Month: September 2019

Fix and Repair Headlights

First, determine what the problem is. Are they dim, not working at all, hard to see with at night, have water inside, failed inspection? If they don’t come on at all either you have a burned out bulb or an electrical problem. An electrical problem can be expensive and very labor intensive to fix – but they are usually vary rare. So lets first look at the bulb. The bulb unscrews out of the back of the headlight lens on most newer cars (on older cars with glass headlights the whole lens is the bulb and you just replace it with a new glass replacement $10 – $20 at Walmart). After removing the bulb, look at it. Does it look burned out? Is it black, melted, discolored? If so, replace with a new one. You can purchase replacements at your local automotive store or Walmart for under $20. Insert the new bulb or bulbs and make sure not to touch the glass part of the bulb with your fingers – the grease we emit on our fingers will cause the bulb to wear more quickly or even blow. After installing the bulb try the lights. 99% of the time this is the reason they will not turn on. If it still doesn’t light you have an electrical problem and this should be referred to your local mechanic.

If you have water in your lens this is caused by a leak, crack, or hole in the lens. With the newer plastic lenses you need to remove the lens and then carefully drill a small hole into the bottom of the lens (be careful not to hit the bulb. Let the water run out and then patch with silicone (easily obtained at Walmart or your local automotive store). Then find the source of the water. Usually the seals start to go bad after 3-5 years. You can cover the seal around the lens with silicone to reseal the lens. If the leak was caused by a crack a clear sealant like urethane can be used to seal the crack or small hole. If it is a large hole it would be best to replace the lens.

The other major problem is cloudy, yellow headlight lenses which can lead to diminished output, poor nighttime visibility and basically an unsafe car. There are now headlight repair, restorer and cleaner kits available to cure this problem. In the past you had to resort to replacing your lenses which can be very expensive – $200+ per lens not including installation and labor at your local car dealer. Now for under $20 you can fully restore your headlight lenses to like new optical clarity and greatly improve your nighttime safety. For more information on these kits please see the link below.

There you have it – the three biggest problems with automotive headlights and how to fix and repair them for greater safety for nighttime driving – and save big by doing it yourself. Please take the time to make your headlights and rest of your car as safe as possible. As having volunteered for a volunteer emergency squad for years I have personally witnessed dozens of fatal crashes that could have easily been avoided by just properly repairing and fixing the headlights. Be safe, drive safe – remember the life you save may be your own. Please pass this around so that it may benefit as many people as possible and increase the safety on our roads.

Auto Glass Repair vs Replacement

Whenever such a situation occurs, the first thing that arises in our mind is which option we should choose – repair or replacement. If we go for repair rather than the replacement then certainly we can save some money. Modern windshields have been designed to be repairable. Nowadays special injections are coming into the automobile glass market that contain a special resin which is injected into the damaged area using unique tools that attach directly to the glass.

Some chips or cracks may react successfully to the repair whereas some may not. Windshield repair is like first aid. If you leave a crack and do not fix it, then it may cause more severe damage and the condition of the windshield can get much worse.

If a tiny size chip is just in front of your driving seat, then a quick repair is must as this may hinder your vision. Windshield repair can be quarter sized or up to 3 inches long. But some advance techniques can repair up to 12 inches long cracks. For more than 12-inch cracks, only replacement is suggested.

Major thing that needs to be considered is the location and size of the damage. If damage is at the edge of the windshield then it will spread fast and will destroy the integrity of the glass. If any edge damage is found then repair it soon. It will save the life of your windshield.

Some of current techniques do no repair those cracks that directly come into the view of driver’s line of sight because a small distortion may still left behind. In that case replacement would be a wise decision. Cost of the repair is entirely depending upon the damage of the windshield. If the cracks are quite long or around 12 inches then charges will be higher.

Certainly if you go for replacement then your insurance company may not pay you the entire replacement amount but in case of repair they may pay the total expenditure. So repair is a more economical process.

Windshield repair or replacement is totally depending upon the size and location of the damage and cracks. So, before going for any of these options just consult a glass specialist who can examine your shield and suggest if a repair will work or not. If damage from an accident is quite big then do not compromise your life, as you know better that windshield replacement is a necessity. Just bear in mind that your life is more valuable than anything else.

Properly Balanced Tyres

Properly balanced tyres can mean the difference between a good or bad driving experience. Some cars are much more sensitive to an out of balance tyre, however, no car rides properly when there is a vibration coming from the tyres, not to mention vibration means increased wear. This is why it’s important to have your tyres balanced regularly.

An out of balance tyre will affect ride quality, shorten the life of your tyres, bearings, shocks and other suspension components. If you have a vibration that increases when your speed increases, the problem is, most likely, related to your tyre balancing.

Another primary cause of vibrations is that the tyre and wheel assembly isn’t perfectly round. This includes your wheels and tyres. The problem is when the high spot on the tyre, is matched to the high spot on the wheel.

This effectively doubles the amount of “hop” or runout. If rebalancing doesn’t cure the problem, you need to have your professional installer check the runout of the tyre. If there is a “hop”, most often the problem can be fixed by simply rotating the tyre on the wheel slightly.

The technician should loosen the tyre on the wheel, and turn it 180 degrees, then reinflate the tyre after relubricating the bead. The runout should be significantly reduced or eliminated, and if it’s not, they should try it again, but this time rotate it only 90 degrees. If this still doesn’t work they should then try rotating it 180 degrees on the third try.

This means that the high spot on the tyre has been tried at each quarter of the wheel. The tyre should be good and round at one of those points. Then the tyres can be rebalanced, and should run properly. However, if this doesn’t solve the problem then there is an issue with either the tyre, the wheel or some other component on the vehicle.

