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Auto Repair Basics

The best way to avoid auto repair rip-offs is to be prepared. Knowing how your vehicle works and how to identify common car problems is a good beginning. It"s also important to know how to choose a good mechanic, the kinds of questions to ask, and your consumer rights. This kind of information may help you keep a lid on mechanical mistakes.

Repair Information
Heading Off Problems
Trouble Shooting

Repair Information
How to Choose a Repair Shop

What should I look for when choosing a repair shop?

Ask for recommendations from friends, family, and other people you trust. Look for a repair shop before you need one to avoid being rushed into a last-minute decision.
Shop around by phone and online for the best deal, and compare warranty policies on repairs.
Ask to see current licenses if state or local law requires repair shops to be licensed or registered. Also, your state Attorney General"s office or local consumer protection agency may know whether there"s a record of complaints about a particular repair shop.
Make sure the shop will honor your vehicle"s warranty.

How to Choose a Technician

Is one technician better than another?

Look for shops that display various certifications — like an Automotive Service Excellence seal. Certification indicates that some or all of the technicians meet basic standards of knowledge and competence in specific technical areas. Make sure the certifications are current, but remember that certification alone is no guarantee of good or honest work. Ask if the technician or shop has experience working on the same make or model vehicle as yours.

Repair Charges: Unlocking the Mystery

Before you arrange to have any work performed, ask how the shop prices its work. Some shops charge a flat rate for labor on auto repairs. This published rate is based on an independent or manufacturer"s estimate of the time required to complete repairs. Others charge on the basis of the actual time the technician worked on the repair.

If you need expensive or complicated repairs, or if you have questions about recommended work, consider getting a second opinion.

Find out if there will be a diagnostic charge if you decide to have the work performed elsewhere. Many repair shops charge for diagnostic time.

Shops that do only diagnostic work and do not sell parts or repairs may be able to give you an objective opinion about which repairs are necessary.

If you decide to get the work done, ask for a written estimate.

What should a written estimate include?

It should identify the condition to be repaired, the parts needed, and the anticipated labor charge. Make sure you get a signed copy. It should state that the shop will contact you for approval before they do any work exceeding a specified amount of time or money. State law may require this.

What should I know about the parts to be repaired or replaced?

Parts are classified as:

New — These parts generally are made to original manufacturer"s specifications, either by the vehicle manufacturer or an independent company. Your state may require repair shops to tell you if non-original equipment will be used in the repair. Prices and quality of these parts vary. Remanufactured, rebuilt and reconditioned — These terms generally mean the same thing: parts have been restored to a sound working condition. Many manufacturers offer a warranty covering replacement parts, but not the labor to install them. Salvage — These are used parts taken from another vehicle without alteration. Salvage parts may be the only source for certain items, though their reliability is seldom guaranteed.

What do I need after the work is done?

Get a completed repair order describing the work done. It should list each repair, parts supplied, the cost of each part, labor charges, and the vehicle"s odometer reading when you brought the vehicle in as well as when the repair order was completed. Ask for all replaced parts. State law may require this. Preventive Maintenance

What are the consequences of postponing maintenance?

Many parts on your vehicle are interrelated. Ignoring maintenance can lead to trouble: specific parts — or an entire system — can fail. Neglecting even simple routine maintenance, like changing the oil or checking the coolant, can lead to poor fuel economy, unreliability, or costly breakdowns. It also may invalidate your warranty.

What maintenance guidelines should I follow to avoid costly repairs?

Follow the manufacturer"s maintenance schedule in your owner"s manual for your type of driving. Some repair shops create their own maintenance schedules, which call for more frequent servicing than the manufacturer"s recommendations. Compare shop maintenance schedules with those recommended in your owner"s manual. Ask the repair shop to explain — and make sure you understand — why it recommends service beyond the recommended schedule. Protecting Your Auto Repair Investment

What warranties and service contracts apply to vehicle repairs? Warranties

There is no "standard warranty" on repairs. Make sure you understand what is covered under your warranty and get it in writing.

Warranties may be subject to limitations, including time, mileage, deductibles, businesses authorized to perform warranty work or special procedures required to obtain reimbursement.

