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Hi there, I have converted T&C 2005 (those with ramps for wheelchair) and the drive cable that connects the motor of the sliding door to the gear that actually moves the door broke. The problem is that this cable is longer than the original due to the conversion (it's 2 feet long ish) and I'm having a hard time finding the replacement part. VMI dealer has but doesn't sell the part and is charging me 10% of the value of the car to replace it....and I can do it, so looking for advice or ideas where I can find it. Tks!!!
By Auto News
The average age of vehicles on the road is rising, and as cars get older, they need more service and repair. The non-profit Car Care Council recommends that motorists who own an older car, truck or SUV become more diligent about preventative maintenance.
“With the average vehicle age exceeding 11.5 years, the chance of a breakdown or service issue on an older vehicle is much greater,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “The Car Care Council urges drivers of older vehicles to implement a preventative maintenance plan for their vehicle to minimize the chances of a roadside breakdown and to also help their vehicle run more efficiently and economically.”
According to Experian Automotive, the average age of passenger vehicles on the road is rising, up from 11.29 years in the first quarter of 2015 to 11.61 years in 2019. The most common maintenance procedures to keep a car operating safely and reliably, while maintaining its long-term value, involve checking the oil, filters and fluids, the belts and hoses, brakes, tires and air conditioning. An annual tune-up and wheel alignment are also recommended.
The Car Care Council offers a free custom service schedule and email reminder service. This simple-to-use online resource can be personalized to help busy car owners prioritize auto care while making it more convenient and economical.
In addition, the council’s popular Car Care Guide for motorists is available electronically or printed copy in English and Spanish. The guide covers major services, component groups within the vehicle, service interval recommendations and much more.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For the latest car care news, visit the council’s online media room at http://media.carcare.org. To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council’s consumer education website at www.carcare.org.
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The post Preventative Maintenance More Important As Vehicles Age appeared first on Be Car Care Aware.
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By Auto News
No need to go to a mechanic for basic car maintenance—you can do it yourself! It’s not a coincidence that Car Care Month falls on April, a ripe time for life and an overall season of renewal. It is the perfect time to jolt your car from hibernation and prep it for spring and summer driving whose open and oftentimes overwhelming roads lead to some of the most breathtaking places you’ll ever see (think Pacific Coast Highway, Blue Ridge Parkway, and the like).
But before taking everything in—the sceneries, the sensations, the stir brought by steering the wheel—it’s a must to check your car for issues that may have manifested or been overlooked during winter and ensure it is in top shape. This is, after all, what Car Care Month is about.
So here’s a list of repairs you can do on your own before gassing up for your getaways:
Fix Up Filters
Air, oil, fuel—all these filters play an important role in keeping your ride’s efficiency at a high level: drive with a dirty air filter and it affects fuel economy, keep using a damaged fuel filter and you put your engine at risk of costly damage. It is critical to fix up new filters, especially when your old ones have been around for a while. Installing a new fuel filter could be a complex job but shouldn’t be a problem for a seasoned DIYer.
Out with Old Oil
If your ride has racked up significant mileage, somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles, chances are, your oil has already broken down and needs changing. It’s good practice to change your oil not just to ensure proper lubrication but also—and this is particularly true for the summer, a season of soaring temperatures—to guarantee that its viscosity matches the requirements of your car. If the temperatures are higher, you need heavier oil. Same thing if you’re driving an old vehicle model. Disregard this and you could be looking at potential engine damage.
However, be sure you’ve done research prior to upgrading your oil because not all makes and models perform well with thicker oil.
A no-no when changing oil: proceeding when your engine is hot. Waive Worn Wipers
Unsightly streaks on your windshield can ruin its look and be a distraction when you’re driving. If you’ve been using old, worn-out wipers, they might be responsible for these ugly streaks, so ditch your old wiper blades and swap them for new ones. Do this every year—and clean them using windshield wiper fluid and a paper towel—and you’re guaranteed an unobstructed view of the road.
It can take less than 20 minutes to install new wiper blades, but it can change your view of driving—literally.
Looking for quality wiper blades? Here are some bang-for-the-buck options: https://bit.ly/2ISx62W
Drain Dirt and Debris
Your car’s radiator can be such the indefatigable workhorse. But as it performs overtime, it builds up deposits that can take a toll on your cooling system and cause decay on its chief components. How do you stop this from happening? One way is to use a cleaning solution to eliminate the harmful contaminants. It is imperative, though, to drain your old coolant first, flush it out with all the dirt and debris that come with it, then dispose it properly. Afterwards, it’s time to fill up your car with fresh coolant.
Stop! Hammer Time
You don’t scrimp on something that can save your life. You can invest on high-quality brake pads, but if you know how to change them without having to visit a mechanic, you can cut costs without compromising your safety on the road.
Changing your brake pads (every 20,000 miles as suggested by experts) is a DIYable task that involves a bevy of tools: C-clamp, wrenches, pliers, pry bar, wire brush, floor jack, jack stands, and…a hammer.
See, when you have an older car, you might have to use a hammer to secure in place your newly installed pads with the retaining clips that once locked the old pads in. It’s a nifty hack, but it needs to be done with caution.
An advanced DIY project, replacing brake pads should be done with the right equipment and expertise. Yes to Connection, No to Corrosion
No list of car maintenance tips is complete without a mention of the battery. Checking the battery from time to time should be second nature to any owner as it is important to vehicle performance.
When it comes to battery upkeep, maintaining clean and snug connections remains to be the most critical part of the procedure. There is no place for corrosion on battery terminals because once rust sets in, the terminals’ ability to conduct power is curtailed.
While soda is a viable option and is said to be effective, it’s still wise to get a professional product (or use a mixture of baking soda and water) to rid your battery of those powdery blue and white corrosion mounds. Make sure to dry the posts with a clean rag after the cleanup.