Oil Monitoring Systems

Mercedes calls their unit a “Flexible Service System”. The FSS on some Mercedes vehicles monitors actual oil quality as well as operating conditions (such as the number of cold starts, average engine temp, mileage driven, oil sump level, rpms, etc.). To measure oil quality, there is actually a sensor that measures the electrical conductivity of the oil. The higher the conductivity of the oil, the greater the need for an oil change, according to Mercedes. Of course, this isn’t likely a perfect model, and will not be nearly as accurate as an actual oil analysis in determining true oil quality, but it is better than no measurement at all.

At any rate, as electrical conductivity increases, this value is combined with all of the operating condition data and run through a special algorithm to determine if the oil is ready for a change. When a change is necessary, a light will flash on the instrument panel indicating such.

The other Mercedes FSS unit, which will be somewhat less accurate, does not actually measure the electrical conductivity of the oil, so it is not testing the quality of the oil in any way. It does, however, measure all of the operating conditions and uses the algorithm to predict when an oil change will be necessary.

This is actually how the GM oil monitoring system works. It does not measure oil quality via electrical conductivity or via any other means. It simply measures operating conditions and “calculates” when an oil change should be necessary based upon those conditions.

So, How Accurate Are These Units? Can They Be Trusted?

That’s a tough question to answer at this point. First off, these systems haven’t been in use long enough to really have much in the way of hard statistics comparing vehicle/engine life with or without these systems in place. Second, many drivers do not trust the longer drain intervals recommended by these units and change the oil sooner anyway, offering, again, little data to show whether the drain intervals recommended by these systems are conservative enough to maintain engine protection equal to that attained with shorter change intervals.

Since these units do not FULLY measure oil quality, in the same way that an actual oil analysis would, it is unlikely that they are completely accurate, but there is good reason to believe that they are fairly accurate.

The problem, from my perspective is, how were the limits set? Quite frankly, it’s in the best interests of vehicle manufacturers to have their engines begin to decline in performance somewhere shortly after the 100,000 mile marker. Many people these days don’t expect a vehicle to perform well much beyond 100K, so building a vehicle and recommending maintenance practices that will help the vehicle perform longer than that is not in the best interest of the OEMs.

So, I would be willing to bet that, if you are an individual that likes to keep your vehicle as long as possible, oil quality limits have been set to a lower standard than would be appropriate to getting the absolute most mileage from your vehicle. It really only stands to reason.

How many companies do you know of these days that build MORE quality into their products than their typical customer expects? Not many. In fact, unfortunately, I’d be willing to bet that most of us could count on one hand the number of products we’ve purchased over the past year that offered quality/durability that was BETTER than we expected. Although this is a sad commentary on the business world we currently live in, it is a pretty accurate reflection of the attitude of most companies these days. Why would today’s automobile manufacturers be any different?

Of course, that being said, I have no proof of the above statements. There do not appear to be any websites out there collecting oil analysis data from GM and Mercedes owners to compare the ACTUAL oil quality to that “measured” by the oil life monitors. I looked. In fact, if you happen to know of one, please let me know – I’d love to see the results. I’m guessing I know what they’d be, but I’m certainly open to the possibility that I’m wrong.

I think the main thing to remember is, nobody yet REALLY knows just how accurate these oil monitoring systems are nor how conservative their oil change interval recommendations are. So, be careful how much trust you put on their oil change interval recommendations.

Syn vs. Petro – Does INITIAL Oil Quality Affect Recommendations

Well, that’s an interesting question. As it turns out, these systems can’t tell whether you’ve got synthetic or petroleum oil in the crankcase, and, this DOES make a difference. In fact, we can see this in the light of a class action lawsuit that was filed against Mercedes Benz a few years back.

Apparently, the MB FSS assumes the use of synthetic oil in the engine. Most Europeans are using synthetic oil by default, since typical oil drain intervals in Europe are MUCH longer than those recommended here in the states (although that gap is closing). In contrast, most North American drivers are still using petroleum oil.

Well, there were no significant warnings given to these MB owners with regard to the FSS units and the use of petroleum vs. synthetic oils. So, many users were utilizing petroleum oils and using the FSS as a guide for when to change their oil. Unfortunately, since the FSS was designed to recommend SYNTHETIC oil drain intervals, severe sludging was occurring in these vehicles. The petroleum oil simply couldn’t hold up for the oil change intervals the FSS was recommending. Bad news for your engine.

In the end, the vehicle owners won their suit and there was a 32 million dollar settlement issued against Mercedes. It is my understanding that MB is now very careful to make it explicitly clear what type oils should be used in order to rely on the results of their FSS monitor.

So, clearly it makes a difference. And, since these systems can’t tell what type of oil you’re using, you’ll need to adjust accordingly. The way I understand it, the GM units assume petroleum oil usage (with the exception of vehicles which specifically require synthetic lubricants – such as the Corvette). So, if you’re using synthetic oil in a GM vehicle that does not specifically require it, the oil life monitor will likely “go off” much sooner than necessary.

I have heard that you can have the dealership adjust these units to account for the fact that you’re using synthetic oil, but, even then, there are significant differences in quality from one synthetic to another, so this may still not be completely accurate. If you’re using a premium synthetic oil which is designed for much longer oil drain intervals (such as AMSOIL’s 25,000 mile oils or Mobil 1 Extended Performance 15,000 mile oils), the unit will very likely “trigger” sooner than necessary. However, at least you’ll know that you have a considerable margin of error due to the enhanced quality that is built into those oils.