Replace a Radiator Hose the Right Way

Electrochemical degradation (ECD) sounds pretty daunting, and it could happen to you, or at least to your car. The truth is, while it is something that could happen to your radiator hoses, it is also something you can fix. The way ECD works is that the radiator hose, the engine coolant, and the radiator fittings create a sort of battery, which can cause microscopic cracks in the inner tube of the radiator hose. This makes it possible for the engine coolant to weaken the radiator hose’s chemical and physical structure, weakening it. This is clearly a bad thing but, with this DIY guide helping you out, you can fix it like a pro and have your engine coolant flowing the way it should be, once again.

  • As with all DIY auto repair projects, you will want to gather the necessary tools, and have them ready for the upcoming work. In this particular project, you will need a screwdriver, a sharp knife, tin snips, a wire brush, and perhaps a heat gun, depending on the clamp used.
  • Once you have all your tools ready to go, it’s time to begin the replacement process. You can do this by confirming that ECD has affected your radiator hose. You can do this by first allowing or ensuring your engine is cool. Then, use your fingers and thumb to check the hose for any weak spots in it. If you squeeze near the hose clamps, you should be able to see if ECD is affecting it or not by checking for any minor gaps from it being weakened. The feeling towards the middle of the hose will be different than near the clamps if ECD has occurred. They will feel soft and weak and then you will be absolutely sure that ECD has affected your radiator hose. Swollen parts of the hose, when the engine is at operating temperature, are another good indicator.
  • To start, you are going to remove the radiator hose. To do this, make sure you have drained the engine coolant to below wherever you are working at. Removing the hose should be relatively easy, once you have removed the clamps. Understandably, some hoses can stick to the fitting and/or the hose clamp can become rusted. In this case you will need to use the tin snips to cut the clamp off and use the knife to cut the hose. Do not try to force the hose off as this could damage the fitting, especially plastic fittings found on many new engines. Once the radiator hose is out of the way, check the fittings. Ensure there are no bursts or sharp edges that could damage the new radiator hose’s inner tube. You can even clean the fitting off with a wire brush.
  • You should add the new clamp, or the old one if it’s still in good condition, to the hose end, then slide the hose onto the fitting. We always recommend using new clamps to avoid future issues. There’s no reason to cheap out on such an inexpensive part of the job.
  • Be sure to push the hose far past the fitting edge, and then slide the clamp between the edge of the fitting and the end of the radiator hose. Check to see that the tightening part of the clamp is easy to reach.
  • If the hose is not an exact OEM fit, then a little bending may occur. This is alright, but only if it does not pinch or kink the hose.
  • Once you are all set, go ahead and tighten the radiator hose clamp.
  • Now that the hose is attached, you may refill with engine coolant, either using your previous product or adding new, and then start your engine. Once it is heated up, you may need to add more.
  • Now check there are no leaks and you are good to go!

ECD may sound like a scary thing, but with this guide, and your DIY prowess, you will be well on your way to changing your radiator hose like a true pro!

What Kind of Brake Pads Should You Choose?

Whether you own a Bugatti Veyron or a 71’ beat-up pick-up truck, the one equalizer of all car classes is brake pads. There is no vehicle that can survive without them and there is no vehicle that wouldn’t be in serious danger if the brake pads wear out without the owner’s knowledge. However, though brake pads in general may equalize different drivers and their cars, if you look into the details of the different kinds of brake pads you will see the great contrast between different vehicles and their needs.

What are these differences within the brake pad selection that can affect your choice when you decide to get new brake pads? What kind of brake pads best suit you and your vehicle? Let us take a look at what kind of brake pads are out there and what type of driver, vehicle, and style, they are designed for.

Factory Brake Pads

First, we will look at the OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] brake pads, those that came with the car or that you bought at the dealership to replace worn-out pads.

The OEM brake pads that were made for your vehicle can be described as basically average. The wear, the performance, and the dust from these brake pads are simply regular. There is nothing particularly special with these pads but also there is not really any specific detriment that they cause either.

