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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!!!
There are certain items on a car that can easily be replaced without taking the car to a garage to be fixed.
This is great for a handful of reasons. First, you can avoid unwanted bills and keep the money for something else. Secondly, keeping your car running efficiently all by yourself is very satisfying.
Some jobs are too large and require the eye of a qualified, professional mechanic, but there are other basic jobs that take minimal time and only a little know-how and can be done at home with a few basic tools.
Here are some easy ways to look after your car without the help of a mechanic, to ensure it stays on the road for as long as possible.
After a while, windshield-wiper blades can start to leave smear marks on the window, as the rubber strips that push rainwater away can degrade. Often this leads to squeaking noises and the rain or snow is not cleared effectively, causing buildup and distorting forward vision.
Windshield wipers are a simple, off-the-shelf part. They only cost $20 to $40 and can be purchased online for your exact automobile make and model. You can simply unclip the old windshield wipers and clip the new ones on. The same can be done for the rear window-wiper blades too, if your car has them. Mechanics may charge an additional $30-$100 in labor fees to replace them.
Oil changes should be made on a regular basis. Manufacturers recommend changing the oil of your car every 7,500 to 10,000 miles as an approximation. Each car is slightly different, so check the guide for your specific car model.
The average price for a bottle of oil is $25-50, with synthetic engine oil averaging $45 to $70. Here's a straightforward guide on how to perform an oil change.
It's a really easy job to complete on a driveway or home garage with only a few tools.
Since the oil filter is usually accessed from inside the oil tank, it is great practice to change the oil filter at the same time you change your oil..
The job of the oil filter is to ensure contaminants don't accumulate in the engine oil, which can cause internal damage to the engine surfaces. Through the oil filter, unwanted particles are removed from the oil tank before circulating and lubricating the engine.
Changing the oil filter as regularly as changing your oil ensures the engine will operate optimally.
The air filter is a simple, inexpensive part to change and forms an important role in the car engine.
The air filter prevents dust, dirt and debris getting into the engine via the air intake, ensuring only clean, filtered air passes through.
This part should be changed at certain intervals, usually between 15,000 and 30,000 miles, depending on where your car is driven. Lift up the hood, and there is a rectangular cold air collector box. Inside is the spongy, foam material. Swap it out for a new one. It takes 10 minutes, tops.
Headlight and taillight bulbs
On older cars that don't have LED lights, headlight and taillight bulbs can easily be replaced by hand in very little time for minimal cost. The cost of new bulbs is a couple of dollars and avoids having to take your car into the garage.
Bulbs often stop working over time and it is a legal requirement that the correct lights are visible on a car.
They can be bought for a couple of dollars from an auto-repair store or online. To access the housing of the lights, open the hood to get to the headlights or the trunk for the rear taillights. This will allow you to find the housing and switch out the faulty bulb with the new, working ones.
On some vehicles, you may need to remove additional parts (and in some cases, the entire bumper) in order to have an unimpeded view of the headlight or taillight housings.
Changing the spark plugs will save you around $100 in labor costs and should be done every 30,000 miles. The spark plugs will only cost you $16 to $100, depending on how many you have to change.
For a four-cylinder engine, you will have four spark plugs to replace, for a V6 engine; you will have six, and so on.
Similar to phones and laptops, car batteries degrade over time. Most car batteries last between two and five years, depending on the condition. It is recommended to change your car battery after three years. A car battery that is five years or older won't function properly and may start to cause problems in the future.
The average price of a new battery is between $50 and $200 and is a straightforward plug-and-play swap with the old one.
Over time, the brake pads become worn down through regular use and require replacing to ensure your car continues to stop safely and effectively when you want it to. There should be a minimum of 6.4 millimeters of brake pad remaining as a general rule of thumb.
The brake pads are accessed by removing the wheels from the car and are straightforward to replace. You can see instructions on how to change brake pads here.
Changing brake pads requires a bit more work than the previously mentioned parts but are well worth doing yourself. A set of four brake pads only start at around $30 to $50 for budget vehicles and can cost a few hundred dollars for premium cars and sports cars.
The brake discs can be changed at home, too. It's another straightforward part and is usually completed in pairs, because properly functioning front brakes will wear evenly on the left and right and the rear brakes will do the same on the left and right. Depending on your vehicle, the front brakes and rear brakes will wear down at a varying rates.
Roughly $100 to $500 is the average cost for a pair of brakes, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Being able to switch them out yourself will save you a lot of money over the lifetime of a car, removing some associated labor costs.
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By Jacky Xine
I want to buy some exterior auto parts online for my off-road. I have scanned 3 online stores, including AutoZone, Carid, and Motorshive but have no idea of how to choose.
It seems like all of them are selling the auto parts and the quality of the products is similar. How to choose the best one?
Brake rotors may be replaced for a variety of reasons. One is that replacement is a must if the original rotors are worn out. Every rotor has a minimum thickness or discard specification cast or stamped somewhere on the center hat section of the rotor. When the brake pads are replaced, the rotors always should be measured with a micrometer to determine their thickness. If the rotors are worn too thin and are at or below the minimum or discard thickness (or they cannot be resurfaced without exceeding the limit), the rotors must be replaced.
