Question: Just purchased used BMW 3 series…automatic…diesel…the brakes are consistently squealing upon braking (slowing down from about 20-25mph to 0) dealer said this is usual “brake dust” issue and brakes don’t need to be changed until another 10000 miles…any advise? Noise is embarrassing.
Answer: Yes, more than likely the brake squeal you hear is normal. Brake dust and pad design can cause some brakes to squeal more than others.
On your next brake pad change, make sure the mechanic cleans everything well and applies an anti-squeal coating to the back of the pads. (see products below) I use this on every brake job I do and rarely have issues with squeal.
There are wear pads on most modern brake pads which let you know it’s time to change the brake pads, but that is usually a louder noise. If you think it might be the wear indicators, I would take it to another shop you trust and have them pull the wheels and inspect the pads.
Posted: 11th October 2016 | Author: Kevin Schappell | Category: General
Mom & Dad, I want to dip my car!
Say what?!?!? If your son or daughter is of driving age or close to it, they may have already asked you this question. And if you are not up to speed on the latest trends in the automotive world then you are likely to reply back with a blank stare, or a reactionary “NO way in hell!” What follows in a parents guide to dipping your car
What is dipping your car?
“Dipping” refers to coating wheels, body panels, or the entire car in a temporary rubberized coating. The original product used was Plasti Dip, designed to “DIP” tool handles in a rubberized non-slip coating. Plasti Dip initially came in a handy can and had a thick viscosity to give an extra thick coating to those tool handles. Eventually they offered the product in gallons and aerosols, any some bright person figured out that you can use this stuff on wheels and body panels.
Is Plasti Dip safe for your car?
It is a “temporary” coating, which will peel off of body panels, glass, rubber moldings and about anything else found on a car. For easy removal, there must be enough coats (4-6) of Plasti Dip on the car. What about the paint underneath? I am not aware of any formal testing of the effects of this coating on the underlying clear coat, but real-world evidence suggests there is no harm to the paint underneath. The only evidence of damage I have seen is the result of too few coats and an overly ambitious teen attempting to remove the Plasti Dip coating with a pressure washer. The damage to the paint was from the high pressure water spray not the rubberized coating over top.
Why is it so popular?
This one is a little tougher to answer, just because there are so many reasons.
- It gives a matte (flat) finish which is very “in” right now. The range of colors available and the additives, clear coatings and effects than can be achieved are awesome.
- It’s easier and cheaper than repainting a car or a set of wheels. Automotive painting is a tricky business, with tons of prep time and specialized equipment (air compressor, paint guns, mixing equipment etc.). Dipping your car with Plasti Dip can be done in your driveway with a minimum of over spray and completed in a weekend.
- It’s easily removed so mistakes can be fixed or the desire for a new color can be realized in short time.
- It’s a hacker mentality! Kids are taking something that was designed for one purpose, and turning it around to serve another. It’s a creative outlet with almost unlimited potential.
So should I let my kid dip his car, or mine?
Sure! With a few caveats… Do it safely, use a respirator, be careful of over spray, and make sure to tape up anything you don’t want coated. It will peel off, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. There are plenty of forums out there which spell out the best ways to get the job done and tons of YouTube clips as well. It’s great to let kids be creative, learn a little more about cars, and be proud of something THEY did to their car. (or yours)
Posted: 6th June 2014 | Author: Kevin Schappell | Category: General
Just spent some time today driving across the countryside looking for parts for my step-son’s car and I remembered a cool website which helps me search local junkyard (first website on the list). Even I need a reminder sometimes of the cool essential websites out there on the interwebs. So as a placeholder for myself and others, here is a list of some of my favorites…
- Car-Part.com – Need a part for your car and considering a used part from a junkyard? Don’t spend hours on the phone, go to this website to search online and find the exact part you need at the price you want.
- NADAGuides.com – We all know the big automotive price guides, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds, but NADAGuides.com is my favorite pricing guide with the most accurate pricing information. If you are buying or selling, your first stop should be to this website.
- Jalopnik.com – If you are a car guy, or girl, you know Jalopnik, but for the general public it made this list. If you want to understand the passion that goes in to the automotive enthusiast lifestyle, read Jalopnik. Automotive articles, cool race cars and a good dose of weird automotive stuff will keep you coming back for more.
- TheTruthAboutCars.com – One of the best resources for new car news! Keep up with the news from your favorite car brand and drool over killer concept vehicles without having to attend a crowded auto show in your area.