In that case, why would you not just use these brake pads on your vehicle? Even though the OEM brake pads are the default pads for a vehicle, drivers and vehicles can be considered anything but default. Different styles of driving and different types of vehicles causes a necessary variety between brake pads and therefore, default may not work for everyone.

Soft Brake Pads

We have established that brake pads need to have different features to lend themselves to the different personalities of cars and drivers out there and so now let us look at our Second type of brake pads. Soft brake pads are designed for high-performance vehicles that need to stop quickly and with little effort. They also are very quiet which can make it more of a comfortable ride as well.

While this sounds perfect for any vehicle, the problems that come with a soft brake pad may repudiate some drivers. For example, the cost of performance is the loss of durability. Soft brake pads wear out very quickly, which can lead to other problems with the rotors, if you don’t pay attention to them. Also, replacing them consistently can add up money-wise, which is a strong detractor as well. Understandably, most high-performance vehicle owners don’t mind spending a little more for high-performance brake pads so the money issue may not be a problem. However, the other negative factor of soft brake pads is the amount of dust they create. Dust can be both annoying and cosmetically detrimental if left uncleaned.

Hard Brake Pads

The Third brake pad type we will be looking at is hard brake pads. These can be noisy, even if working correctly, and more importantly, they increase stopping distance compared to other kinds. If you do choose hard brake pads, the details of hard brake pads must be taken into consideration when you stop your car. Give yourself more time and room to brake, or it could lead to fender-benders and accidents.

The benefits of hard brakes are essentially the opposite of the downfalls of the soft brake pads. Hard brake pads last longer than soft ones, which can make your wallet happy, and they generate far less dust.

Choose Wisely

As you can see, there are benefits and detriments to each kind of brake pad. Choosing which brake pad depends fully on what positives you prefer for your vehicle, and are ok dealing with the negatives that follow.

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.

Toyota Corolla power window problems? Here’s what you need to know.

Power windows are one of life’s greater conveniences. Not everyone has them, but if they do, opening and closing power windows is push-button convenient. What if you have power windows in your car but they stop working? Today, we’re looking at the Toyota Corolla, possible power window failures and solutions.

  • The first reason your Toyota Corolla’s power window could be broken is the one you want to check before looking into the others, because of a bad fuse. Checking and changing a bad fuse is the easiest solution for a power window problem on your Toyota Corolla. To check if the fuse is your problem, simply test your electric door locks. If these don’t work, either, then open your fuse box, whether in the cabin or under the hood, and replace the Door/Window Fuse. If your electric locks work but your power window doesn’t then you know there is a different explanation for why it is not working.
  • If the fuse is good, and the power locks work, you may have a problem with the power window switch or wiring. You’ll need a wiring diagram and DVOM (digital volt-ohm meter) to test inputs and outputs from the power window master switch or the individual power window switch on another door. Double check that the power window lockout switch is properly working. On the non-driver doors, you can swap switches from other doors to check.
  • The next troubleshooting you want to try for checking your Toyota Corolla’s power window is checking the window regulator. This motor commonly fails or dies, and when it does, you will likely see your window fall halfway down the frame. If you believe this is the cause of your power window problems then you will need to remove the door panel on your Toyota Corolla. To accomplish this, follow the next portion for repair.
    • First, pop the hood of your car to disconnect the negative power cable from your battery. This will ensure a safe work environment for working on the electrical and motorized parts in your door.
    • Second, search your door panel for all screws holding it in and remove them.
    • Third, remove the door panel with door panel removal tool or a flat-head screwdriver, carefully popping it from the plastic clips holding it on.
    • Fourth, you will probably see an electrical connection attached to the door panel that must be removed before proceeding.
    • Fifth, you may see a plastic covering protecting the inner workings of your door. Remove this as well.
  • If it is the regulator then you will see it clasped onto the window. To remove it, carefully slide the window regulator off the window. You may want to raise the window yourself, and tape or clamp it, during the regulator replacement process. Once you have replaced the power window regulator, reattach the window and the electric parts to test it.
  • If you know the problem with your power window isn’t the fuse or the window regulator, it very well may be that your window has come off track. Over time, the window rails on your Toyota Corolla may begin to fail. This will cause them to become loose, or worse, to completely fail altogether. If this is the problem, you will notice your power window is loose as well. To repair this, follow the five steps in the preceding power window regulator segment to remove your Toyota Corolla’s door panel. Once the panel is removed, you should be able to see the window tracks. If you do notice that one is broken or loose, you can try to fix them by shoring in the gaps. However, in this case you may need to seek professional assistance for the best repair.

