Category Archives: DIY Auto Repair

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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DIY Tools – How to Save Money

Do-it-yourself projects can be a great way to save money. Whether by saving you money on labor or being able to shop around for your own parts, DIY auto repair projects can be the way to help your wallet keep on storing your hard-earned money. The problem that can occur with DIY projects though, is the DIY tools necessary for the ongoing jobs you decide to take on. How can you save money, by doing it yourself, without compromising your saved money by buying tools? Here is a list of useful tips get the best deal possible on DIY tools.

  • The first deal you will want to keep in mind is the understanding that combo packs can save money. As with most products, buying in bulk gets you the most bang for your buck and when you are buying DIY tools, that pattern is not much different. The price of a combo pack of tools compared to buying each tool separately can be drastically different. Buying combo packs also saves money for you by the tools being compatible with each other, or more specifically, their battery requirements.
    This can be extremely helpful, but there can be some negative factors. For example, some tool companies may put tools that you don’t need inside the combo packs, in order to increase the attraction of the assortment of tools, without adding anything too expensive for them. Keep this in mind so you aren’t fooled by the draw of large combo packs, they can a lot of money, but they can sometimes fool you into buying something you don’t necessarily need.
    As stated before, having interchangeable functions for your batteries can be incredibly convenient, so sometimes sticking with the same brand can help with that convenience. It is not just convenient for you be able to have them but it can also save money. You don’t have to continue to buy batteries for a bunch of different types of tools, buying just one or two batteries saves money and space, and also makes sure that its convenient consistently.
  • Buying tools at different points in the year can save money as well, as certain holidays and specials may discount the needed DIY tools that originally can be above your price range. Getting these DIY tools for the best price in the year does take time and planning, but in can pay off if you can wait patiently for the discounted times in the year.
  • Sometimes buying DIY tools needed only for the job can save money too. Always thinking about whether you need a certain tool or not, before you buy it, will help you keep saving your money. If at all possible, avoid buying one-time-use tools. Instead, ask if a friend has one or see if it’s available for rent at your local autoparts store.
  • Searching for the best deal and searching for the cheapest tool are not the same thing. A deal implies that quality doesn’t change, but the price of the product is less than the original price. Certain cheap tools are ok, but many give you low-quality DIY tools that will break only after one-time-use, which you want to avoid. If you know you are going to need a specific tool for your next project or upcoming projects, and you know that the tool is expensive (even after a promotion), then maybe buying a quality DIY tool would be your best bet for saving money in the long-term.
  • The last tip to keep in mind, is always check online specials and deals. You can sometimes find specials that are online only This can you help save money and allows you to really com-pare and contrast the details and prices of the difference brands for your DIY tools as well.

Buying DIY tools can be a chore but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. If you follow the tips found in this article, when going to buy DIY tools for your different auto repair projects, then you will see the many ways you can save money, both in the now, and for the future.

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Know Your Limits – When It’s Time to Call a Professional

DIY auto repair projects can be both exciting and rewarding, as well as money-saving. Working on your vehicle, maintaining the many parts and pieces that keep your car running smoothly and efficiently can be a feeling like no other. DIY projects can teach you many knew things about yourself and a car, and they can also give you a lot of practice in using tools that you wouldn’t ordinarily use. Overall, DIY projects can be a lot of fun and can be a practical use of your time and energy.

Unfortunately, though, not all auto repairs are DIY projects, as there are certain things that can’t be done on your own, or at least shouldn’t be done. There are times where a necessary repair should be handled by a professional, such as your local certified master automobile technician. At what point should you decide to let a professional take care the problems with your vehicle? We will discuss a few situations in which you may feel it’s time to call the pros.

  • First, in the situation that may cause you to need or prefer a professional’s expertise, is finding out whether or not your car or the part that you need replacing is under warranty. If either are, then that’s a perfect time to let the professionals take care of it instead of you. Not only is it taking advantage of the warranty that you paid for or that came as a bonus, but it also ensures that you don’t void the warranty either.
  • Second, if in the worst case scenario, the project you are working on wont mess up anything with your car or what you are repairing, and the replacement parts aren’t too expensive, then that sounds like a DIY project you can get your hands dirty with.

