Author Archives: Ryan Harvey
Author Archives: Ryan Harvey
Your steering system is a very important part of your car. Most people think of the engine and brake system as being important, but the steering system plays a vital role as well.
If you can’t steer your car, then how are you supposed to drive it? Well, the answer is you can’t. All the systems of a car work together to make the car useable and if any fail, then the car will not work right.
Your steering system is just one of those systems, but it is one that is overlooked a lot of times until there is a problem. One of the main and biggest problems that can happen with your steering system is the steering rack and pinion going out.
In this article, we will explain what happens when the steering rack and pinion fail and also signs to help you notice it before it occurs so you can prevent it.
Before going into what happens when the steering rack and pinion fail we will first explain what the steering rack and pinion is and what it does.
The rack and pinion steering system in most vehicles is actually multiple parts. The main part is the gearbox in the middle. The more common name for the gearbox is the steering rack.
The steering rack is the part that receives direct input from the driver. It is what the steering column goes into, and when the driver turns the wheel, it is the steering rack that sends the proper information to the other parts of the steering system.
The steering rack is the heart of the steering system, and all the other parts connect to it. The other parts are revered to as the pinions.
This includes universal joints, main and intermediate shafts, and other things such as the tie rod. These parts can also wear out over time but isn’t as major as when the steering rack goes out.
So now that you know that the steering rack is the main component of the steering system, you may really be wondering what happens if it fails, or if some of the pinions fail.
Well, if the steering rack fails completely, then major issues occur. The most important thing that happens if the steering rack completely goes out is that you will lose control of the car.
That is because turning the wheel will have no effect. If the steering rack is out completely and not making contact with other parts, then it can’t send the information needed to the other parts of the car as you try to steer.
If the steering rack is just starting to go out though and hasn’t failed completely, then it will just be hard to steer. Depending on what is wrong with the steering rack will determine how hard it is to steer the vehicle and also how much it will cost to fix.
If a pinion or other part of the steering system fails completely, then again you can lose complete control of the steering. This is because the system might be broken to the point of not working.
If however, just a pinion component is starting to fail, then the steering might be harder. There are a lot of different signs though that you can pay attention to, to notice if the steering system is starting to fail.
Paying attention for the things to follow is important because if the steering system goes out while driving, then there is a good chance you will wreck. That is why it is key to pay attention to the following things and fix a minor problem before it becomes a major one.
One of the first things you might notice when the steering rack or pinion is failing is tight steering. The steering might get to the point of being very tight. This is especially true if your car has power steering.
If your car doesn’t have power steering, then it might not tighten up as much. The reason tight steering is a sign of problems is that it means that the gearbox might be getting too hot or that there is not enough power steering fluid getting to it.
Also, tight steering can mean a loss of hydraulic pressure to the steering. If you notice tight steering, then you should have your car checked out. A lot of times the problem is minor and easy to fix if caught early.
An obvious sign of problems with the steering system is leaking power steering fluid. The power steering fluid is what helps lubricate the system and also helps with the hydraulic pressure.
If it is leaking, then the steering will not act right, and also there is an obvious problem as it should not leak. Leaking fluid could mean a part has a hole in it or that there is a break in the system preventing it from being sealed.
If you repair the leak early, then most other things should be fine, but if you drive with low power steering fluid, then it will damage more parts of the system.
Any fluid under your car is a sign for concern, that is why you should keep an eye on these types of things, and if you notice a leak from anywhere in your vehicle, then you should have it checked out and fixed.
The next issue can be caused by a variety of things in the steering system, but it is grinding sounds while steering. These sounds can occur at any speed from slow to fast and can mean different things depending on when they happen.
The key thing to remember though is that your car should not make noise when steering. If your car does make any kind of grinding, squealing, whining, or any other type of sound while steering, then it means issues are going on.
Normally it means that something is worn out, but replacing it early will prevent other things from getting damaged and prevent bigger problems.
The last sign of a steering rack or pinion failing is a burning oil smell. This is less common than most of the others, but still a sign that there is a problem.
That is because power steering fluid burning normally smells like burnt oil, so if you smell this smell and it is coming from the steering system, then it likely means that the gearbox is getting too hot.
If the gearbox gets too hot, this can lead to fire and major damage. That is why if you notice this smell and think it is the gearbox and not oil burning that you pull over and investigate the problem.
Let the gearbox cool off before driving again and get the vehicle to a mechanic to have it looked at.
So, now you know what happens when the power steering rack and pinion goes out. You know that if they go out completely that you will lose control of the vehicle and wreck.
You also know though that normally they don’t go out all at once, but instead, minor things start to happen like noises and tight steering.
If you notice any of these things, then you now know to have your vehicles steering system checked out and the problem fixed before it gets worse.
A lot of time the steering system is not too expensive to fix and caught early. However, if you let the problem go on the fixes can get expensive and be dangerous. If the power steering rack fails completely, then you are in trouble.
Whenever you change a part of the brake system, you will need to bleed the brake system afterward. This means removing all the air in the system.
The reason you have to bleed the brakes is that air is compressible and if there is air in the system, then the brake pedal will feel soft.
The reason the brake pedal will be soft and mushy is that the air will have to be pushed out of the way before the fluid can do what it is supposed to do.
This can be dangerous because it means that it will take longer to stop. Most of the time bleeding brakes isn’t too hard, but what if air gets in the ABS Module. Well, bleeding the ABS module can be a bit more of a challenge, but this article will explain how to do it.
Before going into how to bleed the ABS module, we will first briefly explain how to bleed the brakes. This is because you might think you have air in the module, but it is really in another part of the system.
It is best to make sure that the rest of the system is free of air first before trying to bleed the ABS module because bleeding the ABS module can be a challenge for someone to do on their own.
For bleeding the air out of the brake system itself, it also helps to have a partner.