- gas2.org – Get your green on, with Gas2.org. They cover bio-fuel, electric, and alternative energy topics as they relate to cars, trucks and motorcycles. Well written and balanced view of the issues at hand.
- YouDriveWhat.com – From the people who brought us “People Of Walmart”, YouDriveWhat.com offers a glimpse in to the distorted minds of car owners across the globe. Maybe score some ideas to customize your ride, or just sit back and shake your head!
Posted: 18th April 2014 | Author: Kevin Schappell | Category: General
When it comes to the expense of owning a car, maintenance and repairs can rack up a lion’s share of the costs. Who you have doing work on your car or truck can make or break you in the end. Let’s look at the three types of mechanics and where you are likely to get the best service.
New Car Dealer Mechanic
You bought a new car and it comes with a warranty, so you naturally take it back to the dealer you bought it from for service. Is that the best way? In most cases, yes! The dealership has the most up-to-date repair information, technical service bulletins and direct connection for warranty service issues.
But what to do when you are not happy about the level of service you are receiving or the additional charges that are racked up on routine services from your mechanic? First step is to complain to the service manager, then his boss, then move it up to the corporate level. You can also look to find another dealership in your area and try them. If you buy a Honda, there is no reason you have to have it serviced by the same dealership you bought it from, try Joe’s Honda in the next town to get the service you expect.
The independent mechanic is going high-tech and many have the same repair information the dealers have, but getting repairs covered under warranty may be a little tougher. But, if you can find an independent mechanic who you trust and has the skills, you will save money over using a dealership for service. Oil changes, brake jobs and even minor engine work can often be done for way less money that the dealership charges.
One thing to consider if your car is under warranty; Save all receipts for proof that preventative maintenance was done at factory intervals. This record keeping is essential when it comes to getting warranty claims paid. It’s also the reason why I recommend dealership service first provide you are happy with their service and pricing. When your service is done at a dealership where the warranty is also held, then the record keeping is handled by the dealer and no worries for you.
Chain L.O.F. Shops (Lube Oil & Filter)
We have all seen the oil change specials advertised at these nationwide chains. While some of these shops are run well by owners who really care about their customers, others are simply franchises with owners who really know nothing about automotive service. Their employees are lower paid, and while that does not always mean poor service, it begs the question… “Would you want the same kid flipping your hamburgers to be changing your oil?”
I see these shops as a last ditch option, when emergency service has to be done, or if you know the owner or mechanic and can trust them to do minor service like oil changes or tire rotation. The price may be right, but the end result may leave you paying in the end.
Posted: 11th April 2014 | Author: Kevin Schappell | Category: General
As the temperature drops and you get the shovels ready, have you thought about your car? It needs attention too, and by being prepared you can assure a safe winter driving season.
Check Your Coolant!
The most important thing to do, since the damage can be so expensive, is to check your engine’s coolant. Engine coolant or anti-freeze is designed to keep your engine cool all year round but when the temperature drops it must also keep from freezing. Anti-freeze is usually a mixture of distilled water and propylene glycol and can protect from freezing way below 0 degrees F. Have your mechanic check the freezing point using a refractometer and top off the level prior to winter’s chill.
Is Your Battery In Tip-Top Shape?
Batteries have a typical lifespan of 3 – 5 years depending on brand, construction and environment. Cold weather puts stress on a car battery and will reduce the rated output making cold weather starts tough. If your battery is over 4 years old, I suggest getting it checked with a load meter, and consider replacement if you are in a cold weather climate for safety sake. Having the terminals cleaned, and cables checked is also a good idea going in to the winter months.
Air Up Those Tires.
As the air outside cools down, so does the air in your tires. Tires can lose 3 – 5 PSI when the temperature drops. Also check out the tread, and consider a good set of winter tires to help plow through the winter months.
Are You Prepared?
A good emergency kit is vital for winter driving. Make sure to have jumper cables, first aid kit, a warm blanket and some ice melt to help you out of slippery situations. A collapsible shovel and a tow rope are optional, but recommended if you do a lot of winter driving on rural roads.
Last But Not Least…
Have a good coat of wax on your car! A fresh coat of wax before the winter season will help protect your car’s paint from the harsh salt and chemicals used by road crews. Regular car washing and cleaning of the undercarriage will assure your car stays rust free and operating properly. Click here to schedule a convenient mobile car wash and detailing today.
Posted: 7th January 2014 | Author: Kevin Schappell | Category: General