OMG What Is That Smell? Find Out What Your Cars Smell Means

What is the usual smell that your car has?

For most cars the usual smell would be the scent of leather or of the materials used. This usually goes for those newly purchased cars. On the other hand, there are also distinct smells that emanate from your car as it goes through time and use. However, as the owner or driver, you would know that these are the usual odors and that would not be something to get alarmed about.

What you should be on the alert about are some types of smells or odors that seem to be different, and out of the ordinary. These are the smells that you should be aware about, for they could conceal something much more serious than simply a smell out of place.

If you smell an odor emanating from your exhaust, it could indicate that there is a leak in the exhaust system. It could mean a hole in your carís tailpipe, exhaust pipe, exhaust manifold, or even the muffler. It could also mean that your hatchback or rear door already has a worn out seal. If this happens, you should take on the challenge immediately for you might get carbon monoxide inside your car which could get pretty deadly. What you should do is to bring your car to a mechanic right away.

If you smell raw gas, it could mean that there is a leak in your carís fuel delivery system. What could be affected is your carís fuel lines, gas tank, or your fuel filter. This is also dangerous for any fuel leaks could spark a car fire. You can remedy the situation by first seeking if you have put back the gas cap right on properly. If this does not seem to be the problem, then go straight away to your mechanic.

The smell of rotten eggs could also be something that you may notice and this means that your catalytic converter has become plugged. Once you smell this, go see your mechanic so as to remedy the problem.

Why Your Headlights May Be Constantly Burning Out

 

Driving home late one night, you notice that one of your headlights is burned out. “Funny,” you think to yourself, “I just replaced that bulb not too long ago.” This is obviously a concern, as driving at night or in inclement weather with just one headlight is dangerous.

Constantly replacing headlight bulbs is not only a hassle but also an indication that there could be an underlying problem with your vehicle. Read on to learn some causes of premature headlight bulb burn out.

Vibration:

Halogen bulbs and sealed beam headlights have very fine tungsten wire filaments inside that emit light when heated. Even under ideal conditions, the filament can break, leaving you in the dark. Vibration caused by driving over rough roads, potholes and bumps will reduce the filament lifespan.

Other causes of vibration may be due to a fault in your headlight structure. If the bulb is not securely mounted in the headlight assembly, it will vibrate, even under normal driving conditions. Insecure mounting may be the result of a bent bulb socket or headlight housing.

Similarly, if the headlight housing is not securely attached to your car, the entire housing, including the bulb and filament, will vibrate while you are driving, shortening the filament lifespan. Vibration of the headlight housing may occur even if it is tightly attached to your car if one or both of the front wheels are out of balance. If you feel a shimmy in your steering wheel, this could be a contributing cause of successive bulb failures.

Touching The Bulb:

Headlight bulbs that operate at high temperatures, such as halogen and HID bulbs, use a special quartz glass envelope to withstand high operating temperatures. You should always wear gloves or use a cloth or paper towel if you have to touch the glass of the bulb. Should you touch the glass with your bare fingers, oil from your skin will adhere to the glass and may cause hot spots on the glass when the bulb is on, resulting in uneven heating and possibly breakage of the glass.

Temperature Extremes:

Heat is necessary for the headlight filament to emit light; however, the hotter the filament gets, the less durable it is. If you do an excessive amount of night driving or you’re in a jurisdiction that requires daytime running lights, the increased amount of time that your lights are on will heat the filament to a higher temperature, possibly causing premature filament breakage.

If you often drive in an area that experiences cold temperatures, your headlight lifespan may be reduced. Bulb filaments become more brittle in cold conditions and are more susceptible to breakage, especially if accompanied by vibrations from rough roads and potholes.

Turning The Headlights On Before Starting Your Car:

When starting your vehicle, either by turning the key or pushing the start button, many vehicles will divert electrical power from any accessories that are on in order to deliver maximum power to the starter motor. If you turn your headlights on before starting your vehicle, the lights will turn off and then come back on when the engine starts. This rapid on-off-on cycle may shorten headlight bulb life.