The way you bleed air out of the brake system is by opening the bleeder valves at the proper time. You want to make sure you have clean fluid ready first though before bleeding the lines however you want to open all the bleeder valves and let them drain.
You also want to suck out all the old fluid from the master cylinder. Once the master cylinder is empty, you can add in new fluid. To get the rest of the old fluid in the air out though you will need a partner to make it easier.
You put the hose that you are bleeding into some fresh brake fluid. Then you have your helper depress the brake pedal with enough force to stop at a light.
After they depress the brake you loosen the bleeding valve a quarter turn. This will suck new fluid in and cause some old fluid to come out once old fluid stops coming out close the bleeder and have the person lift their foot off the brake.
You repeat this process until fresh, clean fluid comes from the system.
Depending on the vehicle you will want to start with a certain brake line either the front or the back. This is due to how the system is set up, and there is the most efficient way to bleed the system.
You will have to look up the information depending on the make, model, and year of your car. If bleeding the brake system like this though doesn’t fix the problem of mushy brakes though or you know the ABS module has air in it, then you will have to bleed it.
Bleeding the ABS module is more of a challenge than just bleeding the brake system because the ABS module has a lot of chambers and moving parts in it.
Most ABS modules do have bleeding valves, but a lot of times these aren’t enough to get all the air out. Depending on where the air is trapped though will determine how hard it is to bleed the ABS module.
The first thing to do to bleed the ABS module is to start the car or turn the key to where the battery is on. Then you need to depress the brake pedal. It is important the system is under pressure before doing this to help force the air out.
After the brake pedal is depressed to loosen the brake sensor. This will cause lights to come on the dash which is what is supposed to happen. After you loosen it to keep the brake depressed and tighten it back. This should allow the air out and cause the lights to go off.
If the air is trapped farther in the system though you will need a special tool to get the air out, different vehicles require different dealer tools that plug into the OBD2 port. Some OBD2 scanners can do the same thing.
The tool cycles the different valves while the brakes are under pressure to help allow air to come out. Then the new brake fluid can go in which in turn forces more air out.
After using a tool to cycle the valves, you will then need to bleed the brake lines again manually. That is because most of the air out of the ABS module is going to go into them.
So, this leads to the question of can you bleed the ABS module at home? Well, the answer is yes you technically can, but it is hard. That is because the special tool that is required is expensive.
You can buy one and like has been mentioned the top of the line OBD2 scanners can also normally do what is required, but it is costly.
Also, it is hard to do at home because in order to get to the bleeding valves on the ABS module you will normally need the car in the air. This is because it can be a tight squeeze to get a wrench to it.
It can even be a challenge to manually bleed the rest of the brake system at home for the same reason. Sometimes ramps are enough to allow you to get to what you need to, but space can be a challenge bleeding brakes at home without the car in the air.
So, now you know how to bleed the ABS module yourself at home, however, you also now know that it is a hard task to do at home.
That is because it can be hard to reach the bleeder valves with the car on the ground and also that it takes a special tool to cycle the valves in the ABS module to let the air out.
You also know that before bleeding the ABS module that you should bleed the rest of the brakes to just make sure the air isn’t in them and also to bleed the rest of the brakes after bleeding the ABS module since air from the module will go into them.
If you can get the equipment to bleed your brakes and the ABS module at home, then you can do it to save money, however, if you don’t work on cars a lot you might just want to let a shop bleed your ABS module since it requires a special tool.
Now you know all you need to know though so you can make the best decision you can when it comes to bleeding your brakes the next time you get air in them.
When you drive your vehicle should not make any weird sounds. These could be anything from clunking or scraping sounds to whining or grinding sounds.
This is even true when you are turning. If you are reading this article, however, your car is probably making some sort of noise when you turn the wheel.
Read on to learn all the possible reasons why your car might be making clunking sounds when you turn. Also, learn what you can do about it to prevent these sounds from happening.
Depending on the speed you go when turning the wheel and noises are being made could help determine what could be wrong. If you are going fast, slow, or normal speeds when the clunking sound is made, then it could indicate what might be wrong.
That is why it is important to pay attention to your speed when you start to notice grinding sounds while turning. That is also why sometimes you might hear a sound while turning and other times you might not.
Just because you don’t hear a sound all the time, doesn’t mean you should have things checked out. If you hear any odd noises when turning the wheel, then there is something wrong, and you should have your vehicle looked at.
If the sounds occur at slow speeds, then the problem most likely lies in the power steering system or the suspension. If the sound you hear when turning the steering wheel is a whining sound, then it is most likely the power steering pump failing.
The power steering pump helps make taking turns easier. It does this by helping lubricate the steering system.
If the sound you hear is coming from the engine bay or front of the car, then it is defiantly most likely the power steering pump. The power steering pump should be checked out and tested and replaced if needed.
If the sounds are more of a clunking sound though when you take turns at slow speeds, then the issue is most likely the suspension. The suspension is what is responsible for helping your car handle bumps.
The suspension springs get damaged overtime though from taking this pressure. They are designed to wear out though, so other more important parts of the car don’t get damaged from bumps.
If the suspension is popping when turning, then it is time to get them looked at and most likely have the springs replaced. Another name for the suspension springs are the shocks.
There are a variety of kinds, and they are all rated for the different amount of use, so get the best ones you can for your needs when getting them replaced.
If the noise occurs during high speeds, then the main culprits are CV joints, bearings, or differentials. Depending on the type of sound that is made can help you figure out which one.
The CV joint, if it is going bad, will make a clicking or crunching sound. The CV joint is where the wheels connect to the axel. A bad coupling can cause the popping sound. If the CV joint is bad, then it should be replaced.
If the sound is a humming or buzzing sound though, then you should check the wheel bearings. The wheel bearings are what the wheel floats on so it can rotate without friction.