Power windows in your Toyota Corolla make driving in a life quite literally a breeze. If they fail or begin to fail, it can bring upon an unnecessary headache. These troubleshooting steps and solutions should help bring you back to the glory days of cruising with windows down in your Toyota Corolla.

How to Replace Your Car Stereo

Every new car that you see has an impressive looking car stereo installed as a standard option, making each customer that buys one a happy customer. But just because only certain people can buy these brand new cars with nice car stereos, doesn’t mean you must suffer with an old one. You can have your old commuter car, and still enjoy quality, easy-to-operate music while you drive. We have a simple guide that will help you install a new car stereo to jam out with.

  • To begin this do-it-yourself project, you will first want to decide what car stereo you want by either going to a store or buying one online. Make sure you get one that will fit in your vehicle, look up your car’s stereo size and what size stereo will work with it. Once you acquired the car stereo, or head unit, you want, let us head into your car.
  • Before you install your new head unit, you obviously must remove the old car stereo first. You will need to use the removal tool/keys by sliding them each into the appropriate slots at the front of the car stereo. You should then be able to pull the old head unit out, and detach all the wires from the back of it. Other head units may require the removal of trim pieces. A flat screwdriver, wrapped in masking tape, works well for this purpose.
  • Now that the old head unit is out, you will see many wires that are stoked to make a new connection with the next eligible car stereo. To get started you will need to connect the car’s wiring to the adapter harness. As wiring can fit differently depending on the make and model of car, you may need multiple adapters for the transition. An example of another adapter that you may need, is an antenna adapter. The car’s antenna cable end and the car stereo’s antenna cable end could be incompatible and therefore you will need an adapter to convert a female end to male end, or vice versa. On the other hand, if you have a wiring diagram and soldering set, you can save a little bit of money by wiring it in yourself.
  • As stated before, your car could be older but you are still looking for a new car stereo. This may create the need for an output converter. The need for an outfit converter is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just important to know beforehand to ensure your new car stereo works correctly. Just to emphasize, not all cars will need one when installing a new car stereo, but it would be best to find out before committing to the installation process.
  • Once all these connections have been made, it would be good to tuck all the wiring into the console to keep your work in order. Remember, a tidy workspace is a happy workspace. Also, having the wires pushed into the console makes it easier for the last step of replacing your car stereo.
  • The last step of replacing your car stereo is plugging in the wiring harness and testing to make sure it works. When testing, don’t simply turn on the car stereo and turn it off, be sure to test the full functionality of the stereo. It would be a real shame if you were to install it completely, start driving down the road, and find out that, say, the power antenna doesn’t activate. Once you have tested it, compete the installation by sliding the radio into the frame. You may need an adapter for this as well if it is not the right size. Reapply any trim that came off and you are good to go!

Installing a new car radio can be a fun DIY project. The work is rewarding in itself but it also leads to endless melodies on your trips and commutes. You are now ready to replace a car stereo yourself and use the stereo features of a new car. This can make your little-vehicle-that-could, a little-vehicle-that-does.

Differential Oil Change Instructions (05-15 Toyota Tacoma 4×4)

If you are looking to change the differential oil in your Toyota Tacoma 4×4, then we have the right guide for you. We know many do-it-yourself projects can lead to disappointment or frustration (or, worse!) damage, if you forgot a step, tool, or part that is necessary for the project at hand. This guide will help make sure that your differential oil change takes place without a hitch. So if you are ready to get this DIY project going, we will move right into our first step.

