• Replace Front Struts (Subaru Forester)

    When driving your Subaru Forester, whether for commuting or recreating, there will come a time when the front starts will need to be replaced. When this time comes, don’t immediately feel like you need to shell out all your hard earned money for a mechanic to install new ones. When you need to replace your front struts, simply follow this do-it-yourself guide, and you’ll be replacing them like a pro in no time (And for less money too!).

    • Make sure you have all the necessary parts and tools prior to removing anything. The only part you will need is the replacement front struts. The tools you will need are a jack, jack stands, a socket set, a lug nut remover, a breaker bar, wrenches, WD-40 or other rust repellent, a mallet or hammer, a flathead screwdriver, and a metal pipe.
    • To begin this project, you will need to remove the lug nuts from the wheel that is on the side you are removing the first strut from. You will need the car’s lug nut remover and the metal pipe for leverage. After loosening the lug nuts, jack the car up and make sure to lay out your jack stands as well. You should then be able to remove the lug nuts and the wheel itself.
    • Now, you should see two bolts that are just above the wheel assembly and attached to the strut itself. These two bolts must be removed by using your socket set, the breaker bar and a wrench. Your Subaru Forester’s bolts should be 18 mm sockets and the other side of those bolts should have the respective wrench holding it in place. Loosen the two bolts with the breaker bar, then use your ratchet to remove the nuts. Leave the top bolt in for the time being. You may need to use you your mallet or hammer to tap the bolts out, and possibly a screwdriver with the mallet if the bolt only comes out halfway. If the bolt is really stuck, spray both bolts with WD-40 to help loosen them up.
    • Before you can remove the old front strut, you need to make sure any of the additional wheel assembly parts that find their way into the engine are not attached to it. This may include the brake line or ABS sensor. Remove the bolts or clips holding them to the strut before continuing.
    • Next, find your way to the top of the strut, which is under the hood. You will see three bolts coming from the strut, that must be removed. Be sure to use the leverage of an extender bar or other part so as to break the bolts free with relative ease. Once you have removed those bolts, remove the one bolt that was left in the strut earlier.
    • You should now be able to wiggle the strut out and into the open air. To install the new one, simply reverse the order in which you removed the strut. If you need to assemble the new front struts that you are installing in your car, make sure to use the compressor carefully.
      • Preloaded quick-struts may be more expensive, but they’re also a safer and quicker to install. It may possibly be a better solution, as they come with all new springs, bushings, insulators, bump stops, bearings, and fasteners.

    After you complete this project and safely lower your vehicle onto your new front struts, you will feel a sense of pride as you no longer bounce freely along the roadway. You may want to consider having a four-wheel alignment performed, as the new struts may skew alignment angles and lead to abnormal tire wear. Replacing your Subaru Forester’s front struts yourself is the perfect way to both save money and give your car the necessary maintenance it needs, all with your own bare hands.

    Photo by NRMA via Foter.com / CC BY

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  • Inspect and Replace a Wheel Cylinder (Toyota Camry & Others)

    The intricate parts and pieces of a Toyota Camry brake system can seem overwhelming at first. Whether you are new to DIY auto repair or are an experienced mechanic, keeping a car well-maintained is a bold task, especially as it ages and accumulates miles. One task for keeping your car maintained correctly is making sure your wheel cylinders are working. Whether or not you feel like there is something wrong with them, it’s important to inspect them regularly and replace them if necessary. To inspect them, check to see if there is any fluid coming from the ends of wheel cylinder. If there is, it is most likely time to replace them. How can you accomplish this? Take a look at our easy guide for replacing a wheel cylinder on your Toyota Camry.