While turning the wheel bearings are what carries the load of the weight of the vehicle, and that is why the sound is most noticeable when turning, especially at higher speeds.
If the bearing problem is not corrected, then it can lead to uneven tire wear as well as wobbling. That is why if you suspect the bearings are bad, then you should have them replaced.
Bearings are small, and it is a cheap fix and catching it early will save you money in the long run.
If you turn your steering wheel at normal speeds and a sound occurs, then it could be a whole variety of different components. It could be the power steering system.
This is especially true if the sound is a whining sound from the front engine area of the car. The power steering pump could be failing, or it could just be a loose belt or low fluid.
Check it out first if you have a whining sound. However, just because the fix might be easy, it could also be something more series. You might have a bad tie rod.
The tie rod is what connects the steering gears with the knuckles. In other words, they connect the steering rack with the steering arms. If the noise you hear is a clunking noise, then chances are one of the ends of the tie rod is bad.
This is especially true if your steering seems harder. A lot of times if a tie rod goes bathe steering will be loose and mushy. That is because the tie rod helps you maintain control. A bad tie rod will make your vehicle harder to control, so it should be replaced as soon as possible.
On top of the mentioned potential problems, there are also a couple of other problems that will cause your car to make noises, and the noises can happen at any speed if these parts are bad.
One of the other parts that could be bad is the sway bar. The sway bar is responsible for reducing the body of the car from rolling when taking a turn. In other words, it helps keep all four wheels on the ground.
If the sway bar breaks through, then it will make noises from it hitting things when turning. If the sound you hear when you turn the steering wheel is a knock or clanking sound, and you have checked other things, then you need the sway bar checked. A broken sway bar can be dangerous because you could lose control of the vehicle.
The last potential bad part is possible bad ball joints. The ball joints connect the wheel hub to the rest of the suspension.
Depending on the vehicle and how the weight is distributed might dictate how soon or often the car makes sounds from bad ball joints, but most of the time the sound will be a creaking sound.
If you have checked other components and haven’t found the reason your car is making noise when turning the wheel, then be sure to check the ball joints.
So, as you can see, there are a lot of potential reasons why your car might make noise while turning the steering wheel. Any sound while turning the wheel though means you have a problem.
It could be not enough power steering fluid or a loose belt causing the power steering pump not to work or a dry suspension bushing, or it might be something worse. Your speed when the sound occurs can help you figure out the problem as well as looking at other parts of your car.
For example, check the tires and see how they are wearing. If they are wearing unevenly and you have sounds while turning then the suspension may be bad, the wheel bearings may be worn out, or struts might be damaged.
On top of this if you notice control issues, then the problem might be in a ball joint or more likely the sway bar or tie rods. No matter what part is worn out or damaged though you should have your car checked out whenever you notice odd noises while turning the wheel.
Your car should not make noises when turning, but if it does, then now you know what you can do about it. Luckily for you after reading this you can solve the problem and fix it or why your car is making clunking sounds when turning the steering wheel.
Most cars are either front wheel or rear wheel drive, but some larger vehicles such as SUVs and Trucks are a four-wheel drive or can switch between two and four-wheel drive.
The switching between what style of driving your vehicle is is controlled by the transfer case control module. Sometimes this module stops working properly though, and this will prevent you from switching between two and four-wheel drive.
In this article, we will look at some symptoms of a bad transfer case control module and will also give you some suggestions on what to do about it.
Before going into detail on symptoms of a failing module though, we will first explain briefly on how the transfer case control module works.
By understanding how it works, you can better understand what things to look out for with your transfer case control module while driving so you can notice the symptoms of it failing sooner.
The purpose of the transfer case control module is to help your vehicle switch between to wheel drive and four-wheel drive.
The way it does this is it uses speed sensors to judge the speed of the car, and then it processes that information to see if a shift is safe and possible.
If you are going slow enough when you press the button to engage four-wheel drive, then the module will engage and allow the vehicle to switch into four-wheel drive.
The same is true if you are trying to turn four wheels drive off. It looks at your speed, and if you are going slow enough, it will shift the vehicle back to two-wheel drive.
This is a really basic explanation of what the transfer case control module does, but the key thing to know is it is responsible for changing the vehicle between two and four-wheel drive and thus has moving parts in it.
Since the transfer case control module has moving parts in it, the first symptom we will point out is grinding sounds.
When you press the button to engage or disengage the four-wheel drive if you hear grinding sounds after when the module changes the mode your vehicle is in, then that I am a problem.
Even if it works, it still means that there is something in the module that shouldn’t be. This could be a broken gear, debris from driving, or anything else.
If you have a grinding sound or clanking sound when the module is working, then you need to get it checked out right away, so it won’t break completely on you.
The next thing tied into this is difficulty shifting gears. The difficulty could be audible, or you might just feel it in your vehicle when the gears are changing.
If the module has a challenge shifting the gears, then it might mean that they are damaged and this ties into the first one with the sound.
However, another reason why it might be hard for
the transfer case control module to change gears is that it might not have enough fluid in it to lubricate it.
This could be from a leak somewhere in the system, so difficulty shifting is another sign to pay attention to and should be checked out farther if you notice it because shifting without the proper amount of lubrication will cause damage to the whole module.
The third symptom of a failing module is a vehicle that jumps in and out of four-wheel drive. This means that it might be in four-wheel and then switch to two wheels on its own or when you hit a bump.
Some might call this slipping out of gear. If the vehicle changes from four-wheel to two wheels on its own, then there is defiantly some damage to the parts inside the module, and the module needs to be checked.
This changing can be dangerous because it can lock up the wheels and cause you to wreck. This issue can also be caused if you have too much lubrication in the module from a leaking fluid line. This means that too much fluid is bad, but also not enough is bad too. Any issues liked this need checked out.
