5 Tips for Ordering New Vehicle Parts From Your Dealer

 

 

new vehicle partsPart of mastering the art of auto repair is getting comfortable sourcing replacement parts for your car. As Americans keep their old cars longer, this is a skill more people need to learn.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the best places to purchase new parts–especially if you’re a bit inexperienced–is your local dealership.

 

Here are our top 5 tips for ordering new vehicle parts directly from your dealer.

5 Tips for Ordering New Vehicle Parts from Your Dealership

1. Figure Out Exactly What You Need Beforehand

If you’re a car repair neophyte, you might not know precisely what part you need for your car. It’s not enough to know you need a new alternator. You need a specific part name–and the part number–if you want to be sure your part will work in your car.

2. Research Average Prices

Before you start calling your local dealerships, you need to know what a good deal looks like for your particular part.

You have a couple of options when it comes to price research, but you really should start out online.

Check out the big-name retail sites–think Amazon and eBay–to see what they might charge. Don’t forget to include shipping and handling fees in your total.

You can also call around to a few local mechanic shops to check their prices. Don’t be surprised if some shops won’t give you a quote, though. Many mechanics depend on those surcharges and service fees and won’t sell parts separately.

3. Take Convenience into Consideration

Sure, you may be able to source a particular part online for a fraction of the price your dealership charges. If it’ll take two weeks to ship and you need it now, however, it’s not such a great deal.

Remember to factor in convenience costs when you’re comparing value. It might be worth it to pay a little extra if it means you can buy the part from a local shop close to your home.

Some dealerships even let you order online, too.

4. Take Advantage of Specialized Service

One of the best things about ordering new vehicle parts from a dealership is it cuts down on any guesswork. You know dealership parts will work with your care because they’re made for your specific make and model.

If you drive a Mazda in the Edmonton area, for example, you know a dealership like Park Mazda will have the parts you’re looking for.

5. If You Have Questions, Ask!

Your dealership can be a fount of knowledge for you. Most are happy to help their regular customers out, so don’t be afraid to ask if you’re unsure about a part. They may even have some advice on installation!

Learn More About Auto Repair from YouFixCars.com

The world of auto repair and maintenance can be a little overwhelming at first–but it doesn’t have to be. At YouFixCars.com, we give our readers the info and resources they need to handle their repairs themselves.

You can find your repair manual, follow along with our helpful repair videos, and check out our blog for insider tips and expert advice. Start learning today.

10 DIY Car Detailing Tips Everyone Should Know

car detailing

You’ve invested in a car you love, and now you want to take

pride in it by keeping it in tip-top shape. This includes payi

ng for maintenance, repairs when needed, and regular car washes.

Getting your car detailed feels great. Your car looks wonderful, smells clean, and you feel like a million dollars when you drive it.

However, car detailing can get pretty expensive. Avoid the pricey fees of having it done professionally and learn to detail your car yourself.

Below, we’ve put together ten car detailing tips that you can do at home. Use these the next time you want to have your car looking spiffy — you (and your wallet) can thank us later.

1. Best DIY Car Detailing Tip: Invest in the Right Tools

Having the right tools and materials to detail your car will make all the difference.

Sure, it may be costly to invest in things like leather repair serum and wax sprays, but you will save quite a bit on car detailing costs in the long run.

Having the right tools helps you to get the job done right in a smaller amount of time. This way, you will be more motivated to do your car detailing at home. Check out Drivek for an example of a beautiful car that’s easy to care for.

2. Use a Leather Repair Kit

If your car has leather seats, they are likely to be damaged at some point. Whether this is from stains, tears, or general grime, having dirty leather can make the rest of your car feel worn-out, too.

Using a leather repair kit to address damage swiftly will help to minimize any permanent harm to the appearance of your leather.

A leather repair kit will contain conditioners, creams, and all the things you need to clean and repair your leather as often as needed. If you do this regularly, it will not be such an overwhelming job every time you go to detail your car.

3. Brush Out the Air Vents

This may seem like a little thing, but it can make all the difference in the cleanliness of your car.

Take a small, fluffy brush — like a makeup or painting brush — and dust out the air vents. Getting rid of the dust and lint trapped here can make a huge difference in how clean your car feels.

Plus, when you turn the air on, there are fewer things blowing around. This will help to keep the rest of your car clean, as well.

4. Polish Before Waxing

Most people assume that polishing and waxing a car are the same thing. That is not the case.