  • Before setting up your vehicle for a differential oil change, lifting, supporting, and immobilizing it, you want to start this project right by checking to see if you have all your needed parts and supplies. In this particular project, you will need a 10mm hex socket for the differential’s fill and drain plugs, an oil drain pan, a hand pump for pumping oil, and a torque wrench if possible. The supplies you need consist of about one and a half quarts of 75W-90, and some PB blaster if needed for any plugs that are stuck.
  • Once you have gathered all the necessary tools and supplies, you are ready for the doing-part of this do-it-yourself project. To reach your Tacoma’s differential, you may want a rolling mat or soft pad to lay on while working, to make it easier to focus on the project and not the searing pain from laying on rough asphalt. When you have made it under the car, with easy access to all your tools, you may notice something blocking your view of the differential’s fill and drain plugs. This is most likely the skid plate. You will need to remove this before proceeding with the next step of the process.
  • After removing the skid plate, you will see two 10mm Hex or Allen plugs, one is the fill plug another is the drain. Start by moving the pan underneath the drain plug and removing the fill plug first, to make sure you can get it off while you still have oil in your system. Next, remove the drain plug and let it drain the old oil out. While it is draining, it would be the best time to clean the magnet on the drain plug. Once it is drained out, you will want to use the torque wrench and torque the drain plug to 48 lb•ft. Now grab the 75W-90 and your oil pump. Pump about 1.6 quarts of differential oil into the differential. The oil may begin to spill out slightly, so be sure to have rag handy to clean up any excess. Once the differential fluid dwindles to a few drips, clean off the fill plug and reinstall it, and torqueing it to 29 lb•ft.
  • The last step is to just reattach the skid plate, and clean up the tools used for your differential oil change. Make sure to clear all tools out from under your car, so that you don’t create any problems for your tires or undercarriage. Once you’ve cleaned up, you are done!

The differential oil change has just these few steps to take that will take from old differential oil to new differential oil in just a few minutes. Remember to follow all torqueing pressures so as to not strip the plugs. As with all DIY projects, always use the appropriate safety tools while working on your car. If you follow these steps, and use all safety precautions, your differential oil change will be one more project you can cross off your list.

Twelve Step Plan – Toyota Engine Oil Change

Eager to replace your Toyota engine oil, but not quite sure how? We have a twelve step plan designed to help you get the old oil out and the new oil in, both easily and safely. Make sure to grab all the tools needed for your oil change, before embarking on the oil change adventure. The tools necessary for this project include:

  • Engine Oil – Check your owner’s manual for type and quantity.
  • Engine Oil Filter – The autoparts store should have an application list specifying the exact filter you need, based on year, make, model, and engine.
  • Drain Plug Gasket – There are a number of different styles available, including plastic, fiber, copper, and steel crush gaskets. The steel crush gasket is the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) type, but they all work well.
  • Oil Filter Wrench – There are different types of oil filter wrenches, including band, strap, and socket types. Choose one that fits both your Toyota and your budget.
  • Metric Socket Set or Wrenches – Make sure your set is complete. In other words, don’t try to use a 15 mm socket on a 14 mm drain plug. You might strip the drain plug head, making it difficult to remove.
  • Oil Drain Pan, Oil Fill Funnel, Gloves (preferably impermeable, so they won’t absorb hot oil), and Rags (for cleanup).

Once you have gathered all your tools and supplies, you are ready to start the twelve-step plan.