Worn-out rotors are dangerous for two reasons: Thin rotors cannot absorb and dissipate heat as well as new rotors, which increases the risk of the pads getting too hot and fading with prolonged or heavy braking. Also, thin rotors are more likely to crack and break apart, which would cause brake failure.
Another condition that usually calls for rotor replacement is when the rotors are “warped” and are causing a vibration or pulsation when the brakes are applied. Warped is actually a misnomer, because the rotors are not distorted but are worn unevenly. When there is more than a couple thousandths variation in rotor thickness, it pushes the pads in and out when the brakes are applied. The force is transmitted back through the caliper pistons, brake lines and master cylinder all the way to the brake pedal, creating a vibration or pulsation that can be felt by the driver. The greater the variation in rotor thickness, the stronger the vibration or pulsation. It’s a really annoying condition, though not necessarily an unsafe one. It may be mistaken by the vehicle owner for a problem with their antilock brake system, which also can produce pedal pulsation or vibrations when the ABS system kicks into play.
Uneven rotor wear and thickness variations can be caused by severe rotor overheating (a dragging brake pad or stuck caliper), by distortion in the rotor caused by uneven torque or over-tightening the lug nuts, or even metallurgical defects in the rotor casting itself. High spots on the rotor will often be discolored with a dark bluish tint. Resurfacing the rotor can restore flat parallel surfaces, but often the hard spots that are caused by overheating or uneven wear extend into the metal surface. Over time, this will cause uneven wear again and the pedal pulsation or vibration to return. Replacing the rotors with new ones eliminates any such worries.
Rotors also must be replaced if they are cracked, damaged or severely corroded. The danger is rotor failure due to the cracks or severe corrosion. Some minor heat cracking on the surface may be acceptable, but heavy or deep cracking is not.
Another reason to replace rotors is to upgrade braking performance and/or the appearance of the vehicle. Drilled or slotted rotors do add a performance look to any brake system, and they also can provide improved cooling for the rotors and venting for the pads. The holes and/or slots provide an escape path for hot gases that can form between the pads and rotor when the brakes are working hard. Holes and slots or wavy grooves in the rotor face also create turbulence, which improves airflow and cooling.
Some vehicles come factory-equipped with “composite” rotors that have a thin stamped steel center hat section mated with a cast rotor body to save weight. This type of rotor tends to be more sensitive to uneven wear and distortion than one-piece cast rotors. Composite rotors also are more costly to replace, so one-piece aftermarket cast rotors are a replacement option. However, if replacing composite rotors with one-piece castings, both rotors (right and left) should be replaced at the same time to maintain even braking and alignment side-to-side. On some vehicles, replacing a composite rotor with a thicker cast rotor also may alter wheel geometry slightly, creating increased toe-out and tire wear when turning.
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Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) has acquired the DieHard brand from Transform Holdco LLC (“Transformco”), for $200 million utilizing cash on hand.
“We are excited to acquire global ownership of an iconic American brand. DieHard will help differentiate Advance, drive increased DIY customer traffic and build a unique value proposition for our Professional customers and Independent Carquest partners. DieHard has the highest brand awareness and regard of any automotive battery brand in North America and will enable Advance to build a leadership position within the critical battery category,” said Tom Greco, president and CEO, Advance Auto Parts. “DieHard stands for durability and reliability and we will strengthen and leverage the brand in other battery categories, such as marine and recreational vehicles. We also see opportunities to extend DieHard in other automotive categories. We remain committed to providing our customers with high-quality products and excellent service. The addition of DieHard to our industry leading assortment of national brands, OE parts and owned brands will enable us to differentiate Advance and drive significant long-term shareholder value.”
AmazonBasics High Mileage Motor Oil - Synthetic Blend
AmazonBasics high-mileage synthetic-blend motor oil offers an enhanced level of protection for engines over 75,000 miles. Its synthetic blend combines conventional oil with synthetic for cost efficiency with some of the benefits of a full synthetic. An important part of routine maintenance, the motor oil works well for anything from topping off levels to complete oil changes. Whether it’s a beloved older vehicle or one with an uncertain maintenance history, help protect its engine with AmazonBasics high-mileage, synthetic-blend motor oil.
When selecting parts for a car repair, it pays to know the differences between original and aftermarket parts. Whenever possible, get estimates for both.
Choosing between original and aftermarket car parts — and even used parts of either type — is all about squaring your priorities with your budget.
You’ll have different options depending on the part and the shop. And the best choice will depend on whether you’re trying to keep repairs cheap, restore your car’s appearance after a wreck or soup up your ride.
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts match those that came with your car, and are of the same quality as its original parts. They’re also the most expensive.
The factory-recommended replacement intervals for filters can vary quite a bit depending on the year, make and model of the vehicle, as well as how it is driven. As a rule, older vehicles (those more than 15 to 20 years old) typically have more frequent service intervals than newer vehicles. Why? Because late-model vehicles require less maintenance, thanks to improvements in motor oils, transmission fluids, engine design and filter media.
Many long-life air and oil filters use synthetic fiber media or a blend of cellulose and synthetic fibers to extend filter life.
Changing the oil and filter every 3,000 miles was standard practice decades ago. But it’s no longer necessary because most multi-viscosity oils today are a synthetic blend or a full synthetic that resist viscosity breakdown and oxidation for a much longer period of time. Late-model fuel-injected engines also run much cleaner than their carbureted ancestors, which reduces oil contamination in the crankcase.
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.