Polishing is the process of removing imperfections on the surface of the car. Polishing helps to buff out scratches and minor signs of wear, creating a nice shine in the process. Doing this makes the waxing even more effective, as it adds further glossiness and protection to the surface of your car.

Having a polisher also keeps to make this process go smoothly and efficiently.

5. Choose the Right Wax

The waxing step should take place after removing surface imperfections through polishing. Waxing will fill in those gaps and make your car glossy and shiny.

Coating your car with a layer of wax also protects its surface and keeps it looking cleaner for longer. Waxing your car is extremely good for it, but you’ll want to make sure you choose the right one.

There are many different types of wax, from carnauba to polymer to synthetic. Do a little research into your car’s paint color and the materials used to paint it. Then, choose a wax that works for you and which you will be able to apply properly.

6. Deep Clean Your Carpets

To get a proper clean of your carpets, you’ll want to remove them from your car and shake them out — and that’s just for starters.

Vacuum the interior of your car and the carpets you have removed. Then, go to town on them with a proper shampoo. Allow them to dry properly and make sure to give them a good scrub to remove dirt, stains, and grime.

There are even small carpet-cleaning machines you can purchase to make this process even easier.

7. Wipe Down the Consoles

You know to clean your carpets, leather seats, and the exterior — but don’t forget about the dashboard and center console.

This is one of the most-used elements of your car. Therefore, it can get the dirtiest. Whether small crumbs or debris, eventually the tiny cracks will be filled with dirt and your car will look dirty.

Vacuum in the cracks, wipe down any fingerprints or stains, and blow off the dust. Once your center consoles are clean, your car will start to feel brand-new.

8. Give Special Attention to Windows

Cleaning the glass of your windows is another important step in DIY car detailing. Your windows see their fair share of use — fingerprints, bugs, raindrops, and more will all leave their mark.

Using glass cleaner like Windex, take a cleaning cloth to both the exterior AND interior of your windows. Having shiny, clear glass to peer through doesn’t just look better — it’s safer, too.

Don’t forget the top edges of your window. This is the part that is tucked into your car when your window is rolled up. Make sure to clean it first, then roll your window back up and clean the rest.

9. Focus on the Wheels

Another seemingly unimportant task that makes a huge visual difference is the wheels.

Wheels begin to look dirty and dingy after normal use. Brake dust, dirt, and off-colored water all begin to build up on your rims, making your car look much dirtier than it is.

Luckily, this is a pretty simple fix. Just wash your wheels — cracks and all — then cover the tires with a nice polish finish. Keeping your wheels looking shiny will make the rest of your car feel brand-new, too.

10. Repair Chips and Damage

If your car shows minor signs of wear, like chips in the paint, scratches, or more, make an effort to repair those.

Filling in the dents and getting rid of those small imperfections will make a big impact overall on the appearance of your car. You may also want to consider removing any stickers or magnets you’ve placed on your car, as they will detract from the impressive appearance, too.

Browse our blog for more tips on the proper care and keeping of your car, from maintenance to washes and more.

How to Perform an Oil Change at Home in a Few Simple Steps

fotolia 104898766 subscription monthly mThe oil in your vehicle is a lot like the blood coursing through your veins. It’s what keeps the car alive. And every once in a while, it requires a detox to maintain optimal health.

For a car, this means having a regular oil change. In most cases, vehicles need an oil change every 3,000 miles or every three months. So if it’s about that time to have your oil changed, you can either take it to a mechanic or do it yourself.

A lot of today’s car owners are opting for the latter. It’s good to know how to perform an oil change to save money and your vehicle in case you’re unable to get it to a mechanic.

So let’s review the steps it takes to properly change your vehicle’s oil.

Purchase the Right Oil and Filter

Now, you don’t want to make the mistake of purchasing the wrong oil and filter. By now, you should know how detrimental it can be to buy the wrong parts.

Review your car manual (or look it up online) to see what type of oil and filter your engine requires. All makes and models are different, so get it right.

And once you find the right part and oil, go for the premium options. This way, it lasts longer and performs better. One place you can purchase quality motor oil from is PeakHD.com.

Tools and Materials Needed

Next, you need to purchase the right tools and materials for the job. This includes rags, wrench set, oil filter, oil gasket filter, motor oil and a container to pour used oil into.

Make sure to run the car for about five minutes if the engine is cold. If it’s hot, allow it to cool for a half hour to avoid the risk of burns.

Now, let’s get to the steps.

Step 1: Pull the Plug

The first step is to unscrew the plug using one of your wrenches. You can review your manual to locate this beneath your vehicle. Make sure the container is there to catch the oil once it pours out.

