Simmons Auto Paint and Body Shop

How to do an oil change

oilchange

One of the cornerstones of do-it-yourself car maintenance jobs is the home oil change. It's a simple process that requires few tools, and it's a sure way to save some money while you avoid the hassle of sitting in a dull waiting room somewhere reading outdated magazines.

More than anything, the basic oil change is a great way to connect with your vehicle and take some control over its maintenance. The time you spend under the hood and under the car affords you an excellent opportunity to look around and see if anything else needs attention.

Check out this video on how to do an oil change.

Tips

  • There are some oil drain valves on the market that replace your normal drain pan bolt. These can make oil changes much more convenient and can reduce the amount of mess you make.
  • To avoid getting oil all over your arm when removing the drain plug bolt, apply inward force (as if you are trying to push the plug back into the hole) while removing it. When you know that bolt is fully unscrewed, quickly pull it away from the opening. If you're lucky only a few drops will get on your hand. Tie a rag around your wrist when you remove the oil plug.
  • For a very stubborn filter, using a hammer and a large screwdriver as a sort of "chisel" can push the filter counter-clockwise. Be advised: once you punch hole in this thin filter wall, the engine cannot be started until it's replaced.
  • Consider having a green, eco-friendly oil absorbent product on hand in case you spill some oil. They will absorb oil and will keep your garage and driveway clean. Kitty litter or clay-based products are not effective solutions for this. You can find a wide variety of eco-friendly oil absorbent products online. They are extremely absorbent, easy to use and renewable.


How to change a tire

tire_change

Have you ever been stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire? Do you want to be able to change a tire without having to ask for help? Fortunately, changing a tire is a pretty simple task, provided you're prepared and willing to exert a little effort.

Check out this video on link how to change a tire.

Tips

  • Check occasionally to make sure that your spare tire has sufficient air.
  • Familiarize yourself with this procedure and with the particulars for your car before you get a flat tire, so that you don't have to learn by the side of the road, in the dark or in the rain.
  • When replacing nuts, be sure that the tapered side goes into the wheel. This centers the wheels and locks the nuts in place.
  • If your wheels have locking lug nuts, be sure to keep the key-lug where you can easily find it. You will need it to change the tire.
  • Rotating your tires at manufacturer's recommended intervals can prevent a common problem when changing a flat.
  • When loosening and tightening the nuts, arrange the cross wrench so that you are pressing down (with gravity). This will remove risk of injury to your back and also allow you to use your body weight rather than just your arm strength. Press on the end of the wrench for the best leverage. You can even use your foot, but make sure to keep your balance and steady yourself against the car.
  • Sometimes the wheels will seize to the hub, resulting in great difficulty in removal of the flat tire. If this happens, you will need a sledge hammer and a 2x4 or other piece of wood to remove a seized wheel rim. Rotating your tires will prevent this from happening when you do have to change a tire.
  • In case the nuts are not locking into place, use a towel and hammer and hammer them into place. The hammer can also be used to release your anger on the flat tire.

How to jump a car battery

jump_battery

Whether it's because you left the lights on, the keys in the ignition, or your battery is old, most car owners will be faced with a dead battery sooner or later. Fortunately, if there's another functional car nearby, or if you have a manual transmission, you can jump start the car and be on the move again soon.

Check out this video on how to jump a car battery.

Tips

  • Do not connect the black leads first and the red leads after. If you do that and accidentally drop the red cable onto the car's frame, a massive short-circuit will form, possibly welding the clamp to the chassis.
  • Buy only high quality, heavy duty jumper cables. This is determined by the wire thickness gauge. The lower the gauge number, the heavier the conductor (a #10 conductor or wire is a smaller or thinner than a #8 wire). Do not judge the cable by the overall thickness of the cables alone, as many manufacturers disguise cheap cables simply by encasing a thin conductor with a generous layer of inexpensive plastic insulation. Also remember that the longer the cable, the thicker the wire needs to be.
  • The push/hill start method also works with the car in reverse. Reverse can be easier and requires lower speeds due to the gearing. This also provides an alternative if your car is parked on a hill facing up and you cannot push the car up. You cannot push-start an automatic transmission equipped car, unless you are capable of getting to speeds above 40 mph, which isn't recommended since you will not have power brakes or power steering.
  •  Don't let the working vehicle leave for at least ten minutes. The dead battery must charge for a while, and sometimes will go dead again (especially if you do not keep the engine above idle).
  • Extinguish open flames and smoking materials when near batteries. Batteries emit hydrogen gas as a normal byproduct of the chemical process to generate electricity. Hydrogen gas is highly explosive.
  • Remember that batteries are not always in the same place. Some vehicles have the battery under the hood, some behind the cab, and some are even in the trunk.
  • Many jumper cables have instructions with pictures explaining the order to attach the clamps.
  • There is no electrocution hazard performing a jump on most cars and light trucks. The voltage in the case of jumping is about 12. Twelve volts hasn't electrocuted anyone, however just a small spark near a battery has caused explosions that have cause serious injury or burns. A spark caused by an accidental short circuit is large due to the amount of current or amps, not the voltage.

 

How to check a used car for purchase

purchase_car

If you are thinking about purchasing a used car, you know how confusing it can be. There are so many things to consider that it can be a daunting experience. This is even more true if you are considering buying a car for the first time. There are many things to look for when purchasing a used car but one important factor is to give the car a physical check before making your final decision. Here, then, are a few general pointers on how to physically check out a used car before you buy it.

Check out this video on how to check a used car for purchase.

Tips

  • If after doing this preliminary checkup of the car you think you would like to proceed further with the purchase of the car, seek out the professional opinion of a qualified mechanic. This is a good idea if this the first time you are buying a car or if you have little or no experience with cars. The current owner of the car should have no objections to you having the car checked out further by a mechanic; if the owner does have some objections to this, it could be because there may be something to hide, and in which case you will want to look elsewhere for your purchase.
  • If you live somewhere (such as the state of California) that requires a smog or emissions test on most vehicles, be sure to get the car tested before you purchase it. Repairs to the emission control system can be very expensive and any car that fails inspection will usually need to be fixed before it can be registered. Also, cars with serious wear to internal engine components such as piston rings or valve seats may not pass an emissions test; a smog check can be a good way to make sure that a car is both running properly now and does not have major mechanical defects that will cause you trouble down the road. This test can easily be combined with a vehicle inspection by a qualified mechanic. For places where a smog check is not needed, be sure that a mechanic checks the engine's compression which will also help indicate whether there are internal engine wear problems (this is a particular concern for vehicles with more than 50,000 miles).
  • If it looks like too good of a deal, it probably is.