    • First, you need to purchase a new wheel cylinder. Depending on your make and model, there may be a left-specific or right-specific wheel cylinder, so make sure you purchase the correct part.
    • Next gather the correct tools for the project. This may include: a socket set, that includes 8mm and 10mm sockets; vise grips; tools for removing brake drums and shoes, brake cleaner, and the appropriate sockets for the wheel well; a line wrench (very important so be sure to have a few for different size bolts; gear wrenches; a screwdriver; penetrating oil; an oil pan.
    • Once you have the correct tools, jack up your car and remove the wheel. You will also need to take the brake drum off, so follow the correct procedure for removing them.
    • Once the drum is off, you don’t necessarily need to take the shoes off. The adjuster under the wheel cylinder can expand the shoes out, allowing you to squeeze the wheel cylinder out as well. Before worrying about that though, go ahead and spray brake cleaner over the entire wheel well. This will help take all the dust and some of the rust off the area you will be working in. Be sure to have the oil pan underneath the wheel area to catch the runoff. Also, wear a dust mask, as brake dust tends to accumulate in the drum and on brake parts.
    • Now, after adjusting the shoes out of the way, grab your vise grip and clamp the rubber brake line. Only clamp it enough to keep brake fluid from running out. If you’re concerned about damaging the brake line, wait until you have disconnected the brake line from the wheel cylinder to cap it or plug it with a rubber cap or plug.
    • Spray the back of the wheel cylinder with penetrating oil, where the mounting bolts and the brake line connect.
    • The next step is to remove the brake line. It’s very important for you to use a line wrench for this part. You do not want to round off the end of the brake line. If you notice the brake line moving and wanting to turn with the bolt that’s holding it in, do not keep turning. Make sure the line is not attached to the cylinder, but do not go any further. Detach the two fastener bolts next to the line, then spin the wheel cylinder off instead. If the brake line is not spinning with the bolt, then just continue with unscrewing the bolt itself. Then unscrew the two fastener bolts next to the line.
    • Once you remove the fasteners, you should be able to squeeze the sides of the wheel cylinder in and pull it out. You may need to wiggle it out.
    • You can now get the new wheel cylinder ready. Squeeze the sides, so you can insert it correctly into the hole. Have your brake line lined up with the new wheel cylinder as well. The new cylinder will have a bleeder valve that you can remove before installation, if that makes it any easier. There is also a plug that is inside the new wheel cylinder that must be removed.
    • Once the new cylinder is in place, go ahead and start tightening the brake line into it. It’s important to do the brake line first so as to not cause any cross-threading. Then start the fasteners. Finally tighten them both down, and install the bleeder valve.
    • You will now want to use the adjuster under the wheel cylinder to adjust the brake shoes back into their correct placement. Remove the vise grip from the brake line as well.
    • You can now attach the brake drum onto the wheel well. Make sure to bleed your brakes and test out the action of the wheel cylinder.

    Replacing your Toyota Camry’s wheel cylinder is a project that any DIYer can do from their own garage. As long as you have the right tools, proper safety techniques, and follow these instructions, you will be a wheel cylinder replacement pro in no time!

    Photo credit: dave_7 via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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  • How to Test Shocks

    Does your car feel like it’s traveling through an earthquake, when you are simply driving down a gravel driveway? Does it feel like you have a fantastic surround sound system, as the imaginary sub-woofer bounces you down the highway? These symptoms may lead you to a puzzling question: is it time to change my vehicle’s shocks? That question is an excellent one, and can be easily answered by testing them. Take a look at the following steps to checking the efficiency of your currently installed shocks.

    • Although driving your car regularly allows you to see a general need for shocks, doing a physical test yourself can confirm your suspicions. The first way to test your shocks, is by driving your vehicles in an empty parking lot or other paved area. After making sure that there is nothing in front of you, hit the gas. After a brief moment hit the brakes, hard. Try to feel what the car is doing. If the back seems to continue bounce after slamming the brakes, it may mean you need to change the rear shocks. If the front actually tilts in when you slam the brakes, it could mean your front shocks need to be replaced. Either side-effect is an excellent way of seeing which shocks are needing to be cared for.
    • Another way of seeing if your shocks are needing to be replaced is by making the car bounce. To do that, you will actually need to push a corner of the car down, with your own hands, and then release the corner. If the car bounces more than a couple times, than its definitely time to change the shocks.
    • The third way you can test your shocks for efficiency and wear, is by doing it the old-fashioned way, a visual inspection. When you look at the shocks, check for any dents, any bending, or oil leakage. These signs confirm that it is time to change them. Also, if you look at your tires and see some bald spots, then it probably means your shocks are giving too much bounce.

    Once you have figured out whether or not you need to replace your shocks, it’s now time to put the work in. If your shocks are ok but you still have those crazy symptoms while driving, then make sure to figure out what the other issue could be. If your shocks are needing to be replaced, then follow the next steps in seeing what type of shocks your car has, and what you will need to replace them.