Step 2: Remove the Oil Filter

Next, get rid of the old dirty oil filter. Make sure to remove the rubber gasket along with it. This may get stuck, so check for it and pull it off if attached to the engine.

Step 3: Add Clean Oil

After screwing back in the plug, it’s time to get from under the car and pour in some fresh oil. Use your funnel to ensure it pours directly in with little to no mess. Then turn on your car and allow it to run until your oil light turns off.

Then check the dipstick to see if it’s full or requires more oil.

Step 4: Recycle the Old Oil

Before driving off, don’t forget to do something with the old oil. Never toss this out on the ground or down a drain. It needs to be recycled properly. Pour inside of a large used jug and take it to a designated collection site near you.

Start Doing Your Own Oil Change

Learning how to maintain your own vehicle is key to saving money and becoming self-sufficient. We all know how expensive mechanics can be, especially for simple tasks like oil changes.

At YouFixCars, you can learn a lot about auto repair. There are plenty of DIY guides and tips to help you along.

So stop by today to become an educated vehicle owner!

Solve Car Repair Problems

Driveway Mechanical Repairs

Driveway Mechanical Repairs

This solve car repair problems article originally focused on hands-on diagnosis. I wanted to point out the differences between a professional car mechanic and a do-it-yourself driveway warrior when it comes to the diagnostic mindset. However, as we started putting this article together, I realized an opportunity existed to provide a lot more value to a larger audience.

If you own an automobile long enough, you’ll need to solve car repair problems. This doesn’t automatically mean that you have to fix them yourself. Nevertheless, diagnosing the issue and knowing what’s wrong becomes an advantage for both do-it-yourself mechanics and retail auto repair consumers. A properly diagnosed automobile for the driveway mechanic turns into a successful do-it-yourself car repair. In an effort to further define this, we’re talking about replacing one part to solve one problem.

For automobile owners that plan on taking their ride into an auto repair shop, telling them what’s wrong with it can reduce diagnostic charges. With that said, the auto repair shop won’t value your opinion or your diagnosis unless you walk them through the steps you took to achieve the uncovering of the root cause of the problem. It’s important to show respect to the automotive center and speak with them on the same level of knowledge.

Mindset to Solve Car Repair Problems

YouFixCars.com auto repair manualsWhen professional auto mechanics begin diagnosis, they automatically switch the way they think in order to solve car repair problems efficiently. They can’t use shortcuts or guessing at what’s wrong because this often turns into wasted time and money.

This is why skilled technicians grab an auto repair manual and look for a diagnostic tree chart or ladder diagram that efficiently diagnoses this specific problem. The factory created these step-by-step instructions to take the mechanic down the path of logical steps that leads them to a reliable solution. The factory can’t afford to replace the wrong parts and pay the technician extra labor hours for following improper procedures.

Even the most experienced professional technicians will often start by grabbing a professional vehicle specific service manual. This is one of the steps that a do-it-yourself driveway mechanic might try to avoid. All too often a shade tree mechanic considers the $20 spent on reference materials as a waste of capital. However, if this vehicle specific information leads you to exactly what’s wrong with the vehicle in a short period of time isn’t it worth the money?

Even more important, if it stops you from replacing a part that’s good and nonreturnable to the parts store wouldn’t it have paid for itself on the first use? If experienced mechanics and technicians wouldn’t attempt to solve car repair problems, without factory-based reference materials, then neither should you.

Tips for Retail Car Repair Customers

car problemsOne of the common scenarios I find out in the wild is when an auto repair shop recommends multiple replacement parts for one individual complaint. This should serve as a red flag to customers. To further explain this point, let’s talk about what happens when the factory pays dealerships for warranty repairs.

The dealership enjoys a superior level of experience with that particular automobile. Therefore, the car maker realizes it should only take one part to solve one complaint. In cases where multiple parts are used the factory often finds misdiagnosis or the replacement of good components. This remains something they can’t tolerate, because warranty service charges come out of the profit side of the automobile business.

Therefore, domestic car manufacturers use a standardized method for dealerships to apply for reimbursement for warranty repairs. This is known as the complaint, cause and correction format. The strict rules keep the dealership tightly focused on the customer’s complaint, what caused it and what it takes to fix it. Customers of retail automotive repair centers should apply these same rules to each line or complaint on their repair order. In situations when a shop recommends more than one part to solve one problem customers should demand an explanation of why.

