Competent Auto Repair Has Never Been More Important

Auto repair has changed dramatically over a generation, according to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), an independent group that tests and certifies the competence of auto technicians nationwide.

Today, high-tech systems that were unheard of 30 years ago – anti-lock brakes, electronic engine controls and computerized diagnostics – are commonplace. It doesn’t appear that the swift pace of technological advancement will slow any time soon, either, with the advent of hybrid vehicles and such features on the horizon as interactive suspensions, constantly variable-speed transmissions and 42-volt batteries.

For automotive service professionals, this means continual training and coursework to keep up with the torrent of changes. Disparaged years ago as “grease monkeys,” mechanics today have become automotive technicians, every bit as comfortable behind a computer screen and keyboard as under the hood with a wrench.

ASE is reminding motorists to follow the service schedules listed in their owners’ manuals before making a long-distance drive. While few people would ignore an ominous service engine light, many do skip oil changes. Yet in survey after survey, ASE-certified master auto technicians say that the old-fashioned oil change is one of the most vital services for getting the most from your automotive investment.

ASE was founded in 1972 as a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals. Its 400,000 certified technicians wear blue-and-white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the ASE sign.

Choosing Tires For Winter Driving

hoosing the right tires is one of the most important decisions we have to make in regards to our personal transportation. It is of utmost importance during the winter, when in many areas the presence of ice and snow on roadways creates a deadly hazard. It is not a difficult process if you have the necessary information.

The very first thing you should do is check your vehicle owner’s manual to find the manufacturer specifications for the types and sizes of tires recommended by them.
Next, mount the appropriate mud and snow tires on your vehicle to help guard against the slickness of winter roads, these tires can be used anywhere as long as they do not have metal studs on them.
If you live in an area where ice is common in the winter, be sure to use the metal-stud tires that are available and keep your other tires(if they are in good condition) for the end of winter season as these metal stud tires are only allowed during the winter season and are banned in 10 states.

Another key to remember is to make sure that all of the snow tires you equip your vehicle with are of the same size, type and tread. This is particularly important if your vehicle is front wheel drive where using mismatched rear wheels may result in a loss of traction when braking on the icy roads of winter.

When choosing tires be aware that equipping your vehicle with oversized tires that are larger than those recommended by the manufacturer make result in difficulty steering and can rub the fender wells or suspension underneath.

As a rule, snow tires are manufactured with large empty areas in their tread so that they will have more traction on snow than normal tires where regular all season type tires are more concerned with marrying a quiet ride with a modicum of traction.

Another time tested method that can be used when conditions warrant is the use of tire chains. Installing tire chains can increase traction as much as 200%. Again, make sure that these chains are of the right size and type for your particular tire as the wrong chains can cause the tires to fail.

Following the preceding tips will help you to safeguard you and your family in the upcoming winter season.

Car Security Alarms

Would you ever consider leaving thousands of dollars worth of your personal belongings in the street without protection? Well, that is what you do every time you park your car at the side of the road or anywhere else if you do not have a car security alarm fitted to it. Most cars do not come with an effective protection system, and a determined thief is generally able to steal a car in a matter of seconds with nothing to stop them doing so.

Car security alarms come in a variety of forms, and offer different levels of protection for your property depending on the specific model that you choose. From basic systems that simply provide a siren if the car is broken into, through to comprehensive car security systems that include every possible protection including engine immobilisers, electronic door locks, and much more to make it very difficult for a thief to get away with your car.

The ease with which you can actually fit a car security alarm will depend on the complexity of the system that you have chosen to install. The most basic systems can be fitted very quickly by almost anyone, but if you have chosen to get a fully comprehensive car security alarm system that includes a wide range of features, then you will definitely need a professional to carry out the installation on your behalf.

A basic system such as the Commando 357 Car Alarm is designed to be easy for almost anyone to install. It features a 6 tone 125dB siren that is backed up by a light actuator, and can be easily activated and deactivated by using the wireless remote control. You will be able to set the controls of the alarm to ensure that it goes off when you want it to. From the lightest of touch from a passer-by through to the point at which entry is attempted, the sensors can be set up to offer excellent control.

The next level car security alarm from Commando is the 520s. This builds upon the features of the entry level system with a number of additional features including the ability to disable the starter motor of the car and effectively immobilise it. The 520 car security alarm also includes the installation of a keyless entry system for your car, which means that instead of having to fumble or your key on a cold morning, you will be able to unlock the doors at the push of a button.

Further upgrades to the basic Commando system include the 550s alarm system. This takes protection to the next level, and includes a complete engine kill system that prevents any getaway from taking place.

There are a number of additional accessories available for your car alarm system, including a personal monitor. This pocket sized device works in the same way as a regular pager in order to give you warning if someone is trying to gain entry to your car so that you can take appropriate action. With this system, you can set the alarm to not make a sound when someone is braking into your car so that they are not warned that the police are on their way.

Car security alarms can be tailored completely to your particular needs. You can protect every aspect of your car to prevent anyone from being able to gain entry to the vehicle, and taking it without your permission. Security systems can be tailor made to include everything from keyless entry to electrically controlled windows. You can prevent the engine starting, and even carry a pager that will warn you if your vehicle is in danger.

The most import aspect of choosing an alarm system for your car is to pick one that includes all the features that you feel you will need. You should remember the value of your vehicle, and choose a car security alarm that will offer appropriate protection.

Catalytic Converters and Your Vehicle’s Emission System

Before 1975 no U.S. vehicle came equipped with a catalytic converter. Changes in environmental policy — started with the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] by the Nixon Administration – soon changed all of that. Now, with very few exceptions, all vehicles must come outfitted with a catalytic converter. So, what does a catalytic converter do exactly? Good question…we will answer that query in this article.

When your engine burns fuel it produces gases that are harmful to the environment. If not handled properly, these same gases will exit through your vehicle’s exhaust and work to do harm on the environment. The EPA, which was established in 1970, mandated that starting in 1975 vehicles were to come equipped with an apparatus to reduce dangerous emissions. The particular piece of equipment created to accomplish this task was the catalytic converter.

The catalytic converter in your vehicle is installed in the exhaust line between the exhaust manifold and the muffler. Pellets inside the converter work to transform detrimental gases into harmless gases before they exit the tailpipe and go out into the open air. As you might guess, a properly functioning catalytic converter is essential toward preserving air quality standards.

<b>There are four telltale signs that indicate a catalytic converter will soon fail:</b>

· Rusted or broken converter body or end tubes.

· Bits of substrate in other sections of the exhaust system.

· No rattle detected in a pellitized converter (If the converter doesn’t rattle, the pellets may have melted together or fallen out).

· A rattle detected in a monolithic converter (A rattle in this kind of converter indicates the substrate has separated.)

If you see evidence of any of these signs, then you must replace your catalytic converter right away. If you don’t, you risk receiving a ticket from a police officer and you may automatically fail your next motor vehicle inspection.
You can install a new catalytic converter yourself and save money on parts and labor. Shop online for the best deals going.