Check with your state Attorney General or local consumer protection agency for information about your warranty rights. Service Contracts

Many automobile dealers and others sell optional contracts — service contracts — issued by vehicle manufacturers or independent companies. Not all service contracts are the same; prices vary and usually are negotiable. To help decide whether to purchase a service contract, consider:

Its cost. The repairs to be covered.
Whether coverage overlaps coverage provided by any other warranty.
The deductible.
Where the repairs are to be performed.
Procedures required to file a claim, like prior authorization for specific repairs or meeting required vehicle maintenance schedules.
Whether repair costs are paid directly by the company to the repair shop or whether you will have to pay first and get reimbursed.

How do I resolve a dispute regarding billing, quality of repairs or warranties?

Document all transactions as well as your experiences with dates, times, expenses, and the names of people you dealt with. Talk to the shop manager or owner first. If that doesn"t work, contact your Attorney General or local consumer protection agency for help. These offices may have information on alternative dispute resolution programs in your community. Another option is to file a claim in small claims court. You don"t need an attorney to do this.

Heading Off Problems

The more you know about your vehicle, the more likely you"ll be able to head off repair problems. You can detect many common vehicle problems by using your senses: eyeballing the area around your vehicle, listening for strange noises, sensing a difference in the way your vehicle handles, or even noticing unusual odors.

Looks Like Trouble

Small stains or an occasional drop of fluid under your vehicle may not mean much. But wet spots deserve attention; check puddles immediately.

You can identify fluids by their color and consistency:

Yellowish green, pastel blue or florescent orange colors indicate an overheated engine or an antifreeze leak caused by a bad hose, water pump or leaking radiator. A dark brown or black oily fluid means the engine is leaking oil. A bad seal or gasket could cause the leak. A red oily spot indicates a transmission or power-steering fluid leak. A puddle of clear water usually is no problem. It may be normal condensation from your vehicle"s air conditioner.

Smells Like Trouble

Some problems are under your nose. You can detect them by their odor:

The smell of burned toast — a light, sharp odor — often signals an electrical short and burning insulation. To be safe, try not to drive the vehicle until the problem is diagnosed.
The smell of rotten eggs — a continuous burning-sulphur smell — usually indicates a problem in the catalytic converter or other emission control devices. Don"t delay diagnosis and repair.
A thick acrid odor usually means burning oil. Look for sign of a leak.
The smell of gasoline vapors after a failed start may mean you have flooded the engine. Wait a few minutes before trying again. If the odor persists, chances are there"s a leak in the fuel system — a potentially dangerous problem that needs immediate attention.
Burning resin or an acrid chemical odor may signal overheated brakes or clutch. Check the parking brake. Stop. Allow the brakes to cool after repeated hard braking on mountain roads. Light smoke coming from a wheel indicates a stuck brake. The vehicle should be towed for repair.
A sweet, steamy odor indicates a coolant leak. If the temperature gauge or warning light does not indicate overheating, drive carefully to the nearest service station, keeping an eye on your gauges. If the odor is accompanied by a hot, metallic scent and steam from under the hood, your engine has overheated. Pull over immediately. Continued driving could cause severe engine damage. The vehicle should be towed for repair.


Sounds Like Trouble

Squeaks, squeals, rattles, rumbles, and other sounds provide valuable clues about problems and maintenance needs. Here are some common noises and what they mean:

Squeal — A shrill, sharp noise, usually related to engine speed:
Loose or worn power steering, fan or air conditioning belt. Click — A slight sharp noise, related to either engine speed or vehicle speed:

Loose wheel cover.
Loose or bent fan blade.
Stuck valve lifter or low engine oil.


Screech — A high-pitched, piercing metallic sound; usually occurs while the vehicle is in motion: Caused by brake wear indicators to let you know it"s time for maintenance.

Rumble — a low-pitched rhythmic sound.

Defective exhaust pipe, converter or muffler.
Worn universal joint or other drive-line component.

Ping — A high-pitched metallic tapping sound, related to engine speed:

Usually caused by using gas with a lower octane rating than recommended. Check your owner"s manual for the proper octane rating. If the problem persists, engine ignition timing could be at fault.

Heavy Knock — A rhythmic pounding sound:

Worn crankshaft or connecting rod bearings.
Loose transmission torque converter.

Clunk — A random thumping sound:

Loose shock absorber or other suspension component.
Loose exhaust pipe or muffler.