    • If your car has McPherson struts or coil-over shocks, then replacing them involves extreme care and special tools. The reason for this is that the struts and coil-overs are under pressure must be compressed with specific tools, in order to remove and replace them. Additionally, after you have replaced the struts or coil-overs, you will also need to get an alignment on your vehicle as well. The special care that goes into replacing struts and coil-overs inspires most to take their vehicle to a professional.
    • If your vehicle has simple shock absorbers, then replacing them is a far easier and safer DIY task. If you have the proper safety equipment, such as a jack and jack stands, and your basic DIY car repair tools, then replacing shock absorbers can be a quick maintenance project. If you have a truck, most likely everything underneath is easy to get to and see, so shock absorbers could take just 20 minutes to replace. If, however, you have a smaller passenger car that has shock absorbers, you may need to go in the cabin and remove seats to get to the shocks.

    Your shocks are what keep you tied to the road and ensure you have full control of your vehicle at all times. This means you must keep an eye on when they need to be replaced, and go through the necessary testing to figuring that out. Once you know it’s time to replace them, don’t procrastinate in getting the work done. Keeping your shocks efficient is an important step in making sure you, your passengers, and everyone around you are safe from the hazardous bounce of an untamed shock.

    Photo credit: Yogendra174 via Foter.com / CC BY

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  • How to Repair a Windshield Chip

    NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BROKEN WINDSHIELDS. Those words basically kiss you as you are stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic with no way to get around the construction truck painted with that sentence. You try to do everything in your power to fall farther back from the truck, or make it into another lane, but all your efforts are in vain. Suddenly, as an opening appears in the lane beside yours, you start to accelerate and merge into your escape zone. Just as you do this, like a sick joke, the truck kicks back a stone, right into your windshield. The windshield chip that remains from the rogue pebble sends an angry shutter down your spine. Is your windshield now needing to be replaced? All from an unforeseeable and unavoidable piece of gravel? If you get to it quick enough, you might be able to repair the windshield chip before it begins to spread or expand. How? Follow this simple guide in repairing a windshield clip.

    • To begin the repair, you need to go to a store and get a windshield chip repair kit. These can often be found at a Wal-Mart or any auto parts store.
    • Once you have chosen a kit, you can begin the repair process. You want to have an absolutely dry windshield, which means you probably don’t want to do this job on a rainy day. If the area is wet, use a blow dryer to dry the spot. The windshield needs to be clean, at least around the windshield chip. Use a little acetone to clean this area but make sure it is only a little bit, so that it doesn’t drip anywhere.
    • This next step can be different, depending on what kind of windshield chip repair kit you got. We will discuss a basic one, which will give you a better idea of how to fix the windshield chip yourself.
    • The one we used is a Loctite brand windshield chip repair, and is relatively simple to handle. It consists of an adhesive and a fitting/syringe to help apply it. To begin, start by removing the film on the adhesive, and applying it to the windshield crack.
    • Next attach the fitting in the upright position, letting it sit directly on the adhesive, completely vertical.
    • Now use the syringe, sticking it into the fitting, and holding the bottom part firmly to the fitting.
    • Next pull back on the syringe’s handle, for about a minute, letting the vacuum of the syringe pull all the impurities up and pushing the adhesive down.
    • Finally, let the handle go. The slamming pressure will push the adhesive into the chip, making sure it goes everywhere it needs to.
    • Once you’ve done this about 6 or 7 times, remove the syringe, adapter, and adhesive and the original adhesive sheet. There will be a small bit of film left over that you can scrape off with a razor blade, but give the adhesive a few hours to cure before you do this.

    This easy to use kit makes it possible to fix that irritating chip, without having to replace the whole glass. The way the adhesive glides into the crack, while the syringe pulls out all the water and dirt, makes sure you end up with a beautiful finish. So if you ever get a windshield chip, whether by an unavoidable stone or by some other tragic chip maker, all is not lost.  If you follow the steps laid out in this guide and on the windshield chip repair kit correctly, and let the adhesive work its magic, then the kit will leave you nothing but a feint reminder of that frustrating piece of highway debris.

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  • How to Clean Tough Stains and Odors in Your Car

    We have probably all done it. Driving on a sunny afternoon, windows are down and the radio is cranked to a near-deafening level. We bought an ice-cold caramel-colored soda from the gas station, eager to sooth our now parched throat and mouth, due to our attempt at keeping up with the radio’s mix of tunes. Out of nowhere a truck pulls out in front of us, causing us to slam on the brakes. The result is an undesired change of color to the car interior. Another situation that you may find yourself in, is forgetting a perishable in your car, allowing it to create a particular smell that can only be described as revolting.

