How to Know When Car Brakes Need Work

It would be a perfect world if our cars and trucks never required routine maintenance and upkeep, but unfortunately that is not reality. Our vehicles require a specific level of care to preserve and sustain appearance, performance, and most importantly, safety. Routine maintenance such as windshield wiper blade replacement, radiator flushes, tire rotations, oil changes, tune-ups, and more, are critical to overall vehicle preservation.

Pay Special Attention to the Brakes

One of the most important components to keep in a safe and functional condition is the braking system. This system requires special attention in order to keep you safe on the road and protect your investment. If you neglect your car brakes, not only can it cause extra damage to your vehicle, it can lead to your car being a total loss. That is because, in many cases, when an entire braking system needs replaced, the cost can exceed the total value of the vehicle. In this situation, a person’s best bet is to sell their totaled car to a junk car buyer, purchase another vehicle, and then stay dedicated to a routine brake maintenance agenda to avoid vehicular damage.

As soon as you start to notice signs of brake problems, bring your car into a professional automotive body shop for an inspection before the problem can cause overall car damage. Don’t know the signs that suggest your car brakes need some work? Continue reading to learn the most common ones to keep an eye out for while you drive!

Repair or Replacement?

To understand how to identify or look out for brake problems in your vehicle, first it is helpful to understand the basic components of a car brake system. There are four general parts: the hydraulic clamp, brake fluid line, brake pads, and brake rotors. Some may argue that brake pads and rotors are actually part of the wheel, but in this case, we will still include them because they can influence the need for brake repair. In most cases, the brake lines and hydraulic clamp will not experience much wear and tear; they are built to last a long time. On the other hand, brake pads and rotors are susceptible to wear and tear at all times and will need replacing every few thousand miles or so.

They are exposed to deterioration every time you drive because the pad presses against the smooth metal rotor every time the brake is applied. Over time, this pad is worn down and will make a recognizable noise to warn you that they are low. Brake pads squeal or hiss when they get low. The noise is actually the result of the bare pad scraping against the metal rotor (the metal disk that spins on the wheel) and causing friction between them. It can start out as a faint squeak, and turn into a high-pitched squeal if neglected. If you hear grinding then the pad is most likely worn completely thin and is grinding against the rotor. This can really damage the brake rotors. The thickness of the brake padding, the amount of driving you do, and the way you drive all influence the amount of times you will need to replace them.

Selling a Junk Car for Cash

If you discover that your car brakes are shot and need to be replaced, but the cost exceeds the total value if your vehicle, you can still make it profitable by selling it to a junk car buyer. Choose a company that has premium electronic scales that can accurately assess the value of your junk car. Then use the cash toward another vehicle!

Auto Body Work Done the Right Way

Auto Body Work Done the Right Way

Cars are everywhere. This means that thousands of accidents happen around the world daily. When you have an accident, of course the first priority is to ensure that everyone is OK. Eventually you will need to take care of the damage done to you car. Heading to an auto body repair shop can be an unpleasant experience with the industry constantly fighting speculation of poor quality work, overcharging for work done and dishonesty. Knowing when your car has had auto body work done the right way is crucial. Here is what you need to look for.

Research Online

The internet is a great place to get information on anything and everything. A quick browse of car related forums can enable you to find out what you should expect. Posting a photo to a forum of the damage that needs to be repaired will see you receiving estimates from people who love anything and everything to do with auto-body work repairs.

Word of Mouth

It is old school, but people still do talk to their friends (or post on social media sites). Asking your local friends both online and offline, which auto body repair shops they recommend is a great way to started. At worst you will find out the body shops you want to avoid, you may get an earful about good and bad experiences they have had.

Consider the State of the Business

Price is always a consideration when getting auto body work completed. It is not something that you shop for regularly, so knowing what to expect price wise is tough to gauge. Two key influencers on price are shop format and location. In prime locations, prices are higher as a result of rental costs. In terms of shop format, if there is no admin staff or large overhead the costs will be lower.

Shop Around

There is no shortage of auto body repair shops in your area. There is no harm in getting quotes from at least three locations; most body shops provide you a quote for free. When shops realize that you are willing to shop around, you may be surprised how competitive they can get. Remember, the highest bidder may not be the best to go with simply because of pricing, and the lowest bidder may not have the man power to get the job done on your schedule.

Ask Questions

Going in with your wallet open ready to fork out whatever is required is a bad idea. Asking questions is good. You’re the buyer, putting them under pressure will quickly let you know whether you can trust them or not. Top three questions to ask:

– Does you service have a warranty?

– Are you able to provide references I can call?

– How long will my car be in service for?

Dealing with auto body repair shops can be frustrating. However taking your time and really considering the above points can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Ultimately, you can do all the research you want (a good idea), however your intuition should never be doubted. If someone has a great price but something smells fishy, move onto the next shop. On the other hand, if someone has a price you feel is high but insists you will not find cheaper, ignore him and find out for yourself. Good luck shopping for the auto-body repair shop that fits your expectations.

Does Hybrid Battery Conditioning Really Work?