  1. First, when beginning the oil change, you want to warm your vehicles engine by starting it up and allowing it to get to normal running temperature. If you’ve just come off home from work, you’ll want to give your engine a few minutes to cool off, because the engine oil will be too hot to work with comfortably!
  2. Second, make sure your car is parked in a level area. Also, be sure to give yourself plenty of space to both get under and get out from under the car. Always be extremely careful when jacking up and supporting your Toyota.
  3. Third, after parking your vehicle in appropriate position for working, grab your keys from the ignition to ensure a safe work environment, while working and lying under your car.
  4. Fourth, remove the oil fill cap that is located on the top of the engine, and then move your way under the car. Find the drain plug underneath the engine, and move your oil pan into a position where it can catch the old oil. Go ahead and remove the drain plug, slowly and carefully, as the pressure may cause it to overshoot the pan and also burn your skin. Let the oil drain for about four to six minutes.
  5. Fifth, remove the old drain plug gasket and install a new one. Make sure it is the right size and type for your Toyota.
  6. Sixth, reinstall the drain plug, threading by hand until the drain plug gasket makes contact with the oil pan. Use a metric wrench or socket to tighten the drain plug and seat the gasket, typically no more than a quarter-turn. Do not over-tighten as it can cross-thread or strip the drain plug.
  7. Seventh, now that your old oil has been dispersed and you have sealed the engine with the drain plug, it is time to change the oil filter. There may still be some excess oil behind the filter, so position the oil pan beneath it. Then, use the oil filter wrench to slowly remove the oil filter. The filter may be hot, so use caution and handle with gloves or a rag. Set the old filter on the oil pan and allow it to continue draining into the pan.
  8. Eighth, clean the surface on the engine, cleaning up the old oil leftover from the oil filter removal. Also, make sure the old oil filter gasket is not stuck to the engine. Now, take out the new filter from the box and lather the gasket with some oil, using your finger. Then, thread the new engine oil filter on by hand until the gasket makes contact. Using your hand or the oil filter wrench, tighten an additional quarter- to two-thirds of a turn. Depending on gasket type, each filter should have instructions on how much to tighten to properly seal.
  9. Ninth, you have replaced the oil filter, you have drained the oil, and you have prepared your engine for the next step. It is now time to add the new oil. Using the funnel, carefully add the new oil. You can use the meter on the side of the can as a guide. Only fill up as much as your owner’s manual specifies. Finally, reinstall your oil cap.
  10. Tenth, check to make sure you have removed all tools, rags, the oil pan, and then check for any leaks from the appropriate spots. Start the engine and let it run for about three minutes. You may see the engine oil light appear for a moment, until the oil pressure builds. After the pressure increases, it should turn off. After letting it run, three to five minutes, turn the engine off. Go ahead and check for leaks, then move on to the next step.
  11. Eleventh, use the dipstick to check the oil level. It should read full or almost full. As long as the level is in the safe zone, you are good to go. If the oil level is low, add half a quart and return to step 10.
  12. Twelfth, you want to record the date and mileage of the oil change, that way your next oil change can be done at the right time.

After following these twelve steps to change your Toyota’s oil, and safely disposing of the old oil, you are ready drive your Toyota until the next time you need an oil change. And when that time comes, you will be ready.

How to Remove a Frozen Brake Rotor

Sometimes, replacing just the brake pads won’t fix all of your brake problems. At some point, your vehicles brake rotor will need to be replaced or resurfaced, which means you will need to remove it from the car. Unfortunately, something that may sound relatively easy can quickly turn into a frustrating mess, and a seized or frozen brake rotor can easily explode one of those situations. When you have a frozen brake rotor, there are a couple steps to follow to conquer the challenge.

  • Step One: If you are reading this article, you most likely have already had your car jacked up, the wheel off, and noticed the frozen or rusted brake rotor. If you have not already done this, go ahead and do it now. When you jack your car up, use caution and common sense to safely lift and support it. You will also want to gather your tools necessary for the job, in this case, a mallet or hammer, ratchet, sockets, and wrenches, and also two bolts with two nuts and washers, that can screw into the now-open holes where your caliper was.
  • Step Two: Once you have all your tools and your car is ready to go, grab your mallet to try to break the frozen brake rotor loose. Obviously, you will want to have taken your brake caliper off before doing this. Using your hammer or mallet, start tapping liberally along the top hat of the rotor, not the surface area of it, especially if you are planning to keep using the rotor by resurfacing it. Take care not to hit the wheel studs, because the threads are easily damaged. This step may be the last step, for some, as hitting it may shake it up enough to break loose. If you are successful, congratulations! If not, or you just want to know the other way of braking it loose, then keep on reading to see the next step in removing your frozen brake rotor.
  • Step Three: Look behind the rotor. You should see two holes where the caliper was attached. Those two holes are where you are going to put the bolts at. Start with one and point the screw-end of the bolt towards the rotor, going through the top hole. Then put two washers on and screw a nut on as well. Add a second nut as your leverage piece. The first nut will be your tightening nut, so make sure there is a small gap between the two nuts. Do the same process on the bottom hole.
  • Step Four: Put your wrench on your tightening nut and the ratchet on the bolt. Begin tightening the bolt so it begins to pressure on the frozen brake rotor, alternating between the two bolts, listening for the pop of the rotor. Once it pops, give both bolts a few more turns and then your rotor should come right off.