The last symptom of a transfer case control module that is having issues is one that won’t shift when it should or only shifts sometimes. This is generally caused by a speed sensor that has gone bad or isn’t working right.
If the speed sensor isn’t giving a reading or it thinks you are driving faster than you are, then it won’t allow the vehicle to shift from two-wheel to four-wheel drive or allow it to change the other way around.
If you have any of these symptoms, then you should have your transfer case control module checked out. The first thing that you or a mechanic should do when having the module checked out is run an in-dep code scan on it.
The transfer case control module has a lot of parts with sensors and motors, so doing a code scan can help you figure out what is wrong so you can fix the module faster and hopefully cheaper.
You should try to have the module fixed if you can because replacing it can get really costly. It is an important part of your vehicle though, especially if you want to switch between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, so having a working one is important.
So, now you know what the transfer case control module does and some signs of one that is going bad. You know that trouble shifting between two and four-wheel means something is wrong and if you have noises coming from the module, then you really need to have it checked out.
You also know that if it slips out of four-wheel into two-wheel, then that is a sign of issues. The best thing to do if you notice any of the things mentioned is to have your codes scanned, so you can know the best way to fix your transfer case control module. Luckily though, you now know the symptoms of a bad transfer case control module so you can have it taken care of as soon as possible.
Engine additives and fuel additives come in a variety of different forms. They all, however, are supposed to do the same thing, and that is to clean the engine out and help it burn the fuel better.
One of the most common additives out there is Seafoam. In this article we are going to look at what Seafoam is, what it does, and also learn the truth about it.
Read on to learn everything you want to know about Seafoam and have all your questions answered on if you should use the stuff or not.
Before going into if you should use Seafoam or the effects of Seafoam, we will first cover what it is and also what engine additives in general are.
Seafoam is an engine additive that is used to clean out the engine. You can mix it into the fuel in your fuel tank, or some people put it into the oil.
It is a chemical that is supposed to help break down gunk and sludge inside your engine and other parts of the car. It is also supposed to help the fuel burn better cleaner to prevent more buildup from occurring.
When you add Seafoam into the engine or oil, it will cause a lot of white smoke to come out of the engine and out of your vehicle. Some people say that this is the carbon burning off of this, but others will say that this is just the Seafoam burning.
So, now that you know what it is and what it does the big question is when you should use it. Depending on who you ask the answer will vary, some never say, while others say all the time. Some will give the in-between answer of if you start to have knocked.
The people that say never use it say this because there is no proof that it works and a lot of them probably have experiences of the Seafoam causing more harm than good.
The ones that say to use it all the time have probably had their vehicle start to run better after using it, and they are giving the Seafoam credit when there is no proof.
The last group that says when there is knocking are saying this because they know there is an issue and the Seafoam might fix it and if it does, then great, but if it doesn’t then you aren’t out much.
So, that brings up the question of which group is right and the answer to this is it is hard to say.
There is no proof that Seafoam really helps reduce carbon in the engine and other lines, but some people swear by the stuff, and they do so because they have had good luck with.
Others have had bad luck though and blame the Seafoam for clogging things like the catalytic converter or blame it for gumming up the O2 sensor.
They say it causes the carbon to break off parts that it is attached too and instead of it burning off it just clogs things and attaches to something else.
Again though, there is no proof indeed that it is from using the Seafoam that you had these issues and they might have been going to happen anyways.
So, you may be wondering should you use Seafoam, and the answer is it depends on if the risk is worth the potential reward to you.
There are a lot of different fuel additives that are supposed to help burn off carbon and remove impurities from the gas, and it really is up to you if Seafoam is the one you want to use or not.
If your vehicle is already running poorly, then using Seafoam and getting lucky and having your vehicle run right again might be worth the risk of using it.
However, if your vehicle runs great already, then using it and risking it having something go wrong might make you decide not to use it.
A lot of people feel that fuel additives are just snake oil and don’t really work. A lot of car people think that if you use the good gas in your car and do regularly maintained like changing oil and the filters, then you don’t need fuel additives.
Others think that additives help make your car run better and more consistently. There really is no right side, and you just have to form an opinion on your own based on your risk tolerance.
More: If you want your car’s battery to be fully charged, highly recommend you use best battery maintainer to recharge your car battery.
So, the truth about Seafoam is that it is a fuel additive. That is the only thing that is completely true. The rest is based on opinion or untestable marketing.
Seafoam is supposed to remove carbon deposits, but there is no way to know if it really works or not. Some say the stuff is great while others say it will gunk up your vehicle.
Some people think you don’t need any fuel additives while others think they help the vehicle run better and longer. The truth is, you have to test them yourself and see if you notice any results or not.
The truth about Seafoam is you have to make your own opinion on it and find the truth yourself.
Your car’s door locks are a key part of your car. While the door locks don’t affect how your car runs, it is still nice to have ones that work. That is because your door locks keep the things inside your car safe and also keeps your car as a whole safe.
Sometimes though they stop working for various reasons. If they all stop working at once, then it is pretty easy to find the problem. It is generally a blown a fuse or just a dead battery in your key fob, but what I only one isn’t working.
Well, in this article we will look at what it means when only the driver side power door lock won work, but the tips in here apply to your car no matter which door isn’t the one locking.
To understand why only one door may not be locking properly, it is important to understand how your door locks work. Both the kind that have the switch tip thing that opens and closes or the type that have the push thing that goes up and down, they both work the same way.
When you press the button on your key fob to lock the door or press the button inside the car to lock the door, it sends a signal to the car to engage or disengage the locks.
More specifically it sends a signal to the door lock actuator which takes this signal and turns on a motor to activate the lock. When just one door lock isn’t working it normally means that you have something wrong with this system.
So, now that you know you have something wrong with this system it is time to start checking it. The first and easiest thing to check is to make sure that nothing is obstructing the door lock from engaging.
