Category Archives: DIY General

Check Engine Light? Basic Diagnostic Tools to Help You Fix It Right

“A man is nothing without his tools.” That saying may not be entirely accurate but when it comes to working on a vehicle, it is almost dead on. While over the past century cars have been getting more and more complicated, humans have not let themselves be overrun by the huge task of fixing these near-autonomous vehicles. Though cars are becoming technological nightmares, the tools that have been created have become life-savers. For example, if and when that dreaded check engine light appears on your dash, or for most cars now, appears on the different screens and hub assemblies riddled throughout the cabin, we have the perfect tool to counteract it. The check engine light can instill a sense of ignorance, especially when your car looks, sounds, and overall seems like it is running fine. The diagnostic tools that we have been given, however, turn that ignorance into providence. With the ability to analyze and diagnose whatever may be ailing your vehicle, diagnostic tools are the way to stay ahead of the technological curve. How do you use these tools to help with your check engine light or any other issue that needs to be diagnosed? Let’s take a look.

  • The first diagnostic tool we will look at is probably the most common one, the OBD-ll scan tool. This tool is used to examine the car’s computer and discover the faults that were tripped to turn on the check engine light. This tool is extremely handy to have as it can tell you what your car’s issue is almost instantly. It’s use is as simple as plugging in the cord to the OBD port, normally located under the steering wheel, and hitting scan. There are different types of scan tools, as some are more expensive and others less so. The more expensive ones do offer more features while the inexpensive ones offer just the basics. Whatever type of scan tool you get, however, it will tell you the codes of why the check engine light appeared. These scan tools can help alleviate any worries or give you a sense of what needs taken care, depending on if the issue is a big or small one, and are something every DIYer should have in their holster.
  • Another useful diagnostic tool for your utility belt is a multimeter. This tools can be extremely handy in discovering any issues within a sensor’s wiring or with a sensor itself. You can use it by checking the voltage output of a sensor, and see if the check engine light or other issue has been caused by that. Having this tool can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.
  • While any issue appearing in your car is a pain, one of the worst car pains are engine issues. Engine issues can be caused by all sorts of troublemaking elements, but normally it is air, fuel, or spark related. Having a vacuum-pressure gauge can help figure out any air problems within the system. If you think any of your engine’s problems are air related, then you will want to have a gauge ready and waiting to be used. Keep in mind that you can check the fuel pressure with this tool as well on any car that has a carburetor.
  • Finally, one of the last diagnostic tools that is useful to have in a tough check engine light or other frustrating situation, on a modern fuel injection car, is a fuel-pressure gauge. Checking the pressure of your fuel can sometimes be the best way to figuring out a problem with your car.

The tools that we have to figure out a check engine light, and any other issues that may appear in our car, can be time and money savers. Instead of having to pull the car apart piece by piece, we have tools that can diagnose the problem down to a simple code. So take advantage of these DIY gifts and use them to make your car-fixing day, just a little bit better.

How to Replace a Headlight Bulb (Toyota Corolla and Others)

The small and almost insignificant parts and pieces of a vehicle, like your Toyota Corolla, can often add up and prove to be actually quite important. Though some parts may not be key or crucial to the operation of the vehicle, necessarily, there is always a reason a certain part or piece is installed. While not being the ultimate reason a car starts and runs, some parts are there for other reasons. For example, one reason a part may be installed is for safety, and not just for yourself, but for others around you as well.

Toyota Headlights Causing You Problems?
Toyota Headlights Causing You Problems?

