking how long the car should sit after the installation is complete. “If they say you can take the car right away, you should run in the opposite direction,” Levy says. A car should sit at least one hour before being driven and sometimes up to 12 hours, she says.
Beck says if you take your car to a dealership for a windshield replacement, it will just subcontract the job to a glass shop and then mark up the price about 30 percent. He recommends going directly to the glass shop to save money. However, when a car is new, the dealership might be the only place to stock the glass, as was the case for a 2011 Infiniti M56 Edmunds long-term test car where the windshield replacement cost $1,300.
Most windshield installation jobs take only about an hour and can be done at your home or office, Beck says. Once the installer is finished, check for signs that the job was completed correctly. Make sure the molding is straight and that there is no sign of adhesives visible inside the car, Beck says. The car should be clean inside. Debris or dirt left in your car could be the sign of sloppy workmanship, he says.
In some cases, a rock chip or star in the windshield can be repaired, saving you the cost of a new windshield. Mazor says some installers claim that cracks can be repaired even if they’re up to 15 inches long, but only if they intersect just one edge of the windshield.
Beck says rock chips, which he also fixes, are easier to repair when the damage has just occurred. Over time, rain washes dirt into the crack, making it harder to seal. He suggests carrying a roll of clear tape in the glove compartment to quickly cover a crack until it can be fixed.
Beck injects polymer into rock chips and cracks. After the polymer cures, he smoothes the area so it doesn’t affect the travel of the windshield wipers. Beck says that if he gets to the repair within a week of the damage, he can generally make it disappear. Windshield Express’ owner, Bryan Petersen says his rate for rock chip repairs is $29.95 for mobile jobs and $19.95 in the shop.
In the Los Angeles area, the rates for windshield repairs are higher — in the range of $65. Windshield repair kits are available at automotive stores for the do-it-yourselfer, but they don’t do the job as well as the professionals can do it. The pros have better equipment and much more experience.
The Auto Glass Safety Council’s Levy says studies show that windshield rock chips or cracks that are in your field of vision can actually slow your response to emergency traffic situations. She also says that old windshields that are pitted or hazed should be replaced — even if they are not broken — since they can magnify the glare of the headlights from oncoming cars at night.
Mazor says that a new windshield might be cheaper than you would think. In many cases, windshield repair is covered by car insurance (under your comprehensive coverage — not collision). The deductible for comprehensive coverage is sometimes only $50 or $100, so that would be the cost of a new windshield.
How To Tell You Need New Brakes
Your car brakes are one of the parts of your car that you should think about more often than anything else. It is essential to have your brakes in great working condition. The way car breaks wear out is quite gradual and you may not notice there is a problem until you have to stop at an emergency while going at high speeds. The greater the breaking distance you need, the more dangerous it is to drive your vehicle in that condition. Some of the factors to be on the lookout for with brakes include:
You can see the wearing out on the vehicle brakes through the spaces between the spokes of the wheel. You should see at least a quarter of an inch of the outside brake pads that are pressed against the metal rotor. In case the pad is worn down to less than a quarter of an inch, you should get them checked out.
The high pitched screeching sound you hear when applying your brakes is an indicator; a small metal shim that gives you an audible warning that your brakes are worn down to a certain level that requires replacement. This sound is usually so loud that you can hear it when your car windows are rolled up. In case you hear it more than a couple of times, it is about time to see the mechanic.
It is important to know that sometimes, when your car has been exposed to water, thin layers of rust may develop on the brake rotors. This can cause a squeal when the brake pads press on the rust covered rotors for the first couple of times you use the brakes until the rust wears off and the sound will disappear.
Wearing out of brakes causes fading or reduced responsiveness. This is when you press on the pedal and it sinks towards the floor without much effort. Besides wearing down of the brake pads, this could also be an indicator of a leak in the breaking system: an air leak in the break horse or a brake fluid leak. If you find a small puddle of liquid where you last parked your car, it could be a brake fluid leak.