If dirt or grim gets in there, then it might prevent the locking part from moving and locking. A good way to know if that is the problem is to listen when you press the locks and see if you can hear the broken door trying to engage.
The best way to clear out the lock mechanism without taking it apart is to spray some lubricant into the lock. Something like WD40 will help lubricate it and break up any obstructions. This might be a simple and easy fix to your problem.
After lubricating the lock if it still doesn’t work, then you will have to dig deeper into the door to try to fix it. This will mean taking the door panel off to get inside of it so you can get to the actuator and motor.
Once you have the door panel off, you can see if there is any visible damage to the parts in the gearbox. Sometimes a gear from the motor can break, and this could be the cause of the problem.
If you see loose pieces in the door lock area or the gear is missing teeth, then you will just need to replace it. If there is no visible damage, then you will have to go into real deep testing.
The first thing that you should test is the actuator. The best way to do this is to remove the wires connected to it and then take a battery. Twelve volts is best, but a 9-volt battery is normally easier to get.
With a 9-volt battery wire, a couple probes to it and then touch the probes to the input connection on the actuator. If the actuator is good, then it should try to engage the lock and make some sound.
If the battery need to recharge, highly recommend you use best battery tender to recharge your car battery.
If the actuator is dead, then it won’t do anything, and you have found the problem. If the actuator is bad, all you will have to do is buy a new one.
A lot of times you will have to order a new one, so you might have to go a few days without your lock working and your door apart. If the actuator is good though, then you can move on to testing the other possible issue.
The other possible issue is a dead motor. At this point that is the only thing left to check. You can check it in the same way as the actuator. Connect some wires to a 9-volt battery and then connect the probes to the motor.
A working motor should make sound and try to spin. If it doesn’t, then it is dead and needs to be replaced. Again, just buy or order a replacement part and install it. I
f the motor isn’t bad and none of the other things are bad, then you have or had a problem with how the lock was put together. Reassemble the lock, and it might work again. The problem might have been a bad connection that you just didn’t notice.
You may be wondering why only one motor or actuator failed though if you lock all your doors the same amount of times. Well, since these parts are moving, they happen to fail at different rates.
This is especially true for the plastic pieces like the gears because even though they are the same, they all had different variables in their production. That is why one lock may break and none of the others even with equal use.
So, now you know why only your driver side door isn’t working. You know that locks are made up of gearboxes, motors, and actuators and any one of these parts can break at any time within a single door.
Now you know what to look for though if you only have one lock that isn’t working. You know to start with lubricating the lock and see if that fixes it before taking it apart.
If you have to take it apart though you now know to look for broken gears in the gearbox and how to test the motor and actuator to see which one might be bad. You then know how to replace it, so the next time your driver side lock isn’t working, or one of your other locks isn’t working you will be able to troubleshoot it and fix it yourself.
A key component in your car is the battery. If the battery is not charged enough, then the car won’t start. How can you know if your battery is good or not? Well, you can test it, but you can also rely on your battery indicator light working properly.
What does it mean though when your battery light on your dash goes on and off though? Does it mean that the battery is going bad?
Well, read on to find out exactly what it means when the battery light goes on and off while driving and also what you should do about it.
The battery light serves two main purposes in your car. One is to let you know when there is an issue with the battery, but the other is to let you know if there is something wrong with the alternator.
When the battery light goes on and off while driving, it means you are having some sort of issues with one of these two things.
Normally it is a good idea to check these things out as soon as possible because if either stop working properly, then you will be left stranded.
The battery light on your dashboard is important to look out for a while driving. Sometimes it can be hard to notice it come on as well because it might only blink on for a second or two before going back off. Other times it may stay on longer.
Depending on when the battery warning light comes on might help you figure out what is wrong. If the light comes on when just driving normal on a smooth road, then it is most likely more of an issue with the alternator not putting out enough charge or not working properly.
On the other hand, if the light comes on when you hit a bump in the road or are going around a curve, then the problem is more likely to be a connection issue with a wire.
This is because a bump or curve can cause a wire that is barely connected to shift and lose connection. The reason your car doesn’t just die when the connection is lost is that your car can run off the battery charge for a while.
Also, if the alternator is working right, then it can put off enough charge to run the car even if the battery is not connected.
So, now we can get in-depth more on the possible issues that are happening when your battery light goes on and off while driving.
The first and worse one is that the alternator is not working properly. An alternator normal doesn’t just die and stop working.
Instead, it malfunctions and stops working slowly. This means that it will work, stop, and work again and sometimes it will do this quickly, while other times it will be longer between the cycle.
This is why your battery light might come on for a bit when the alternator isn’t working and then go off when it starts working again.
The alternator is a key part of your car because it helps take mechanical energy from your car and converts it to electrical energy to recharge the battery, so the battery can start your car again the next time it is needed too.
If you don’t have a working alternator, your car will eventually stop working. If it goes all the way out, then your vehicle will die pretty quickly, and you will be stranded.
This is why it is important to check your alternator if your battery light starts to blink on and off. The first thing to check with the alternator is to make sure all the wires are connected properly.
If there are any loose wires, then tighten them. After making sure all the wires are connected, you can test the alternator.
Testing the alternator is easy to do. All you need is a voltmeter. Hook the voltmeter up to the battery and see what the reading is. It should be at least 12 volts.
Then start the car and see what the reading is. The reading should jump up to around 14 volts if the alternator is working right.
If the reading does not move up or if the number starts to drop, then the alternator is not working properly and will need to be repaired or replaced.
You can most likely need to take your car to a shop and have this done unless you are a mechanic and good with cars. If the alternator is fine, but you are still having the battery light come on, then it is time to check the battery itself.
The first thing you should do when checking the battery is to make sure all the wires are connected tightly. If the wires come loose for moments while driving, then that can be why the battery light is coming on and then going off.