Feels Like Trouble

Difficult handling, a rough ride, vibration and poor performance are symptoms you can feel. They almost always indicate a problem. Steering

Misaligned front wheels and/or worn steering components, like the idler or ball joint, can cause wandering or difficulty steering in a straight line.
Pulling — the vehicle"s tendency to steer to the left or right — can be caused by something as routine as under-inflated tires, or as serious as a damaged or misaligned front end.

Ride and Handling

Worn shock absorbers or other suspension components — or improper tire inflation — can contribute to poor cornering. While there is no hard and fast rule about when to replace shock absorbers or struts, try this test: bounce the vehicle up and down hard at each wheel and then let go. See how many times the vehicle bounces. Weak shocks will allow the vehicle to bounce twice or more.
Springs do not normally wear out and do not need replacement unless one corner of the vehicle is lower than the others. Overloading your vehicle can damage the springs.
Balance tires properly. An unbalanced or improperly balanced tire causes a vehicle to vibrate and may wear steering and suspension components prematurely.

Brakes

Brake problems have several symptoms. Schedule diagnosis and repair if:

The vehicle pulls to one side when the brakes are applied.
The brake pedal sinks to the floor when pressure is maintained.
You hear or feel scraping or grinding during braking.
The "brake" light on the instrument panel is lit.


Engine

The following symptoms indicate engine trouble. Get a diagnosis and schedule the repair.

Difficulty starting the engine.
The "check engine" light on the instrument panel is lit.
Rough idling or stalling.
Poor acceleration.
Poor fuel economy.
Excessive oil use (more than one quart between changes).
Engine continues running after the key is removed.


Transmission

Poor transmission performance may come from actual component failure or a simple disconnected hose or plugged filter. Make sure the technician checks the simple items first; transmission repairs normally are expensive. Some of the most common symptoms of transmission problems are:

Abrupt or hard shifts between gears.
Delayed or no response when shifting from neutral to drive or reverse.
Failure to shift during normal acceleration.
Slippage during acceleration. The engine speeds up, but the vehicle does not respond.


Trouble Shooting

Car trouble doesn"t always mean major repairs. Here are some common causes of trouble and techniques to help you and your technician find and fix problems:

Alternator — Loose wiring can make your alternator appear defective. Your technician should check for loose connections and perform an output test before replacing the alternator.
Battery — Corroded or loose battery terminals can make the battery appear dead or defective. Your technician should clean the terminals and test battery function before replacing the battery.
Starter — What appears to be a defective starter actually may be a dead battery or poor connection. Ask your technician to check all connections and test the battery before repairing the starter.
Muffler — a loud rumbling noise under your vehicle indicates a need for a new muffler or exhaust pipe.
Tune-up — The old-fashioned "tune-up" may not be relevant to your vehicle. Fewer parts, other than belts, spark plugs,
hoses and filters, need to be replaced on newer vehicles. Follow the recommendations in your owner"s manual.

From this source http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0211-auto-repair-basics
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Safety Comes First: Learn To Ride A Motorbike By Attending And Completing A Motorcycle Rider"s Training Course

If you are interested in joining the two-wheel revolution, you should first and foremost learn to ride a motorbike properly for the sake of your own safety and safety of others on the road. Riding a motorbike can prove to be an exhilarating, liberating and fulfilling experience especially when your safety-related needs are fully met, but it also requires a high level of focus, coordination and balance among others.

If you have decided to trade in your safety belt for a helmet, it is absolutely paramount to approach riding a motorcycle with caution in order to avoid becoming a motorbike safety statistic. According to statistics, a large percentage of riders involved in an accident are either self-taught or have learned how to ride a motorbike from friends or family. New motorbike riders are given the opportunity to learn the basic skills required for safe, smooth riding from professionals by attending a motorcycle rider"s training course at a motorcycle training centre in their local area. For more information visit the Rockingham website Biketrainingwa.com.

Upon successful completion of the motorcycle rider"s training scheme, which consists of the pre-learner training course and the pre-provisional course, you will be able to ride with confidence and equally important, to get your rider licence. Specifically designed to get you comfortable on a motorbike and help you gain the rider safety skills before venturing on the road, these training courses encompass classroom instruction as well as practice on a safe closed circuit course.