Tips for Do-it-yourself Mechanics

Automotive help me chart

Automotive Help Me Chart

At home mechanics face a completely different set of challenges than professional technicians. They put a complete process in place for those that earn a living fixing cars. From the minute the customer walks in the door and the service advisor documents their complaint, the mechanic complies with a rigid set of standards that keeps them on track.

Those performing car repair at home lack this guidance. Therefore, distractions can take these people down the wrong path. This can lead to wasted time and buying parts the car doesn’t need. Let’s apply some specific examples to the situation. If you believe you found a failed relay take the extra step. Learn how to confirm a bad car relay. The same rule applies to switches and automotive computer sensors.

People fixing cars in the driveway might not realize that access to reference materials changed drastically. Vehicle specific auto repair manuals use to cost more than $100 in paperback format. Now they convert this auto repair information into a PDF file. Take a look at this Chevrolet auto repair manual in PDF format as an example. With the cost of under $25 you get the same information provided to professional technicians that keeps them on track. Finally, when you find yourself purchasing multiple parts to solve one problem it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your diagnosis.

Final Thoughts for Solving Car Problems

One of the common problems that both professionals and do-it-yourself technicians run into stems from jumping into diagnosis. You must truly understand how the system operates. Take a few minutes to not only look at the wiring diagram, but understand how the electronics and circuit works. This becomes time well spent. When you truly understand how a circuit works, malfunctions become easier to detect. After you gain this understanding take another five minutes to physically look at the entire circuit and/or system on the automobile. This visual inspection can often uncover problems stemming from physical damage to the wiring, connectors or the individual components.

Common Car Gas Tank Problems

Car Fuel Tank Problems

Car Fuel Tank Problems

Unfortunately, common car gas tank problems are exactly that. We expect that our gas tanks will behave themselves and happily accept the fuel we try to put into it. However, sometimes it puts up a fight and doesn’t want to accept that fuel. This is the type of situation where the pump nozzle continually turns off when you’re trying to fill the tank. We also think our gas tank should store that fuel without any inconvenience to us or the passengers of the vehicle. This is a reasonable expectation and remains the case unless a problem exists.

Despite our wishes, sometimes our car gas tank allows fuel vapor to escape inside the automobile. In this situation passengers complain about a raw fuel smell and you might set a fuel vapor leak code. This happens after filling up and maybe even topping off the gas tank at the pumping station. It’s nice to squeeze all of the fuel that you can into the automobile in an attempt to increase the range. With that said, it’s not a good idea to leave no airspace inside the fuel tank. It’s even a worse idea to fill the tank to the very top and then fill the fuel filler hose. In this brief article we’ll talk about all of these common car gas tank problems. In addition, we’ll talk about diagnosis and repair of these situations when a good car gas tank goes bad.

Car Gas Tank Won’t Accept Fuel

gas moneyWhen you pull up at the gas station, you should be able to insert the fuel pumping nozzle and hold it wide open until tank becomes completely filled. The shape of the gas tank allows some fuel to back up into the fuel filler hose to shut the nozzle off automatically. The fuel then settles back in the tank leaving a small air gap. This is how it’s supposed to go when you arrive at the gas station.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always turn out that simple. If you pull the handle and start filling the tank and it continually turns off and requires restarting, you have a car gas tank problem. In order to allow the liquid fuel to flow into the tank the air inside needs venting. Car manufacturers install a complete fuel vapor system to handle the filling and venting of air from the tank.

The major components include a vent valve on the top side of the fuel tank. A vent hose connects to this valve and sends the fumes to the vapor canister. Car makers usually mount them in the engine compartment. However, on some automobiles the vapor canister is mounted near the fuel tank. If the vent valve malfunctions or the vent hose clogs air becomes trapped in the tank. Without the proper venting of this vapor the liquid starts to back up into the fuel filler hose. This then turns off the pump because the gas station thinks the car gas tank is already full.

Fixing the Car Gas Tank Vent System

Car Gas Tank Vent Valve

Car Gas Tank Vent Valve

When you’re car won’t accept fuel, how often the pump shuts off becomes a clue into how serious the problem is. If it turns off three or four times when filling an empty tank the vent is working. With that said, it’s not working efficiently. This points to a partial clog. If the fuel tank refuses to accept more than a gallon of gas at a time this means a malfunctioning vent system. Or the vent hoses completely clogged or kinked.