One key thing to do when checking the wires tightness is to also make sure that they are clean. If the connection is dirty, then this can affect it as well. Clean off the battery terminals when checking the wires to make sure there is no corrosion on them.
After checking the wires, you can check the battery. If you haven’t already connected a voltmeter to the battery when checking the alternator, then you can do that now.
The reading should be at least 12 volts. If it is less than that, then the battery is not holding a charge and will need to be replaced. If it is, then you can go to any local auto tool shop, and most will test your battery for free.
More: You can use the best battery maintainer to charge your car battery in ways that avoid the potential damaging effects that can be caused by other charger.
They will hook a device up to it, and the device will make sure that the battery is working and charging right. The device can also normally check the alternator as well, so it isn’t a bad idea to have them look at your vehicle even if you have checked the alternator with the voltmeter yourself. This way you will know for sure all your issues are taken care of.
After checking the alternator and the battery, you should have the problem found of why your battery indicator light keeps coming on and off while driving.
Normally it is a failing alternator, but if it mainly happens when hitting bumps, then it could be as simple as loose wires. Luckily for you, you now know the possible reasons why your battery indicator light keeps going on and off while driving and you also know what to do about it, so if it happens to you, you can get the problem fixed before getting stranded somewhere from a bad battery or alternator.
So, you may have an odd smell in your car or garage and not be able to figure out where it is coming from. Well, depending on what that smell, smells like, then it might be coming from your car, mower, or something else battery.
In this article, we will talk about what battery acid smells like and also touch on what it means when you are able to smell the battery acid coming from a battery.
Read on to find out exactly what battery acid smells like and if different types of batteries have different smells.
So, before getting into detail on what battery acid smells like, we will first cover why you might smell battery acid in your garage or car. There are a few reasons why you might smell battery acid.
The first is that you might have had a battery get damaged and crack or bust. This can happen for a variety of reasons. If you drop a battery from high enough, then it might break the case and cause battery acid to come out.
Another reason why a battery might start leaking though is because it has burst. A battery can burst from overcharging or getting too hot. It is most common to happen if you leave a battery connected to a continuous charge.
Overcharging is bad for your battery. A battery tender is smart and will not overcharge the battery. So that is why best battery tender is the way to go if you are going to keep the battery on a charger for a long term.
That is why pulse chargers are better to use, and charges that shut off when the battery is full are the best. If you have a damaged battery, then it is important not to use it anymore.
Another reason why you might smell battery acid is if the battery takes to water. Some batteries you have to add water too because it evaporates over time.
These kinds of batteries are not sealed, and you have to open them up and pour water into them to keep the acid mixture correct. If you don’t, then the mixture will become wrong and cause the battery to start to smell like battery acid.
If you start to smell battery acid and have this type of battery, then you will just need to open the battery up, add water, and it should stop smelling and start working right again. It is important to keep water in it so it will work right and not damage the battery.
The last reason why you might smell battery acid from your battery is that the battery just may be bad. As batteries age, they will start to smell like battery acid. This is just something natural that happens as they break down.
The chemicals can only be charged so many times before they stop working right and when they stop working right, they start to smell more.
If your battery is a sealed one and the case isn’t damaged, but it is smelling, then it just means that it is old and needs to be replaced. If your battery isn’t holding a charge or dying frequently and you smell a funky smell, then it is probably your battery.
So, now that you know what it means when a battery smells like battery acid, you are probably wondering even more what battery acid smells like. Well, depending on the type of battery and the person smelling it, it can smell like a couple different things.
One of the most common explanations for the smell of battery acid is that it smells like sulfur. If you don’t know what sulfur smells like, then most people would say that it smells like rotten eggs.
What do rotten eggs smell like though? Well, if you have been lucky enough never to have to smell rotten eggs, then the closest answer to what it smells like is a boiled egg only worse.
If you don’t know what boiled eggs smell like, then you can make one to get an idea. Rotten eggs and sulfur have a strong and distinct smell and once you smell it once you will recognize it, but if you haven’t smelled it before, then it is hard to describe.
The other most common thing that people say battery acid smells like is vinegar. That is because most battery acid is or has sulfuric acid in it and that has a similar smell to vinegar.
Vinegar has a strong sour smell that can sometimes almost burn the inside of your nose if you have it to close to your nose when you smell it. It has a bitter smell to it.
If you don’t know what vinegar smells like, then you can get some and smell it or just think about how pickles, coleslaw, or other food items with vinegar smell to get an idea and realize that battery acid smells strong than this because it is not diluted by other things.
The last thing we will touch on now that you know that it smells like is if it is safe. You might be worried to remove a damaged battery that smells bad, but really battery acid is not that harmful.
Most are diluted, so it has a PH of zero. This means it won’t hurt you if it gets on you. Just make sure not to eat or ingest any battery acid, but if it gets on your skin just wash it off, and it won’t hurt you.
It is still important to dispose of batteries properly though, so if yours smells and you are replacing it be sure to dispose of the old one correctly.
So, now you know what battery acid smells like. You know that it normally smells like sulfur or rotten eggs or it can smell like vinegar depending on how your nose works.
You also now know what it means when you can smell the battery acid of your battery and what you should do about it. You know that it is safe to replace the battery yourself even if it smells bad and that you just need to dispose of the old battery correctly.
While battery acid smells bad it isn’t bad for you to inhale, so you don’t have to worry about any health concerns if you walk into your garage and smell these smells.
Just remove the problem and let the garage air out. Now you know what might be causing funky smells in your garage or car that you can’t find and even more importantly you now know what battery acid smells like.
A key component in any vehicle is the battery. If the battery is not working right, then the rest of your car will not work right either. The main problem that happens with batteries is that they lose charge or stop charging effectively over time.
As batteries age, they struggle with holding a charge. Some vehicles have a battery gauge on the dash and sometimes the needle jumps around.