You’re all set! If you’ve ticked these items off your maintenance checklist, then you can go back revving on the road in no time.
Want a step-by-step breakdown of more maintenance tasks? Check out these expert-guided car repair videos: https://bit.ly/2GtwYUG
The post Car Care Month: A DIY Car Maintenance Checklist appeared first on The Auto Parts Warehouse Blog.
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With much of the nation in the clutches of an extended blast of Arctic cold, vehicle batteries are top of mind for motorists – or at least they should be.
Parts stores are reporting brisk battery sales, and auto clubs report that a dead or weak battery is the No. 1 reason for roadside service calls.
Battery performance can take a 35-percent hit when temperatures hit freezing, and an even bigger hit when the temps go lower, according to CTEK, a Swedish manufacturer of battery chargers.
While a battery’s capacity is reduced in freezing temperatures, the power needed to start the vehicle’s engine increases substantially – creating a perfect storm for batteries that aren’t in top shape.
Here’s the good news: Proper battery maintenance can help motorists avoid problems in extreme cold weather.
CTEK offers these tips to avoid being stranded in frigid winter weather:
Check your battery. Perform a preventive maintenance check on the battery and cables. Look for corrosion on the terminals. Remove and clean the terminal connections if necessary. Be sensitive to changes. Be aware of any changes in the way your car starts, or the operation of the electrical system in general. Do the lights dim considerably when you try to start the car? Does the starter seem to be turning slower than normal? Any changes can indicate a weak battery or problems in the electrical system. CTEK offers a Bluetooth-enabled battery monitor that gathers data on battery voltage, battery temperature and battery charge status, the company notes. The stored data is available instantly on a free, downloadable iPhone or Android app.
Charge your battery regularly. In addition to the stress that extreme hot and cold weather places on a battery, today’s vehicles require much more from the electrical system than in the past. Navigation systems, entertainment systems and the plethora of electronic control units drain power from the battery that the alternator cannot completely replace. And that drain continues even when the car isn’t running.
“In addition to the stress from extreme weather, today’s automotive electrical system is designed to kill batteries,” said Bobbie DuMelle of CTEK. “It puts tremendous demands on the battery, and then does not properly restore it to its full capacity. That’s why CTEK advocates the regular use of a microprocessor-controlled smart charger to achieve maximum battery service life.”
Regular use of smart chargers such as the new CTEK MXS 5.0 can help prevent dead batteries in cold weather, and can double or triple battery life, according to DuMelle.
By following these steps, car owners can reduce the chances that they will be left out in the cold due to a dead battery when the temperatures drop. And, they also will help extend the service life of their vehicle’s battery.
Air filters, cabin air filters, oil filters and (sometimes) fuel and transmission filters are important maintenance parts that typically are replaced according to a time and/or mileage schedule. A vehicle’s service schedule recommendations can be found in the owner’s manual or in a separate brochure. Unfortunately, many motorists never read – or totally ignore – the recommendations.
Factory service schedules are designed to prolong the life of the engine, transmission and cooling system, to reduce premature wear and breakdowns, but also to minimize maintenance costs while the vehicle is still under warranty. That’s why factory oil change recommendations have been stretched to 7,500 to 10,000 miles or more on many late-model vehicles. Most late-model cars and light trucks no longer have recommended change intervals for transmission fluid and filters, or for fuel filters. These so-called “lifetime” fluids and filters are supposed to last a long time – but they won’t last forever. Experience has shown that “lifetime” filters and fluids don’t live up to the hype.
Fuel filters always should be replaced when a fuel pump is replaced (unless the filter is part of the fuel pump module assembly). Likewise, transmission filters should be replaced if a customer is changing the fluid in their transmission.
Last Line of Defense Against Contaminants
Filters are the first line of defense against contaminants. Air filters keep dirt and abrasive particles out of the engine. A good-quality air filter will trap about 98 percent or more of the particles that can cause trouble inside an engine. As the filter media becomes saturated with dirt, it’s efficiency actually increases. But, as the filter becomes clogged with more and more dirt, it also becomes more restrictive to airflow. The greater the pressure drop across the filter, the more it hurts performance and fuel economy.
Ideally, an air filter will be replaced before it causes a restriction in airflow. Whether or not an air filter goes 30,000 miles or 50,000 miles before it needs to be replaced depends on driving conditions and how much dirt the filter has ingested over those miles. Driving on dusty rural gravel roads is a lot different than suburban or city driving. Air filters need to be inspected regularly and changed more on an “as needed” basis than the mileage on the odometer.
The same advice goes for cabin air filters, which typically need to be replaced every couple of years. Carbon-impregnated “odor” filters are only good for about a year before they lose their ability to absorb odors. Cabin air filters are an often overlooked maintenance item because many motorists are unaware their vehicle has one, or how often it should be changed. The filters usually are located behind the glovebox or under a panel in the cowl area of the windshield.
With oil filters, the situation is a little different. An oil filter traps dirt and metallic wear particles in the crankcase to protect the bearings, rings, camshaft and valvetrain components. The life of the oil filter depends on how rapidly contaminants are generated inside the engine. If the air filter is doing its job and prevents dirt from being sucked into the engine, and the rings and cylinders are in good condition and holding a tight combustion seal, and the oil is doing its job of minimizing wear, an oil filter easily should last until the next oil change is needed.
Oil filters have a built-in bypass valve so if they do become clogged and the pressure differential becomes too great, the bypass valve will open, allowing the engine to maintain normal oil pressure. The only problem is that the oil will be unfiltered, which means the bearings, cam and valvetrain have no protection against abrasive wear particles. The small size and limited dirt-holding capacity of many late-model oil filters means regular changes are a must.