In the classroom, you will learn the basics of safe riding and familiarize yourself with the motorbike you will be riding, its operation on the road as well as the requirement, laws and rights of motorcycle riders in your area. On the practice range, you will learn starting, braking and turning, accelerating and decelerating, parking the motorbike as well as essential maneuvers such as surmounting obstacles and controlling skids.

A competency-based course, held over two days for 3.5 hours each day, the pre-learner training course is designed for anyone who is minimum 16 years and 6 months old, living in a declared area and interested in applying for their learner rider licence. Motorbikes, gloves and helmets are all provided by the motorcycle training centre. After successfully passing all of the competencies, you will be issued a Certificate of Competence, which is valid for 3 months.

Required for anyone looking to advance from a learner rider to a provisional (P1) motorbike rider licence, the pre-provisional course runs for 7 hours. At the end of it, you will undertake the MOST test that assesses your riding ability. Upon passing this key test, you will receive your Certificate of Competence, also valid for 3 months.



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Finding The Right Deep Cycle Rv Battery For Your Vehicle

Understanding the deep cycle RV battery will help you choose the right kind of batteries for your use. Deep cycle batteries provide better stability over the long term compared to other varieties of standard car batteries. The normal vehicle battery is made to supply a car"s power and then the alternator gets to work recharging the battery. The RV requires steady power while charging for a longer time, which is what the deep cycle battery provides.

RVs often have separate batteries. One power the appliances that run the home aspects of the RV. The other battery operates the RV as a motor coach, allowing you and your loved ones to reliably transport from one place to the next. The use of a deep cycle RV battery provides better capacity and extended power in between charges.

Choosing A Battery Deciding on the right deep cycle battery for your RV will depend upon a few factors. You will need to have sufficient space to have the RV battery in place. In addition, choosing the battery depends largely on and Amp draw of the accessories in your RV.

If you have a camper, then you might do well with something of a surprising alternative to the RV battery. It is a marine deep cycle battery. Though, larger machines might do better with say an 8D battery instead. Such useful options include flooded batteries and sealed AGM varieties.

Deep cycle batteries are low on maintenance and uses solar panels to accumulate energy storage. This is an excellent solution to the issue of ensuring a battery that is reliable over the long term, especially when factoring in traveling into RV owners" plans.

This type of battery is able to keep up and perform constantly. It is a tall order, but they do it well. When you consider how much you rely on these batteries, it is incredible that they last for a few years. It is the best power option out there for RV owners in today"s world.

Using and relying upon solar powered energy is a great way to build up self reliance and reliance on naturally occurring resources that are freely and widely available.

These batters outpace the traditional or ordinary battery by far. These batteries are surprisingly affordable as well. They are such useful components it is tempting to find other uses around the house or in life for these batteries.



#FindingTheRightDeepCycleRvBatteryForYourVehicle

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Use These Tips Before Hiring Your Next Limo Company

Subject to where you are located there may be a large number of limousine companies to choose from. When you are looking to hire a limo company for an event you are having or participating in there are some tips you need to know in order to choose the right one for the occasion.

Customer service is a big deal today. Not all companies believe in good customer service but the ones that do are usually the companies that have repeat customers and get good reviews. A limousine rental company may have been in business for years or decades but that does not mean they have good customer service that just means they are good business people. So check the reviews of the different limo companies and talk with them to get a feel for how they will handle your job. Remember to use your instincts and let them guide you when speaking with the company representatives.

Understand the type of event you are planning for or going to. The event type can have an effect on the type of limousine you select, since knowing the head count is important for choosing the correct limousines. If you have a lot of people going to the event with you then it might be better to rent a Party Bus or Limo Bus as opposed to renting several smaller limousines. Depending on your group they may all want to be together during the ride. So let the event and the numbers help you determine the type of limo which will narrow your search.

When you are talking with the limousine companies ask about their drivers certifications, qualifications and safety records. See how the company hires their drivers and screens the different candidates. You need to know this because one of them will be in charge of taking you and your group to the event and you need to be able to trust them and know you will be in safe hands. So dont be afraid to ask the limo representatives about their drivers record since they will be the one behind the wheel.