    Whether you find yourself in one of these situations, or in another one that has caused terrible stains or smells, do not worry. We have a DIY guide for helping you in cleaning the toughest of stains and the heaviest of odors. So grab your gloves and safety glasses, because we are getting down and dirty in this guide.

    For Stains:

    • To start, you will want to gather the appropriate cleaning supplies. To deep clean your carpet, a portable carpet cleaning machine is the way to go. The machine soaks a mixture of water and soap into the carpet then sucks it back up into the machine. This process of “shampooing” your cars rugs can really assist with removing stains, as well as really cleaning the carpet.
    • If you like going the chemical-free way, you can pour vinegar onto the spot, soaking the stain, then pour a small bit of baking soda onto it. Then, after letting it sit, giving it time to pull up the dirt and grime from the stain, scrub the spot with a firm brush to fully get the stain out. Repeat as necessary.
    • You can do this on the upholstery, but use caution when pouring the vinegar. Try not to use much, so that it dries quicker.

    For Smells:

    • For any odors that your car may have, you can use baking soda to eliminate them. Some people are allergic to air fresheners, so baking soda is an excellent alternative.
    • Before applying, make sure you have removed any sources of the smell, which probably should start with removing trash and deep-cleaning the carpets and seats. This will make sure the baking soda can do its job to the full.
    • Then, sprinkle the baking soda over the floors and seats. Let it sit overnight, so it can soak up the odors, then vacuum it up the next day.
    • If you have leather seats, pour baking soda into small containers. Place them throughout your car for most efficient coverage and odor absorption. The baking soda will absorb the odor particles in the air and in the fabric, making it smell new again.

    Cleaning your car can be a rewarding experience. No matter how nice the exterior of your car looks, your car interior is what separates class from trash. So never fear that your spilled soda or forgotten fruit has ruined your car interior. If you follow this simple guide to cleaning stains and odors in your car, then you’ll be cruising in cleanliness, in no time.

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  • How to Replace a Front CV Axle on your Mazda

    If you are wanting to replace a front CV axle on your Mazda, then we have just the guide for you! This step by step DIY guide, will help you with your front axle replacement and help make it a professional and safe experience.

    • To start, you will need to grab the necessary tools for the project. What you need for your front axle replacement includes: an impact wrench (if possible), a torque wrench (absolutely), a socket set, a wrench set, a sledgehammer, penetrating oil and transmission fluid (for lubrication), an oil pan, and a new or rebuilt front CV axle. You will also be lifting the car, so a proper jack and jack stands are important in making your project a safe one.
    • Next, you will need to lift the side of the vehicle that you will be doing the front axle replacement on, using correct and safe lifting techniques. Once it’s up in the air, remove the wheel.
    • Using the impact wrench, you will need to remove the oversized nut in the center of the wheel assembly. If you do not have an impact wrench, you can reattach the wheel, and lower the car to apply pressure to it. You should then be able to break the axle nut loose with a long-handle socket wrench. Do not use the torque wrench for this task, as you can easily ruin its calibration, which will be important for when you put the axle nut back on.
    • Next, after taking the axle nut off, you will see the CV axle thread. If you push in on it, it should be loose. If it isn’t, then you can hit it a few times with your hammer, to loosen it up. Depending on age, mileage, and environment, this may require penetrating oil and well-measured aggression with the hammer.
    • You are going to want to remove the lower ball joint, to allow the whole wheel assembly to slide out of the way of the CV axle. You can locate the lower ball joint under the wheel well, as it is the metal piece holding the wheel in place. To remove it, you must take off the two bolts underneath the joint.
    • Once the joint is off, you should be able to move the whole wheel system out of your way, while simultaneously pushing on the CV axle. The axle should have enough movement to come out of the wheel well.
    • The next step is to get the other side of the CV axle out of the transmission. You may want to set the oil pan under the socket to catch any falling oil. To do this, you will need a flathead screwdriver to wedge in between the CV axle and the socket it has been pressed into. Simply stick the screwdriver in between and use enough pressure to slowly unhinge the seal. If it is too hard to get out, use the hammer to gently hit the screwdriver into the side of the CV axle, near the connection point of the axle/transmission, but not directly on it. It should then pop free, allowing you to pull the CV axle out. Usually, a single sharp blow is all that is needed to dislodge the spring clip holding it in place.
    • Now that the old axle is free, get the new one ready for installation. You can lather the CV axle with transmission fluid, and start inserting it in the transmission socket. If it doesn’t set in there easily, you can tap on the other end with the hammer. Once it’s inside, you can move the wheel back over and reattach the lower ball joint. Again, one sharp push is all that is necessary to properly slip the retainer ring and seat the axle. Make sure that the axle is fully seated, or fluid will leak and the axle will fall out later. Pro Tip: When inserting the inner axle, it usually goes easier if you put the open end of the retainer ring at the 6 o’clock position (down).