Pulling refers to when your vehicle starts to pull on one side when breaking. This happens when the brake linings begin to wear unevenly and the wheels of the car are not stopping uniformly. It can also happen when there is foreign matter in the brake fluid.
Grinding, growling or vibrations
A loud metallic sound from your tires can occur when the disc and the caliper starts rubbing together scratching your rotors and creating an uneven surface. This simply means the brake pads are worn down beyond replacement. You mechanic may suggest turning the rotors to even out the surface or replacing them. In case the brake pedal is vibrating or pulsating, then you may have warped rotors of your car. Warped rotors cause severe breaking for a long time because the brake pads are not able to grab the surface evenly. If you are needing brakes on your car please visit brake repair cary nc, they have a great selection of some of the best brake pads for your car.
Tips On How To Change The Filter On Your Car
It’s common knowledge to car owners that the air filter will need to be replaced or cleaned when it gets dirty. The replacement is usually done at certain intervals, say after every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. When dirt and other contaminants build up on the filter, it can affect the engine’s performance, fuel economy and emissions. Changing the filter as is recommended by the manufacturer will help to ensure your vehicle performs better and efficiently over the years.
Here is a simple guide to help you change the dirty air filter in your car.
Replacing the air filter with a new one
To locate the air filter housing, you can refer to the car’s manual. You may also ask your mechanic the next time you take your car for repairs at the auto shop. The internet can be a great resource to help you identify the location of the car’s air filter. Air filters are usually very easy to access regardless of the model and make of the car.
Air filters are usually found inside a little housing. To identify the housing, look for a tube that is connected to the engine where the air goes in. You are likely to see retainer clips or screws on the housing and you can open the housing using a nut. Some come with clamps that can be removed with little effort. Simply pull it out and replace it with a new filter.
Cleaning a dirty air filter
There are various methods to clean a dirty air filter. You can use a vacuum cleaner or simply wash it using a cleaning liquid. Vacuuming is a lot easier and faster than using soap and water. The only major drawback to cleaning the air filter with soap and water is that some parts may not be dry and you risk damaging the engine if you return a wet filter back in your car.
Place water and a cleaning solution in a bucket then dip the filter in. you don’t need to use a cleaning cloth simply wash it with your hands and then remove it. Just make sure that all areas have been cleaned and then leave it to dry. Always make sure that the air filter is completely dry before putting it back in. If you prefer to use a vacuum cleaner, run it on each side of the filter to get rid of the dirt and dust.
Make sure you clean the housing of the air filter as well. You can use a soft cloth together with soap and water to clean the filter’s housing. Just make sure you don’t leave behind pieces of the cloth you were using to clean the filter. Also, make sure the housing is completely dry before you put it back.
There are different types of air filters including foam filters, high performance filters and paper filters. When replacing the air filter, choose one that is most ideal for your car. Foam filters are ideal for car owners living in dusty areas. High performance filters are used in road rally cars and other vehicles that are used in dusty environments.
Problems with Automatic Transmissions
Automatic transmissions are the most commonly installed drive train option on modern vehicles.
Unfortunately, this convenient automatic shifting is sometimes accompanied with problems that can be expensive to repair.
In this section of the you fix cars website we will discuss them in general on this page, but at the bottom you’ll find detailed articles that talk about the theory of operation.
Maybe more important then how they work you’ll find posts about common transmission problems with specific models. Let me give you an example. My 2004 Chevrolet S10 Blazer truck came with the mighty 4L60E four speed transmission.
Unfortunately for my model year many of these automatic transmissions were fitted with a substandard sun shell supplied from China.
When the sun shell cracks you lose reverse. The reason I tell this story is that the 4L60E transmission is reliable on many model years.
On my particular year this is not the case. If you’re experiencing a problem with a specific unit you may want to do some checking to see if it is a repair trend or common problem.
Automatic Transmission Operation
This type of transmission does not need a clutch pedal and shifts through the forward gears without control from the driver all by itself when the drive range is selected.
Instead of a clutch and pressure plate to connect the engine to the rear wheels the automatic transmission uses a torque converter.