Does the needle jumping mean your battery is bad? Well, read on to find out the answer to that question and to find out what it really means when your battery gauge goes up and down.
Before going into detail about what it means when your battery gauge jumps around, we will first talk about what the battery gauge on your dash actually is.
Not all cars have the battery gauge on the dash, but it is a useful thing to have because the battery gauge is essentially a voltmeter that is always connected to your battery.
A voltmeter is a tool used to get the reading of how much power is in your battery. The needle may move some while driving, but in reality, the needle shouldn’t move much while driving if everything is working right.
That is why it is a concern when it does jump around while driving.
You may be wondering to yourself why the needle shouldn’t move while driving. You may be thinking there is power being taken from the battery by the radio, headlights, and other parts of the car while driving, so shouldn’t that make the needle go down?
Well, this is true that power is being taken from the battery, but power is also being given to the battery while driving. That is the purpose of the alternator.
So, does the needle in the battery gauge jumping around means the battery is bad. No, it actually typically means that you have a problem with your alternator.
Your alternator is responsible for taking extra mechanical power from the engine and turning it into electrical energy to recharge the battery or keep it charged. Using best battery tender to do that is excellent decision.
The needle jumping means that the battery isn’t getting the same amount of charge consistently.
The reason the needle jumping doesn’t mean that the battery is bad is that if you have a battery not holding a charge that will only cause the needle to not go up as high on the gauge, but it won’t cause the gauge to jump.
What causes the gauge to jump is that the charge of the battery is changing and this can be quickly or slowly depending on the problem with the alternator and if it is cutting out and dying or something else.
The first thing to check when you have your cars battery gauge jumping around is the serpentine or alternator drive belt. The belt is what connects the engine to the alternator, and if the belt is not working right then, the alternator won’t work right either.
When checking the belt you want to check two things. Those two things are the wear on the belt and also its tightness. If the belt is starting to look old, then that can cause the tension to change while driving.
If you see any visible damage or wear on the belt, then it is a good idea to change it. Changing the belt could solve all your problems with the battery gauge jumping.
If the belt does not look wore out, then the next thing to check is how tight it is. The belt needs tension to be able to transfer the power from the engine to the alternator.
It does this by spinning along with the engine and turning a wheel on the alternator. If the belt is loose, then it may slip and this will cause the alternator wheel not to spin and will, therefore, cause the alternator not to work.
You want to make sure the belt is tight, so all the parts will spin. However, you don’t want to tighten it over because this can make it hard to spin for the opposite reason. Also, having the belt too tight can lead to it breaking or wearing out sooner.
If the belt seems fine and it is the correct tightness, but you are still having issues with the battery gauge jumping, then you will have to test the alternator.
The easiest way to test the alternator at home is to connect a voltmeter to the battery. The battery should read around 14.4 volts with the car running and not fluctuate.
If it is reading less than this, but not changing, then the battery is weak, but the issue isn’t the alternator.
If the reading is jumping, then you will need to have your alternator checked out by a professional because it isn’t working right. It could be as simple as a bad wire or connection, or it could be that your alternator needs replaced.
Before condemning the alternator though, one other thing that can cause the battery gauge to go up and down is if the wires aren’t connected well or are corroded.
It is important to keep your wires clean and connected tightly to the battery. Clean off any corrosion and tighten down any loose wires before replacing the alternator unless you know for sure it is bad.
Bad connections can cause reading spikes, and it is a lot cheaper to clean and tighten wires than to replace the alternator
Now you know though what it means when your battery gauge jumps up and down. You know that it doesn’t mean that the battery is bad, but instead normally means that you have an issue with the alternator.
You should understand better why that is the case and you also know some things to check and ways to fix the problem. You know to check all the wire connections and clean any corrosion.
You also know to check the alternator belt and replace if worn or make sure it is tightened correctly. Lastly, if neither of these things solves the problem then you know to test the alternator and replace it if bad.
Your battery is key to driving your car, so you want to make sure it is charging right before you get stranded somewhere and if you notice your battery gauge jumping, then you should have things taken care of right away.
There are a lot of anti-theft features in cars these days, but would be thieves can get pass them if they really want to steal your car, so this leads to the question of is there any way to stop a thief from taking your car?
If locking the doors, having your car alarm, and having an anti-theft system won’t work, then what else could you possibly do?
Well, the answer is you could install a hidden kill switch. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what a kill switch is, how to properly use it, and also the different kinds of kill switches.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about hidden kill switches in your vehicle.
Before getting into the different types of hidden kill switches, we will first discuss what a hidden kill switch is. A hidden kill switch is a switch that you have to press to complete a circuit, so your car is able to start.
The reason why it is hidden is so that no one knows where it is, so they don’t know to press it. The thing is you can go about hiding one in different ways which we will discuss later.
There are also a number of different types of kill switches which can be installed and we will break down each one below.
The five main types of kill switches that you can install into a vehicle are:
We will go into the detail of each one below and what it does and how it works.
The first type of kill switch we will look at is the fuel-line shut off valves. This type of kill switch will prevent fuel from getting to your engine which is a sure fire way to make sure your vehicle won’t start.
The perk to the fuel-line kill switch though is that the engine will still crank, but just not have enough fuel to turn over.
This means that to a car thief it will just seem like your car is having engine trouble and they are most likely not going to take the time to try to figure out how to steal a car with engine trouble, so while it will keep them from stealing your car, it will also deter them from trying to figure out a way to get the car started.
The way the fuel line shut off valve works is that it is a valve that you install directly into the fuel line. You do this by cutting a chunk of the fuel line out and then put the kill switch in.
The kill switch has a knob that you turn, and in one position it is open, and gas will flow thru normally, but in the other position it is closed, and gas will not go thru.
The downside to this kill switch is that you have to get under your car to turn the knob to open the fuel line. This means you probably don’t want to use this kill switch for a daily driver because you would constantly be under the car to open the valve before you could start your car.