If, however, you see notice that the repair could cause serious damage and any replacement parts would be expensive, then that is a good sign to maybe let a professional take over. DIY projects are a way to save money, if you have a feeling you will jeopardize that aspect of DIY projects, then you would best let the project go to the pros.

  • Third, if you find yourself in a predicament that you can’t find a way out of, during your DIY repair, don’t feel like you must immediately give up and pay a professional. DIY projects can have hiccups but what better way to help alleviate those hiccups than ask a friend for help. If you have a friend that may be more experienced in the DIY project you are working on, or working on vehicles in general, ask him for help. Odds are he or she might just be the help you need to get you through the project.
  • Fourth, deciding to continue with a DIY project or not can be helped by seeing what tools and space you have. If you have plenty of well-lit space and the right tools, then going ahead with the DIY project could be great. DIY projects that aren’t just relatively simple replacement or repair jobs, can add up in cost. Not just the supplies or parts, but the tools needed can be extremely expensive. This can detract from the romance of a DIY project and should be kept in mind whenever you are looking to start one.
  • Fifth, and last, something you need to ask yourself before embarking on a DIY project is: “Are you a DIYer?” Having the experience of different DIY projects can help with future ones and help ensure you are prepared mentally for them. However, experience alone may not be enough to continue with some projects. Some seemingly minor jobs can go poorly and, even with years of DIY experience, may lead to you needing outside, professional assistance.

As you can see, taking the cost, the tools needed, the knowledge-base, the warranties, etc., can help you decide whether or not you should call a professional for your auto repair projects. Essentially, just know your limits when it comes to your DIYing and be modest. Sometimes you just need to let the professionals take care of things, and give you the peace of mind of a job well done, as well as a safe and reliable ride.

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How to Choose a Car Jack and Jack Stands for DIY Auto Repair

Oftentimes, when doing DIY auto repair, the one aspect that you may not notice you use and need for most projects, is a car jack. We take for granted the one tool that can actually lift your car off the ground and allows a safe and comfortable environment for you to work in. In order for a car jack to provide that safety, however, the right jack must be in your possession. There is no one-jack-fits-all kind of jack, especially if you just accept the cheapest, most portable jack you can find. So what car jack should you get that will make your DIY auto repair project a safe project? …a car jack that gives you the peace of mind so you can focus on the work and not worry about any danger? Let us take a look at a few different jacks and lifting techniques that can be used to match your DIY auto repair needs.

  • Jack stands are a type of safety equipment that by definition are life savers. As their name implies, they are just stands that are a support after your car has already been lifted off the ground. They are often overlooked by those working under their vehicle, but jack stands are just one failed jack away from being the tool you owe your life to. So before you life your car to do any DIY auto repair job, be safe by making sure you have jack stands ready to place underneath.
  • An interesting alternative to lifting the vehicle off the ground, which some DIY mechanics forget about, are ramps. They don’t allow you to do much work on the wheels or brakes necessarily, but for most projects under the vehicle, especially towards the front, ramps are safer to use than a car jack. If you use ramps, always remember to use wheel chocks and set the parking brake, as well.
  • Floor jacks are the most common lifting tool used on both DIY auto repair and regular maintenance. Many floor jacks come with the car, often as mobile tools, useful for changing a tire and other situations where working around the tire area is necessary. These car jacks are not safe for working under the car as they have a small surface area on the lifting pad and are not rated for any in-depth repair conditions. If you are wanting to use a floor jack, make sure to go out and buy one that is designed for working under a car, and as stated previously, always use jack stands with them.
  • Bottle jacks are small, funny looking, and extremely powerful lifting tools. They can lift more than many floor jacks can, but because of their compact size and shape, they may not be as stable. You will also want to ensure the bottle jack is on a flat, strong surface, for your safety. It is particularly important for you to accompany bottle jacks with jack stands, as they offer even less stability than floor jacks.
  • There are some specialized jacks that are made specifically for a DIY auto repair project, and can make your job considerably smoother than previous situations without the jacks. Just because these jacks were made for the specific projects you need them for, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use caution. All car jacks have a crushing hazard, and therefore taking necessary precautions before and during the project is very important.

Just as a car jack can make a DIY auto repair situation safe, it can also make it extremely dangerous. Choosing the right jack, and practicing safe lifting techniques, can make your DIY auto repair project an enjoyable one and get you out from under your car in one piece.

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