Anyone that is even remotely familiar with hybrid vehicles is aware that even with the many benefits they give, there are some potential drawbacks that are necessary to consider. One of these drawbacks, according to mechanics and consumers, seems to be with their battery’s longevity, power and all-mighty gas mileage over time. The drawbacks do not affect every consumer and every hybrid on the road – and there are plenty. Current reports estimate some two million hybrid-gas-electric and diesel-electric vehicles on the road in 2013 and the EIA estimates that in 2011, there were nearly 11 million alternative fuel vehicles in the United States. With that many hybrids driven, there are bound to be some battery issues and most have to do with loss of power and gas mileage.

Most consumers are willing to take the risks and many warranties have extended battery coverage to 100,000 in many cases. Most batteries will last well beyond those estimates and can continue to perform as new. But there are some batteries which even after this amount of life just need some new life breathed into them. If a hybrid car experiences a battery failure outside of its warranty, however, the owner is on his or her own when it comes to battery replacement. Consumers who are not aware of the hybrid battery conditioning option may find themselves in awe at current hybrid battery prices, some climbing over $4,000. Dr. Mark Quarto and his team at the Automotive Research and Design have developed technology that can restore a hybrid battery to over 95% of its original performance.

The technology sounds quite mind-blowing, but the question remains – does it work? Many consumers are anxious to save thousands of dollars with hybrid battery conditioning rather than replacing their old battery. Not only are financial savings evident, but many hybrid owners are anxious to enjoy the environmental benefits of this exclusive technology as was one of the original factors in why they purchased a hybrid in the first place. Dr. Mark Quarto is an expert in hybrid battery conditioning and states that his proprietary technology will change the hybrid industry. His familiarity with nickel metal hydride, lithium technologies and the history of hybrid development makes for some very interesting and research-based finds.

If you notice that your hybrid has less power than ever before, or that your fuel efficiency is far below your normal range, your battery capabilities may be under some sort of failure or deterioration. How does a hybrid battery lose performance capabilities? There are two systems that can impact your hybrid’s acceleration. Of course, when it comes to traditional cars you only have one propulsion system composed of the engine which goes on gasoline. With a hybrid, you have the engine with gasoline and then you have an electric propulsion or traction system. Both must work together in order to make your hybrid what it is. There are times where the hybrid battery pack may be low on energy and power. When you begin the acceleration process, the hybrid requires that electric traction system to make the vehicle go. If that battery pack isn’t providing the proper amount of energy, you may feel the hybrid hesitate or seem more sluggish than usual. If you can identify the cause or work with an auto repair shop specialized in finding solutions for diminishing batteries or acceleration issues, your hybrid can continue to last you for many years.

That is why battery conditioning is gaining so much popularity. Hybrid owners can immediately enjoy their vehicle’s performance again. The hybrid battery conditioning is straightforward and costs a fraction of the cost of a new battery. This alone is what consumers are most excited for, and rightfully so. There are thousands of old hybrid batteries filling up landfills across the country. In order to make a difference on the environment, as most hybrid drivers want to do, so hybrid battery conditioning can help eliminate landfill waste.

At an average cost of $4,000 to $4,500, this is a significant investment that essentially eliminates the reason for buying a hybrid vehicle. Hybrid vehicles tend to be a little more expensive upfront but are not necessarily more expensive to maintain during their lifetime, unless you need to replace the battery after the warranty is up. Hybrid battery conditioning eliminates this drawback by costing less and giving your vehicle more life. Because the hybrid battery is an integral part of the vehicle’s operation, it is often compared to the vehicle’s transmission. Most hybrid batteries do not need to be replaced. In fact, 60-80% of hybrid batteries which were bought new didn’t have to be replaced when they were not performing well (when under warranty or not).

The battery system is much more complex, however. The hybrid battery is not one entity but a pack of battery modules. The battery pack is what gives the vehicle its power. Without this battery pack, a hybrid driver cannot and would not get the power or the fuel efficiency it claims. The Toyota Prius battery, for example, consists of 28 individual modules and when there is a battery pack issue, it is most likely due to one of the modules, not all of them. Each of the 28 modules has its own health state and at any given time they can be at a different state. Over time, the battery modules in the worst state in that pack end up triggering a diagnostic code and that sometimes can force a dealer or repair shop to replace the battery. However it may be that one or two of the modules need to be replaced and not the entire pack or the battery could just be imbalanced or low on capacity. Low capacity is where battery conditioning comes into play and is very common. Conditioning means that the pack is cycled (top charge taken down to zero then back to 100%). This is good for the battery pack and the cells but can also help diagnose any pack issues.

All in all, hybrid battery replacement is one of the most critical issues facing hybrid drivers. With hybrid battery conditioning as effective and as efficient as it is, drivers have another option for extending the lifetime of their hybrid and supporting a cleaner environment. Reconditioning a battery has been found to add about six years to the vehicle for one-fourth of the price of replacing the entire battery pack. It has been proven to improve fuel efficiency and increase power and has been highly recommended by consumers all over. Is it worth a shot? Absolutely. When shops can guarantee the advantages mentioned above, it is well worth it.