These steps of removing your frozen brake rotor can turn what seems to be a difficult project into a relatively simple process. The frozen brake rotor will also come off with minimal damage, only a scarring where the bolts were pushing. You have most likely taken off your rotor to get it resurfaced or replaced so the minor scarring is nothing to worry about. So if your vehicle has a frozen brake rotor, you are now equipped with two bolts and a guide to help you overcome this issue like a pro.

Pro Tip: When installing the new rotor, or the old resurfaced rotor, make sure both the hub and rotor are clean of rust and that the rotor easily slides into place. Use a dab of anti-seize lubricant, around the center of the rotor only, to make future removal easier.

How to Replace a Tie Rod End

If your inner or outer tie rod ends have started to wear, these excellent do-it-yourself steps and tips will help you replace them on your own. These steps can be generic and so you may need to adjust depending on your vehicle.

  • Step one: Gather your tools. There are a few tools you will need to replace your tie rod ends. These include a torque wrench, a ratchet, 22” and 24” sockets, pliers, a flat-head screwdriver, wire cutters, 27” and 32” open-ended wrenches, a crescent wrench, Loctite for threads, a hammer and chisel or punch.
  • Step Two: Removing outer tie rod end. Once you have gotten your vehicle jacked up and removed your wheel, you will see your outer tie rod end, and the inner tie rod end will be covered by the tie rod bellow. First of all, if you leave your keys in the ignition of your vehicle then this will allow you to move the wheel assembly freely. Start off by loosening the jam nut that is connecting the outer tie rod end to the inner tie rod end. You will need to use the 27” open ended wrench for the nut and the crescent wrench for the inner tie rod to hold it in place. The jam nut will most likely not come off so you will probably have to wait to take it off with the rest of the outer tie rod. So after loosening the jam nut, go ahead and move on to the castle nut. You will first have to remove the cotter pin using your pliers or a pick tool, keeping it flat and level. Once you’ve removed it, take the castle nut off. By this point you should be able to knock the tie rod end out of the steering knuckle with your hammer. Now that it is out of the knuckle, loosen it from the inner tie rod end and count the turns to help keep your alignment.
  • Step Three: Removing inner tie rod end. In order to remove the inner tie rod end, you must first remove the bellow by taking off the bellow clamps. Pull on the tabs of the inner clamp first to pop it loose, then twist the boot. Proceed to the second clamp and remove it by using the pliers to pull it off. When pulling the boot off, you will most likely damage the seal, so be ready to replace that as well. You should now see your inner tie rod, and the tabs around it. Simply knock the tabs back, and loosen the tie rod. You should be able to unscrew it by hand after this.
  • Step Four: Installing new inner tie rod end. Before installing the new inner tie rod end, be sure to add the Loctite to keep it from loosening after installation. The washer that comes with the new tie rod end has tabs that holds the rod in place while installing it. Go ahead and line the tabs up with the grooves on the rack of your vehicle and then tighten your inner tie rod end onto it. Now use the hammer to stake the washer into the tie rod, you can turn the wheel to push the rack and rod out, allowing you more room for the hammer. Stake the washer on both sides, and then install the new bellow or, if the old bellow is still in good condition, install the old one. Push the bellow into the groove and then install your inner boot clamps to hold the bellow in place. If the clamp is loose, squeeze it together to tighten it to its proper tightness.
  • Step Four: Installing new outer tie rod end. When installing the new outer tie rod, screw the jam nut onto it to where the jam nut is or was located on the old outer tie rod. Recall the amount of turns it took to unscrew the old outer tie rod end from the inner, and proceed to do that many to screw the new one on. Once you get it to where you want it, take the new castle nut off, insert outer tie rod into the knuckle, and then reinstall the castle nut. Now you will use the torque wrench to tighten it, do this by pulling the wheel assembly all the way out to make it easier to tighten. Make sure to line up your castle nut with the hole in the thread for your cotter pin. Never loosen to line up the holes. Insert your cotter pin and bend the pin with the wire cutters. Finally, tighten the jam nut onto the inner outer tie rod end.