One of these particular safety parts is your headlights. Though seemingly unimportant, headlights are actually extremely important for the road. Obviously, headlights allow you to see in the dark, essentially making driving a 24-hour possibility, but they are also there for communicating to other drivers around. When driving on a road at night, especially the back roads and country roads, headlights communicate to other drivers heading in your direction, that you are headed in theirs.
Headlights are important, but what if one of your headlight bulbs goes out? Here is a quick and easy guide, to help you get your Toyota Corolla, or whatever Toyota you may be driving, back to blinking with both headlights.
• First, as with all DIY projects, gather the supplies you will need for the project at hand. In this particular case, you should only need the replacement headlight bulb. You can probably pick up the appropriate bulb at your local auto parts store, before beginning the project.
• Next, prepare your car by making sure it is in park, and the open the hood.
• After opening the hood, you should notice in the back of the headlight that is out, a connector jutting out. To access the headlight bulb, you will need to push down on the connector, in order to unplug the wiring. For the unconnected portion, rotate it counter clockwise to find the bulb.
• Once the headlight bulb is showing, and is ready be removed, then start the removal process. To do this, you must twist the bulb, counterclockwise, to unscrew it from the electrical connector. You should now have everything ready for the installation process.
• Carefully, pull out the new headlight bulb from its box, and screw it into the vacant socket, counter clockwise. Just to reiterate, though, it is very important for you to handle the headlight Bulb with care. They can break extremely easily. Pro Tip: Dirt and grease, even your fingerprint, can lead to uneven heating and expansion of the bulb while in use, and the bulb could explode. Use clean rubber gloves to install the new bulb in the socket. Lacking gloves, alcohol wipes are very good for removing dirt and grease from the bulb before installation and testing.
• After putting the new bulb in, check the headlights to see if they are both working. If the one that was out continues to be out, bring your Toyota Camry to a mechanic to check for any problems in the electrical system. If after checking your headlights, and they are both working correctly, then you are good to go!
Your headlights are very important in keeping your driving lifestyle safe. When a headlight bulb goes out, do not just ignore it. Seeing where you are going on the road is clearly your number one priority while driving, and keeping your headlights working makes sure that happens no matter what time it is. So if and when your headlight bulbs go out, follow this guide, and you will be back to lighting up the world, on your many driving adventures.

Car Jack Safety – How to Choose the Right Jack for DIY Repairs

DIY auto repair projects can be satisfying and exciting, as you start seeing how much money and time you can save, as well as seeing your own repair ability grow and develop. Unfortunately, though, as you commence in different DIY projects, you may notice a certain lack of safety instructions in different DIY guides, especially when it comes to car jack safety. Does this mean car jack safety isn’t important or is irrelevant? Not in the least!

Car jacks must be able to hold up a considerable amount of weight and allow you to work without fear, while you are completely under that weight. If you choose your jack poorly, it can mean your life, and that is not an exaggeration. Choosing the right jack is an important step in DIY repairs and should not be overlooked. Let us look at a couple jacks and their differences, ensuring you are making car jack safety a priority.

We will be taking a look at the scissor jack, or the factory jack that came with your vehicle, and the floor jack, or a service jack that you must purchase separately.

  • The first aspect of car jack safety we will consider is the weight each car jack can handle. Normally, when you buy a vehicle, it will come with a scissor jack that was specifically designed to hold the weight of your vehicle or even just one corner of that vehicle. If you try using it on another vehicle or lifting too much of the vehicle it came with, then the results could be catastrophic. Floor jacks, meant for vehicle repairs both DIY and professional, come with different capacity limits, but most being two tons or more. This makes them much safer to use for lifting your vehicle for an extended period of time or lifting a wide range of vehicles. Taking the weight capacities and the designations for each jack will help you always take car jack safety into consideration.
  • The second aspect is the length of time your car jack can stay viable and dependable. The car jack that came with your vehicle was specifically made for handling roadside repairs. It was not designed to handle regular DIY projects and repairs. The jack was created with the idea that you should not have too many roadside breakdowns. This means your scissor jack should not be depended on for any and all DIY projects. Floor jacks were created for long-term and repeated use. They will last an impressive amount of time in your DIY arsenal and can be depended on for almost all projects throughout its extensive life-time.
  • The final difference we will discuss is the different abilities of both jacks. As previously stated, the scissor jack is designed for roadside repairs, and more specifically, changing a tire. Working on anything beyond this with a scissor jack can be disastrous and costly. Floor jacks are versatile to the extreme as they were created to work on a number of different vehicle types and weights. They can unfortunately be quite heavy and take up a lot of room as well. This makes scissor jacks still relevant for portability and mobility.

Floor jacks and scissor jacks are both useful for different situations and projects and therefore, if you own both, don’t feel that they are just interchangeable. Looking at this list you will see the importance of both types of jacks and the intentions for both as well. Whatever the project you are working on, whatever jack you choose to match the project, always employ proper car jack safety by using jack stands and wheel blocks. If you consider this guide and work within the capabilities of your car jack, your DIY projects will go smoothly and safely.