    Finally, put the outer axle back into the hub, reattach the lower ball joint, and replace the axle nut. Use the torque wrench to set the nut to 125-175 lb•ft of torque (check the repair manual for your specific Mazda). Put the wheel back on, and you are good to go! Pro Tip: Do final-torque the axle nut before putting the wheel on and putting it on the ground. Otherwise, the weight of the vehicle could damage the uncompressed wheel bearing.

    A front axle replacement can be a hard job, but a rewarding one as well.

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  • How to Replace a Toyota Battery

    There comes a time in the life of every car, including your Toyota, that you will need to replace the battery. The battery is key to starting your vehicle, and for it to run correctly. This means, when your Toyota begins to have trouble starting, that the battery most likely needs to be replaced. If it isn’t holding a charge or lacking the necessary power, then you know you need to replace your battery. Though it may seem a little daunting, replacing the heart of your Toyota, installing a new battery in your vehicle is a job you are surely capable of doing. With this guide, you will be well on your way to replacing car batteries like a pro.

    • To start, you need to make sure you have the right battery for your Toyota. For your particular model, you may need to look it up in your manual or online. If you are picking the battery up from a local auto parts store, then that store should have the directory for batteries. Once you have found the correct battery, you are ready for the replacement process.
    • When you are at a place, whether your driveway or garage or another safe work environment, and have all the necessary tools (ratchet or wrench with appropriate sockets or measurements and pliers), you can go ahead and shut off your engine and remove the key from the ignition. Turn off your headlights and any other drain on your battery, ensuring a safer atmosphere. It would be a good idea to wear gloves and safety glasses, to prevent any battery acid or debris from getting in your eyes or harming your skin.
    • Start the removal portion of this process by disconnecting the negative battery terminal cable. To do this, you must lift the clamp cover, normally a soft protective cover, and then loosen the cable/clamp with your wrench or pliers. Once it has been loosened, wiggle the cable/clamp back and forth, while pulling up, to completely disconnect the cable from the terminal base. Next, do this exact process on the positive battery terminal. Pro Tip: Always remove the negative terminal first, marked with a (–), then the positive terminal, marked with a (+).
    • You will now start to completely remove the battery itself. You can do this by removing the hold-down bracket. Loosen one of the bolts on the bracket and remove the other one. You can then swivel the clamp assembly out of the way, allowing the battery to be lifted out. Understand, when removing the bracket, make sure your tools or parts do not touch the positive terminal, as this can create sparks or even cause an explosion.
    • You should now be able to lift the old battery out of its socket and onto an old towel or newspaper. This is important so as to not let any possible battery acid escape onto your garage floor or elsewhere.
    • Before installing the new battery, check your cables and clamps. Check for any corrosion or damage to the cable or inside the battery socket, noticing any necessary repairs. If there is corrosion, you can use a combination of water and baking soda to wash the compartment, the cables, and the bracket. A specialty battery cleaning brush can be helpful in cleaning terminal clamps.
    • You can now start the new installation step of the process. Make sure you carefully lift and set the new battery in the right spot and direction. Do not tip or tilt the battery and make sure the cables can reach and are put in the right positions. Pro Tip: Confirm that the positive and negative battery terminals will connect to the positive and negative cables. One millisecond error, connecting the battery backwards, could blow a fuse or fry a computer!
    • When the battery is set in the right spot, reattach the hold-down bracket. Tighten to a snug fit, just enough to hold the battery down, or else you may damage the battery case.
    • Next, install the positive battery terminal cable. Push down on the clamp until you see it is flush with the terminal top. You can then tighten the bolt down, as with the case of the bracket, do not overtighten the cable clamp either. Do the same step with the negative battery terminal cable as well. Pro Tip: As with disconnecting the battery, always connect the positive terminal first, then the negative terminal.
    • Make sure you remove all tools and supplies from the engine bay, and you should be ready to start your car!
    • Make sure you bring your old battery to a recycling station or a dealer, normally the place you bought the new battery from will give you a little money back if you bring the old one back after the replacement. Also, it is a good idea to record your mileage and the date is recorded, so that you can keep track of the maintenance done to your Toyota.

