Category Archives: Engine DIY

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 Serpentine Belt

The accessory belt system is, as with most parts in your vehicle, a vital aspect for your car’s drivability. This system, however, is often overlooked and this can lead to breakdowns, typically at the worst time and place! The drive belt, or serpentine belt, can wear and fray causing most of the problems with the system, but it is always a good idea to check the whole system when you feel problems are occurring within it. Although the drive belt can wear out and cause problems with your vehicle, there is an easy solution and DIY guide to prevent these problems from occurring. We have DIY guide that will help you replace your serpentine belt before it wears out. Follow these DIY steps to replace the drive belt on your car and get you back to driving a fully maintained vehicle.

  • To start out this DIY project, you must first gather the tools needed. The tools required for this project are a torque wrench and a 3/8 socket extension on a ratchet wrench. You will also need a replacement serpentine belt as well. Once you have the tools and supplies ready, you are ready.
  • When beginning the replacement process for a serpentine drive belt, always use proper safety techniques with your tools, with ventilation and with lowering and raising the vehicle. Also, make sure you have a first-aid kit ready in case of an accident or emergency.
  • As you start the project, visual inspection of the serpentine belt will testify the need for a new one. Normally, around 80,000 km, you will notice the belt wearing and the ribs will start to compromise. Of course, if the belt is slipping or making noise, this is a good indication that it needs to be replaced. If you notice these symptoms, then you can be assured that you are making a good decision in replacing your drive belt.
  • Now, the first step in actually replacing the drive belt, is removing the old one. You will need to locate the correct pulley to release belt tension in the system. You can normally find decal diagrams on or near the engine, and they should explain which direction the pulley should go for tension. You may also find the belt routing information in the owners’ manual.
  • That you have found the right hole to release the tension, attach your socket wrench to it and pull the handle in the direction of the diagram’s arrow. This should release the tension on the serpentine belt and allow you to slide it off the pulleys, as you continue to hold the handle back. Once the belt is off, slowly release the tensioner. After doing the, work the belt through and around the fan and pulleys until it is completely free. You have now successfully removed a serpentine drive belt.
  • The next step in the serpentine belt replacement process is the replacement To attach it, wrap it around all the pulleys following the same pattern as the old one, only let the backside of the belt, where there are no ridges, be the final part to put on. Then, pulling back on the handle to release the pressure and tension on the pulleys, slide on the last part of the drive belt. Understandably, before letting the handle back up, make sure the belt is on securely and is situated into all the grooves on the pulley. If the belt is not secure, then when tension falls upon the drive belt, it could cause serious injury. When replacing the serpentine belt, it may be a good idea to replace the automatic belt tensioner as well. If the tensioner is not also kept up to date, then it could render your work with the belt futile.

Following these steps and applying these tips in replacing your serpentine drive belt will get you back to the days of a little less belt and a little more drive.

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Oil Change – Should You Use Synthetic Oil?

Ever wondered if there was difference between synthetic oil and conventional oil, other than the price tag? There are many rumors and stories you may have heard about synthetic oil that may have portrayed it as either being useless, or worse, harmful to your engine. What is the real story, though? Is there really any difference that would make synthetic a good choice?

First, the price difference is explained by an actual product difference and not just some scam to get people to buy a so-called “premium” product. “Conventional” simply refers to its origin, that is, oil refined directly from crude petroleum, you know, the stuff that comes out of the ground. “Synthetic” oil is also exactly what the name implies, being synthesized from other sources, like methane, carbon monoxide, or carbon dioxide.

The question on everyone’s mind is, “Do the different ingredients and processes actually make a difference for your engine?” The benefits can result in a turnaround, making the cost not only worth it but in the long run save you more than you put in to pay for the synthetic oil.

For example:

  • Synthetic oil contains very few impurities which helps it last longer in your engine. This may seem like a less important reason to prove synthetic is worth getting. In reality though, if your oil lasts longer in your engine then oil changes aren’t needed as often. This can save you both time, money, and the hassle of changing your oil as frequently as if you had conventional oil.
  • According to Florida Synthetics, synthetic oil is more uniform in molecular structure which ultimately lets it flow allowing your engine to have more power and better fuel efficiency.
  • Synthetic oil can also dissolve contaminated particles left by oxidized and older conventional oils before it. This can result in a healthier engine, which means a longer-lasting engine.

Increasing your fuel efficiency can save you daily, lessening the amount of oil changes you have a year can save you annually, and improving your engines health can save you indefinitely! This can make the price of the synthetic oil more of an investment than an overcharge. What about all the negative reports about synthetic oil? Is there any reason why you shouldn’t use it instead of just sticking with conventional oil? There aren’t as many drawbacks to synthetic oil as you might think.

For example:

  • Many people believe that synthetic oil causes oil leaks, that weren’t there when they used conventional oil. Synthetic oil does flow better, which can lead to you finding old, faulty or failing oil seals. These should be replaced anyways and, if your car is maintained regularly, it is unlikely to cause a problem.
  • Many people believe that there car is just too old or just wasn’t maintained well before and so they don’t need to switch to synthetic. There are many aspects of synthetic oil that can make it worthwhile in practically any car or engine. Synthetic oil can still bring all the elements it brings to newer cars, like the better gas mileage, longer engine life, etc.

With the many benefits that synthetic oil brings to the table, it can be a valuable decision to switch to it on your next oil change. However, there are some reasons why switching may not be best for you or your car.

For example:

  • Synthetic oil is more expensive than conventional oil and even with all the long term benefits, it still is money out of your pocket right now. If you keep your engine maintained and regularly have your oil changed then you can keep your engine running well. The qualities of synthetic oil are designed to keep your engine running as efficiently as possible, and if you don’t have the ability to switch to synthetic right now then don’t feel like conventional oil will make your engine breakdown.
  • Some engines can’t actually take synthetic, and if this is the case, the benefits that synthetic has on other cars will not help these engines. If you aren’t sure what engine you have, talk with a mechanic or look it up in your manual.

As you can see there are reasons why you would want to switch to synthetic oil and reasons why you can’t. Having in mind the benefits of using synthetic oil will help you maintain your engine and keep your car running as efficiency as possible from oil change to oil change.

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How to Change Spark Plugs and Wires in 5 Easy Steps

Regular maintenance could mean the difference between having a car that lasts for just 80,000 km or up to 800,000 km. The brand of the car has a lot to do with it, too, and some like Toyota and Honda are known for their reliability and longevity. As a Do-It-Yourselfer, even with just basic mechanical knowledge and a manual, there are a few things that you can do to maintain your vehicle without spending a lot at the service department. These even applies with learning how to change spark plugs and wires.
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