This is a fluid coupling to transfer the power from the engine’s flywheel to the transmission input shaft and then back to the wheels. The torque converter stall speed allows for proper engine idle without moving the vehicle and smooth transfer of power at all engine speeds.
On vehicles of the last 20 years the shifting is controlled by both electrical and hydraulic principles working together.
The hydraulic part of the equation is an intricate network of passageways, fluid controlled pistons and servos plus other components that use the magic of hydraulic oil pressure to control the internal operation.
The electrical part of the equation is usually the solenoids and electrically controlled valves that open and close to allow hydraulic fluid pressure to flow in the desired direction and accomplish a specific task.
On modern vehicles the main computer is what controls the operation of the electrical circuits. The computer uses its varied inputs from sensors such as vehicle speed and throttle position to determine what actions are necessary for the transmission to apply.
As an example, a solenoid valve can open to let hydraulic fluid flow to apply a certain gear set to perform a specific action. These gear sets provide many foreword speeds as well as reverse.
This system is extremely complicated and my auto shop instructor once told me that the inventor of this modern marvel wound up in a mental institution.
Even if you’re not going to repair it on your own it can be helpful to understand how it operates and the inherent problems that may occur on the exact model car or truck you drive to work everyday.
Which cars cost least to repair?
The report, released Monday, shows which companies’ cars have both the fewest and the least expensive repairs. Hyundai, whose U.S. sales have surged this year, finished second in the rankings, published by auto diagnostic and repair website CarMD, which collects repair data from its network of 3,000 U.S. mechanics. Rounding out the top 5 were Honda, Ford and General Motors — followed by Mitsubishi, Nissan, Kia, Volkswagen and Chrysler.
The report covers a wide range of model years, from 2001 to 2011, but focuses on repairs made only in the most recent year ending Oct. 1. While ranking individual car models, the CarMD Vehicle Health Index also grades manufacturers on a combination of all their brands. For example, the Toyota ranking includes Lexus and Scion cars, while General Motors includes Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC.
Based on data from mechanics, the CarMD report differs from car-owner surveys, such as the. The CarMD index ranks individual car models as well as manufacturers, combining both frequency of repairs and repair cost for an overall rating.
The top-ranked model, the 2009 Toyota Corolla, had not only infrequent trips to the shop but an average repair cost of just $45.84. (Repairs picked up by this system cover everything with a check-engine light sensor, including engine, transmission and pollution control devices. Only items like belts and tires are not included.)
Car Repair Studies From CarMD:
- Luxury brands generally fared worse because of repair frequency, not high costs. Lexus, for instance, rated more poorly than corporate stablemate Toyota. This conflicts with high owner ratings for Lexus in surveys like that from . The Mercedes-Benz parent company and BMW ranked below the top 10 in this report, though CarMD did not give ranking details beyond the top 10.
- Hyundai has made great strides in low repair frequency. The company originally launched its 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty to reassure potential buyers. But Hyundai’s rating was boosted by strong performances from recent models of the Elantra and the 2011 Sonata, which ranked sixth among all models.
- Ford got an especially strong performance from its Edge crossover SUV, which had three different model years ranked among the top 100 vehicles. But Ford’s Windstar minivan, discontinued in 2003 but still going to repair shops, hurt its ranking.
- Among General Motors brands, Buick was a standout. If Buick had been ranked individually instead of wrapped into GM, it would have topped the list. Its Lucerne model had three different years in the top 100 cars.
As part of its Vehicle Health Index package, CarMD also cites which repair problems occur most frequently for individual car brands. If you want to check your car, go to this CarMD page and put in the make and year.
CarMD is a service aimed at letting car owners know what is wrong with their car and what it should cost to fix the problem. Its $119 CarMD device plugs into the diagnostic system on your car to discover the problem; users can then feed that data into their website to identify the problem and the likely repair cost, based on data the company collects regularly from mechanics at both dealer service departments and independent shops. Its database since 1996 includes about 500,000 repair reports.