    If you follow these simple steps to replace your Toyota’s battery, you should have no trouble practicing your DIY skills on a necessary, but doable, project.

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  • How to Replace a Front Brake Caliper (93-97 Toyota Corolla)

    Replacing your 1993-1997 Toyota Corolla’s front brake caliper may seem like a daunting project, but honestly, aside from the time necessary for replacing the brake caliper, it is quite doable for all you DIY-ers out there. Follow the steps in this guide and you will soon become your Toyota Corolla’s master brake caliper replacer.

    Toyota Corolla Front Caliper

    Toyota Corolla Front Caliper

    • Step 1- To start with, make sure you have all your necessary tools for the project at hand. You do not want to be halfway through the project and realize that you are missing something, and have no way of driving away to gather what you forgot. After getting the correct tools and supplies, go ahead and lift your vehicle. Remember to use proper jacking techniques and jack stands, to ensure your working environment is a safe one.
    • Step 2- Make sure to turn your wheel your direction, for whichever side you are working on. Then remove the tire. You should now be seeing your brake caliper, and when you do, go ahead and remove the upper and lower bolts that are holding it.
    • Step 3- You can now remove the brake line that is connected to your Toyota Corolla’s brake caliper. You should try to buy brake lines plugs, in order to keep the fluid from leaking out completely and in order to keep the brake fluid from being contaminated by the air.
    • Step 4- Now is the time to pull out the new brake caliper. Bolt it on before reattaching the brake line. Once it is installed, you can now reattach the brake line. Understand, it is very important to add the two new copper rings, in order to prevent any leaks. It is also good to keep in mind that you should not over-tighten the line, but rather, just enough to keep it sealed.
    • Step 5- Make sure to fill up your brake fluid container, so that you can bleed the air out. If you have a self-bleeder, then that is good. If you don’t however, you should enlist the help of a friend. While you are tightening and opening the bleeder, you should have your friend pushing the pedal to the ground. This will push all the air out of the end of the brake line and the caliper.
    • Step 6- Keep in mind while you are doing this part of the project, that you shouldn’t reuse old brake fluid, and don’t bleed you brakes while the car is running.
    • Step 7- Check to make sure everything fits and where is it should be, and that there are no leaks to work on. Wipe the area down with a rag, have your friend push down on the brake pedal, while you check one last time. Once you see that everything is good, you are good to go!
    Changing the front Brake caliper on your Toyota Corolla can seem like it is going to be a difficult challenge to complete, but it is possible. Just keep looking at these specific steps, to help guide you during your DIY project with your brake calipers. With the right guide and solid willpower, you can replace your front brake caliper in no time.

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  • Proper Care and Use of Metal Files

    A metal file can be an extremely handy tool for many DIY auto repair situations. There are different types metal files you can use for the wealth of filing situations that occur during your auto repair projects. The variety of metal files you can use is actually astounding, all useful for different aspects of auto repair. There are files with more teeth, that are extremely fine, with an almost sandpaper grit. There are other files, with larger more spread out teeth, and others with a mix of both. Some are round files, half-round files, flat files, triangle files, etc. The different types can help you with all your filing needs. Unfortunately, they can only help if they are properly taken care of and used correctly. Here is a guide for proper use and care for whenever you are using your reliable metal files.