When you have this common car gas tank problem the first item to check is the vent hose. This becomes especially true in the scenario where the fuel pump turns off three or four times indicating a partially clogged vent hose. You start by locating your charcoal canister. The Easiest way to find out the component location is to gain access to a professional service manual. If you take this step, not only will you find a fuel system diagnostic tree chart to solve the problem, you’ll also find a detailed diagram of component locations.

Some species of spiders love the smell of fuel vapors. They work their way down inside the vent hoses and build nests. These nests partially clog the vent hose and cause the situation described above. In addition, a stuck or inoperative fuel tank vent also causes a stubborn to fill fuel tank. In this situation, lowering the gas tank down to replace the fuel vent becomes necessary.

Why Does My Car Stink like Gas Inside

Gas Tank Vent Solenoid

Gas Tank Vent Solenoid

A lot of motorists complain about a raw fuel smell inside of the automobile. Keep in mind that a small amount of gas puts off a major odor that lasts a long time. Because gasoline remains a thin weight petroleum product, it sticks to surfaces and evaporates slowly. Therefore, the most common cause of a fuel odor would fall into the fuel leak category.

If you’re the kind of motorist that likes to top the tank off at the fuel pump, you’ll find yourself more susceptible to this problem. When you fill up the fuel filler hose you can get some seepage around the hose clamps that attach it to the car gas tank. Once you get a few droplets of raw gas on the top of the tank, these vapors tend to rise and find their way into the passenger’s compartment.

Another possibility of having a fuel smell inside the car becomes a fuel tank vent that’s not closing properly. The gas tank vent needs to open when you’re filling the tank to allow the air to escape. When you stop filling the tank this vent should close completely and seal the vapors inside the tank. With that said, these are usually cheap plastic components. As we have learned, when the car manufacturer attempts to save a few pennies per car, they can get themselves into a situation where they’re putting troublesome parts on our automobile. I have seen some fuel tank vents fall into this category.

Auto Body Repairs: Do It Yourself?

auto body repairsDoes this sound familiar to you?

You go into the auto body shop to get what you thought was a cheap dent repair. Several hours and several hundred dollars later, you’re left wondering just how much a minor repair can really cost you.

It’s true that dent repair can easily run $450 or more. But not all dents, scratches, and bumps require a trip to the shop. You can fix small and minor dings without ever leaving your house.

Not every repair is catastrophic enough to warrant an unsightly bill. Learn about auto body repairs you can do yourself and ones to leave to the pros.

Dent Repair

Do you have a dent? You can roll up your sleeves and fix it yourself.

Before you go out and buy supplies, try to use some items around the house as dent pullers. Everything from plungers to hair dryers can be used to pop a dent back into place. You should also read up on do it yourself safety tips to protect yourself during repairs.

Dent pullers are usually successful for small and minor dents. In many cases, you’re going to have to go out and invest in some supplies. Check to make sure you have sandpaper, epoxy, creme hardener, a plastic spreader, paint, and primer.

The first step is to sand the dent to remove the paint from the affected area. You can then spread a body filler across the damaged area. Create a body filler with the creme hardener and epoxy according to instructions.

Spread the body filler across the afflicted area and make sure to cover a few extra inches. Use the plastic spreader and stroke the filler across the area until it is flat, smooth, and dry.

The next step is to further sand the dent area to make it as smooth as possible. You can also use spot putty to fill any deep areas.

Finally, you need to apply primer to your car. Make sure you cover any indented area to prevent the primer from bleeding onto the rest of your car. Add several coats to the dent.

Scratches and Scrapes

It’s almost impossible to avoid getting superficial blemishes on your car. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix your scratches and scrapes at home.

The first thing you should do is get the manufacturer’s paint code from your glove box. This will specify what kind of touch up paint you need. If you can’t find the paint code, you can always ask a technician for free advice.

Once you purchase touch up paint, you can get to work. Make sure you have wax, sandpaper, and some water with soap.

First, apply the soapy water to the scratch to clean the area. You should then wet your sandpaper and apply it to the edges of your scratch. Let the area dry before adding paint.

You should then add a layer of touch up paint to the blemish. Let that dry and add additional layers as needed. Let the paint dry overnight to make sure you’re satisfied with the appearance.

You may have to consult a professional if the paint continues to chip or looks discolored. If that’s the case, give a call to a local auto body like JH Body Shops.

Do It Yourself Auto Body Repairs

Auto body repairs don’t have to be expensive. By learning a few tricks, you could save yourself hundreds on a minor repair.

Are you interested in learning about more do it yourself repairs? We can help. Check out our blog for more tips on fixing up your car.