 

Once you have followed these steps, replacing your tie rod ends should be the money saving success you were hoping for. Remember to properly torque and lock all fasteners, and then have a professional do an alignment as soon as possible after your tie rod end replacement.

Replace Brake Pads and Rotors – How to Know When

Remember the day you first bought your car? You accelerated your car to an almost irresponsible speed and then slammed on the brakes to see how quickly you could get your car to a complete stop. When it came to a smooth silent stop, it felt like you owned the road and were safe being its ruler. Sadly, that feeling of security can change when the mutinous brakes create massive safety issues within your different stopping experiences. Oftentimes these issues appear when it is time to replace brake pads or rotors.

What are these indicators that will help discover the need for new brake pads or rotors, before it is too late? Let’s discuss them now.

• When pressing down the brake pedal, you should feel some resistance. It shouldn’t be too resistant as that could indicate there is something wrong with the booster system which in turn makes it harder to brake. If you feel a lack of resistance then it could mean a leak, either externally or internally, or that a brake caliper has seized up.

• If you check under the hood, you may find an excellent indicator that it is time to replace your brake pads or rotors. If you can find where the brake fluid reservoir, maybe by experience or from your owner’s manual, you should be able to see the fluid level which could reveal the answer to whether it is time to replace your brake pads or not. If you have new pads, the brake fluid reservoir should be full, and as your pads wear, will be at or close to the low marker. Be aware, though, that if it is below the low marker then this could be from a leak somewhere. Obviously, replacing your brake pads or rotors will not fix a leak, so it would be wise to have it repaired as soon as possible.

Pro Tip: Never “top off” brake fluid. Brake fulid level, between “FULL” and “LOW,” is a good indicator of brake pad wear. At the low mark, your brake pads have worn enough that you should consider replacement. If the brake fluid is below the low mark, then you should suspect a leak somewhere. Replace brake pads and repair brake system leaks before you adjsut brake fluid level.

• When you brake, the system converts your forward momentum into heat which allows you to come to a halt. There is only so much heat that your metal rotors can take before they begin to deform or warp. This overheating can happen by rust, braking on hills or riding the brake, and although not being necessarily dangerous, it can be a frustration nonetheless.

• The very common or well-known indicator that it is time to replace brake pads is a squealing sound when braking. However, a squealing sound may not always mean that it is time for the brake pads to be replaced. For example, it could just be brake dust building up on your pads and rotors or possibly that there are damaged components in contact with the rotor. Brake pads do come with a feature that squeals when the pads are almost ready for replacing. Whatever the reason for the squealing, taking a closer look into the noise would be a good idea.

• Keeping track of the brake pads thickness will help you in deciding when to replace your brake pads. You can probably check out the thickness by using a mirror and a flashlight. Once you hit 3 mm or lower, it is definitely time to start replacing your brake pads. If you wait too long then the pads can start to damage your brake rotors or drums and this would be unnecessary and costly.

 

As you have seen, there are a number of clear signs that show when it is time to replace your brake pads and rotors. Keeping your eyes and hears open to the different indications can be a real time and money saver, and in the long run, a life saver.  When those brakes wear and start instigating a fight between you and your safety, and you are ready to quell the problem, knowing when to replace brake pads or rotors will restore your right to rule the road once again.