    • As stated previously, there are a variety of files for different situations and needs that arise. Depending on the shape or placement of the work piece that you are working on, you may need the different shapes and sizes to fit and file correctly. Choosing the right file for the right situation can really ensure you keep each metal file you own, cared for. Remember: Proper care can make your metal files last, and make them viable, for a long time.
    • When choosing the right file, it is a good idea to not only look at the shape or size of the file itself, but also look at the metal file teeth pattern. The rougher the teeth, the rougher the cut. The benefit of a rougher file is the very fact that they are meant for taking larger chunks out of the pieces you are working on, and so it helps save your smoother files for finish work on the product. Double cut files with actually have two different cut patterns making up the teeth. These are especially meant for taking out larger portions of material from your product, while single cut files, files with only one pattern set making up the teeth, are meant for a finer finish.
    • Once you have decided what file would be best, knowing the proper care technique before you start filing is a good idea. When you file, metal shards and chips may find their way into the teeth of your metal file. This is called pinning. If you think your metal file has lost its even finishing ability, it doesn’t necessarily mean its worn out. It probably means that the shards of metal have created a barrier between the metal file and the work piece. To reduce pinning, take a little bit of oil or chalk, and rub it across the teeth. This can help loosen the metallic pins. If that doesn’t work, you can use a file card, a special wire brush with short bristles, to brush in between the teeth. For a finer file, use a sturdy paint brush instead.
    • When you are filing, using the correct process and technique will help you get the longest use out of your metal file. The correct way is to only apply the file, and pressure to the file, on the forward stroke. This is where the teeth will make contact with the work piece, allowing the shaving process to occur. Also, for an even shave, you will want to move sideways down the product, while continuing to push forward evenly on the strokes. This can prevent divots and uneven spots.
    • An alternative way of filing, is draw filing. Using the file completely sideways towards the material you are filing, push forward in fluid straight motions. Though it may not file as quickly, this can create smoother, squarer, finishes.
    • Finally, metal files do not have to be used on metal alone, they can be used on many other materials, such as plastics, ceramics, wood, and even glass, making them exceptionally versatile tools to have around. No matter what you are filing, clean out the files after every few minutes of work, to keep them working properly

    Using the correct methods of use and care on your metal files can help make you completely satisfied with your metal file product, on every project. This will keep your teeth, and your metal file’s teeth, smiling whenever you DIY.

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  • When and How to Change Wiper Blades

    Windshield wipers, the automotive equivalent to your eyelids, are designed for driving in the rain and for keeping your windshield clean of dirt, bugs, and other visual impairments. The wiper blade, the focal point of a windshield wiper, pushes and pulls things off the windshield.

    This makes driving safe and allows you to keep your eyes focused on where they should be, the open road ahead. Unfortunately, with the pressure and consistent friction on the rubber, makes a windshield wiper blade wear, and therefore decreases the efficiency of the windshield wiper. Exposure to the sun also breaks down the rubber, making it less flexible and useful. Sometimes, if left for extended periods of time without replacement, the windshield wipers can actually make it harder to drive in the rain, as they will smear the water and dirt across the windshield. This makes it extremely important to replace them on a regular basis, judging their replacement times on how well they work.

    So when you know it is time to replace your windshield wipers, how do you? Here is a simple guide to get you back to driving with a safe view ahead.

    • First, when you are going to replace your windshield wipers, you first need to figure out whether you will be replacing the whole windshield wiper blade, or just the rubber insert.
    • Once you have figured out what you are planning to replace, head to your local auto shop or go online to buy your replacement. In an auto store, they should have a booklet explaining what size wiper blade you need for your vehicle. If they don’t, looking it up in your manual or online will tell you. Of course, you would simply remove the wiper blades and match them up at the autoparts store. It is best to have the replacements before you remove the old wiper blades, in case an unexpected storm happens.
    • After retrieving your new wiper blades or windshield wipers, you can begin the removal of the old ones. If you are replacing the whole windshield wiper, it is relatively simple to remove the old one. Basically, you just need to unclip the assembly from the wiper arm, and then slide it off. If you are replacing only the rubber insert, then removing it takes a little more effort. You must first lift the wiper arm up. Then, tilt the blade itself to see the release tab. Open it and slide the assembly arm off. Now, pull the rubber wiper blade out, and be sure to hold onto the metal reinforcements.
    • For installation of the new windshield wipers, remember to check which size goes on which arm. Then simply clip it in to the appropriate slot. You don’t normally have to check sizes when it comes to installing new wiper blades, as the removal and installation of each wiper blade should happen at the same time. Just always make sure to put the correct size on the correct arm for both situations.
    • When installing the new wiper blades, go ahead and slide the metal reinforcement pieces in to the outer grooves. This will help the wiper blade keep its shape when sliding it in. When you slide the wiper blade through, check that it goes through each hook. Pro Tip: Always install new rubber inserts starting from the bottom of the blade, that is, the part of the blade that faces the hood. Otherwise, a poorly seated wiper insert could fly off the next time you try to use it!
    • Whether you replace the inserts or the whole windshield wiper blade, follow these steps on both arms, lower the arms down, and you are good to go!

    Don’t wait till your windshield wipers become completely useless to replace them, or the next rainstorm that happens while you are driving can be a lot more dangerous than it should be. Follow this guide and you will see how a simple DIY project can make a world of difference.

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