The next kind of hidden kill switch is a better one for a daily driver. It is the car battery disconnect switch.
You still have to open the hood most of the time to turn this one on and off, but that is still better than crawling under the car each time.
You don’t always have to do this though depending on how you connect it and wire it.
You can have the wire run so the switch can be mounted somewhere inside the car and while most of these are knobs that turn some are switches or some require keys.
The way the car battery disconnect switch works is you unhook the negative car lead and then connect the kill switch to the negative battery terminal directly.
You then feed the negative lead into the kill switch. When the knob is turned one way, the circuit is complete, and the car will function and start as normal.
If you turn it the other way though, then the car will not have power. This means when someone goes to start the car it won’t make any sound at all because the starter will not have power.
This will make the thief think the battery is dead. Another downside to this kind of kill switch though is you will have to reset your clock and radio presets every time after using it because they stay in memory with the power from the battery.
That is why one of the other kill switches to come might still be a better option for you.
By the way, If your battery is not dead, try to recharge it with the best battery tender.
The next kind of hidden kill switch is another one that goes on your battery, but this one doesn’t have a knob to turn. Instead, it is activated with a remote that you can keep on your keys.
This is nice because you don’t have to go under the hood all the time to turn it on and off and also it is nice because you can activate it anywhere.
This means you don’t have to turn it on if you don’t want and can turn it on at a moments notice if you see suspicious activity and want to keep your car safe.
Also, it is nice that you can activate it with your remote because this means you can do it secretly which is one of the main points of a hidden kill switch.
Kill switches don’t do any good if a thief knows it is there, so being able to trigger it and no one notice is a great bonus.
The way the remote control battery kill switch works is that you connect electromagnetic solenoid valve terminal to your battery similar to the other car battery disconnect switch we have covered.
Then when you press a button, it uses a strong magnet to move a metal piece on the inside that either opens or closes the circuit.
If it is in the open position, then the car will not start because it doesn’t have power from the battery, but if it is in the closed position, then the car will start like normal.
The nice thing is this device only draws power for a few moments after pressing the button. Pressing the button sends power to one of the magnets or the other, but once it is activated power is not used to help the magnet hold the circuit opener or closer.
This means that it won’t drain your battery just by having it hooked up.
The next kind of kill switch still deals with removing power from your vehicle, but it doesn’t do it directly at the battery.
Instead, it kills power to the fuse box. Some people just prefer to pull a key fuse such as the ignition fuse and then replace it when they want to drive, but depending on where your fuse box is and how much you drive this can be annoying.
If it is your daily driver, then it is easier and generally better to just install a fuse box kill switch. Also, by using a switch, it makes it less noticeable and thus more effective.
The way a fuse box kill switch works is you run a fuse into your fuse box that when it is activated the fuses will not work.
When it is not activated the fuse box will function normally. They are not that hard to install and only take a few parts and tools.
The nice thing is you can run the wires to the switch wherever you want so you can mount the switch wherever. This means that you can have it inside the cabin and even mount it to the dash or somewhere to make it look cool.
If you want your car to look more spy like this is one way especially if you install dummy switches.
A thief won’t know to look for a fuse box kill switch, and if they see a random switch or two, they won’t know what it is for or the combination for them.
These reasons are why a fuse box kill switch as a hidden kill switch is a very effective method and easier than pulling fuses all the time.
The last kind of hidden kill switch we will cover is the ignition wire kill switch. This one goes straight to the source and puts a break in the ignition wire so your car won’t start.
The way it works is you cut your ignition wire and then hook the wire to each end connector of a switch. When the switch is flipped one way the circuit is complete and the other way it is broken.
This kind of kill switch is nice because again you can hide the switch inside the car and no one will know it is there. Being in the car makes it easy to activate every time and keep it hidden.
The key to installing an ignition wire kill switch properly is to make sure that you look at a wiring diagram for your vehicle.
This way you know you are cutting the right wire. Once you have the wire cut, you can crimp the ends to the switch or solder it for a better connection.
You can then mount the switch wherever you want in your car. An ignition wire kill switch will again make a burglar think the car is dead because it won’t make any sounds if they try to turn the key.
So now that you know about the different kinds of hidden kill switches and a rough idea of how to install one, the next question you may be having is who should use a hidden kill switch? Well, the answer to that is anyone.
A hidden kill switch is just an added layer of protection from getting your car stolen, and you can actually install more than one if you really want peace of mind.
They are especially a good idea though if you leave your keys in your vehicle a lot. This might be because you forget them or you might have a delivery job or something where you stop and go a lot.
Anyone that has a habit of leaving your keys in the car can benefit from a hidden kill switch if you use it right.
You also might want one if you live in a busy city or an area with high crime. This way you can keep your car safe and slow down and deter a thief.
Lastly, if you have a vehicle that sits a lot, then you might want to install a hidden kill switch especially if it sits at an area you aren’t at often such as a vacation house.
This is because thieves know when people aren’t around and what vehicles don’t move much.
Also, if you aren’t home, they have more time to be able to steal it, so having a hidden kill switch to stop this can save you from coming back to a vehicle missing.
Hidden kill switches are a great way to keep your vehicle safe on top of the anti-theft system your car already has.
You can use them in conjunction with your current system and can actually install more than one type for adding protection.
Now you know the basics to install a hidden kill switch, and you know the five most common types.
You know that you can stop the fuel with a fuel-line shut off valve or you can cut the ignition wire directly and install a switch with an ignition wire kill switch.
You also know that you can cut power to some or all of your car to keep it from getting stolen using a fuse box kill switch or a battery disconnect kill switch.
There are a variety of hidden kill switches, and they all have their perks and negatives and now you know what they are so you can decide what kind of hidden kill switch is right for you and your needs.