Determine your budget ahead of time so you know what you are looking to spend. Limo companies charge different prices and you need to know your budget so you know the prices range that is comfortable for you. The number of people in your party, the type of limousine you rent, and the destination will affect the price. So be prepared to discuss this with the limo companies if their prices are higher than your budget allows, they may have options for you to still get what you want without sacrificing too much.

Selecting the right company for your event can make all the difference in the world. The right company can make the experience amazing or a disaster. So make sure you choose wisely and use the tips above to help you make an informed decision.

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Winter Tyres



In countries that experience winter, it is advisable to have two sets of tyres. Tyres meant for use during summer and another pair for winter. Winter tyres are specifically designed and made for the harsh weather that is experienced in winter. They are made to withstand the low temperatures that are experienced during winter. The tyres use high silica content and have a pattern that is specially designed to retain flexibility in times of low temperatures. They help the car deal with the snow covered roads which are wet and icy during winter.

So how exactly do these tyres help a person? And what is so special about them? Winter tyres help in ensuring the safety of an individual when they are driving during snow weather. They help provide the car with good grip of the road and this in turn helps to avoid skidding on the ice. They give good braking performance on the icy road. Because of the soft rubber that is used in their manufacture it helps keep the tyres flexible in the cold weather. The typical standard tyre tends to firm up because of the low temperatures during winter. This will make them loose grip of the road. This is what would easily send a car skidding, sending it straight into a ditch or worse still cause even bigger damages and harm.

The making of these tyres using soft rubber to allow for flexibility is the major reason these tyres are not advisable for use during other weather types. The soft rubber is prone to wearing out very easily. The tyres will also make a very annoying loud noise. Therefore when one hears the loud noise coming from the tyre, they should know that it is time to switch back to the standard tyres.

How does one then identify these tyres? One can identify them by looking for a snowflake symbol on the sidewall of the tyre. They may also have a symbol of some snow-topped mountains. They are available in many main manufacture shops. The cost of these tyres is what maybe disturbing to many individuals considering the fact that they already have another set of tyres. Some may opt to change only two of the tyres and leave on two standard tyres. This is clearly a recipe for disaster. What will happen in such a scenario is that as you drive you will gain momentum from the winter tyres but the other standard tyres will not be of help because they do not have good grip on the raod. So in the case where one would get to a turn, the standard tyres would not be in a position to break well as the winter tyres would. The result of this would be devastating. It is therefore always advisable to have a complete change on all four tyres during winter.

As seen above, winter tyres are therefore a very important part of the car that one needs to acquire when this weather starts. It is sure to save one a great deal of time when driving and may just be what may save a life during this type of weather.

Learn how to drive safley in winter with Driving Lessons in Glasgow.

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Would You Be Able To Sell Your Car Quickly?

Before you read any more of this article, would you know enough to sell your car quickly right now? Sometimes it can seem quite simple, as someone you know might become a quick buyer, or you might get a quick bite on a free online ad. But sometimes, cars can be on the market for quite a long time and not even sell. This can be due to many reasons, so it"s best to learn everything you can about selling your car quickly.



How you go about selling your car exactly is going to have to do with what type of vehicle you"re selling of course. When you set out to sell a car, you"re going to want to know its value and how that car sells on the market. Look at similar listings and sales to see where you stand with your car.

What are the best sellers when it comes to consumers selling their vehicles by themselves? Trucks are always useful, which means they are popular, and so are the family cars and other types of vehicles that are for families.

Now you"ve been instructed to know the market, but how are you going to stand out? Depending on where you live, it could be that there are plenty of cars just like yours for sale. In fact, if you start searching, you won"t believe how many listings you can pull up. Some of them might even be the exact same make, model and year.

One thing you can do to help your vehicle stand out is to take a little off the top when it comes to the price. This doesn"t mean you list it for 100 dollars cheaper than the other listings. It means you take a bit more off the top, like say 500 dollars. You want to make that price difference noticeable, and that makes it mean something to the customers.

You know when you"re selling a house that you want to keep it looking nice and maybe even fix it up in some ways. The same thing goes with your vehicle. However, you might not want to fix everything but just let the car go "as is" to the best offer. Putting "OBO," which means "or best offer" invites people to make offers and makes the ad look more appealing. The whole point is you must make your vehicle stand out among the crowd.

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