Water Leaking Into The Housing

Any signs of condensation inside the headlight housing may indicate that water is leaking into the housing. Water and electricity don’t mix and any condensation may cause a short circuit leading to failure. Also, any condensation coming in contact with a hot bulb may cause the bulb to break.

Simple Ways To Maintain Your New Car Purchase

One of the reassuring qualities of contemporary cars is that they need much less-frequent service to keep them running well. Changing the spark plugs, breaker points, and condenser used to be a seasonal exercise, and body rust was accepted as a normal if unfortunate hazard of aging. Now many spark plugs can go 100,000 miles between changes. Electronic ignition has done away with the points and condenser. Chassis, suspensions, and even some transmissions are lubed for life. And factory rust-through warranties typically run six years or longer. What’s more, reliability has improved significantly. The result is that most late-model cars and trucks should be able to go 200,000 miles with regular upkeep.

Here are a few simple, periodic checks and procedures you can do that will help you get there.

Check the Engine Oil

Do it regularly—monthly for a vehicle in good condition; more often if you notice an oil leak or find you need to add oil routinely. The car should be parked on level ground so you can get an accurate dipstick reading. Don’t overfill. And if you do have a leak, find and fix it soon.

Check Tire Air Pressure

Once a month and before any extended road trips, use an accurate tire-pressure gauge to check the inflation pressure in each tire, including the spare. Do this when the tires are cold (before the vehicle has been driven or after no more than a couple of miles of driving). Use the inflation pressure recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer, not the maximum pressure embossed on the tire’s sidewall. The recommended pressure is usually found on a placard on a front doorjamb, in the glove compartment, or in the owner’s manual. Also be sure to inspect tires for abnormal or uneven wear, cuts, and any sidewall bulges you can see.

CR advises that digital tire-pressure gauges (which cost about $15 to $25) are probably the best bet overall because they will give an accurate reading or none at all. Many pencil-type gauges (typically $10 to $15) are good as well. Note that to check the pressure in a temporary spare tire, which is often 60 psi, you will need a gauge that goes higher than that—say from 0 up to 90 pounds.Wash the Car

Try to wash the car every week, if you can. Wash the body and, if necessary, hose out the fender wells and undercarriage to remove dirt and road salt. It’s time to wax the finish when water beads become larger than a quarter.

Other Checks at Each Oil Change

For normal driving, many automakers recommend changing the engine oil and filter every 7,500 miles or six months, whichever comes first. This is sufficient for the majority of motorists. For “severe” driving—with frequent, very cold starts and short trips, dusty conditions, or trailer towing—the change interval should be shortened to every 3,000 miles or three months. (Check your owner’s manual for the specific intervals recommended for your vehicle.) Special engines such as diesels and turbocharged engines may need more-frequent oil changes.

Check the Air Filter
Remove the air-filter element and hold it up to a strong light. If you don’t see light, replace it. Regardless, follow the recommended service intervals.

Check the Constant-Velocity-Joint Boots
On front-wheel-drive and some four-wheel-drive vehicles, examine these bellowslike rubber boots, also known as CV boots, on the drive axles. Immediately replace any that are cut, cracked, or leaking. If dirt contaminates the CV joint it can quickly lead to an expensive fix.

Inspect the Exhaust System
If you’re willing to make under-car inspections, check for rusted-through exhaust parts that need replacing. Also tighten loose clamps. Do this while the car is up on ramps. If a shop changes your oil, have them make these checks. Listen for changes in the exhaust sound while driving. It’s usually advisable to replace the entire exhaust system all at once rather than to repair sections at different times.

Look at the Brakes
For most people it makes sense to have a shop check and service the brakes. If you handle your own brake work, remove all wheels and examine the brake system. Replace excessively worn pads or linings, and have badly scored rotors or drums machined or replaced. The brakes should be checked at least twice per year; more often if you drive a lot of miles.

Check the Fluids
On many newer cars, the automatic transmission is sealed. On cars where it is not sealed, check the transmission dipstick with the engine warmed up and running (see the owner’s manual for details). Also check the power-steering-pump dipstick (it’s usually attached to the fluid-reservoir cap) and the level in the brake-fluid reservoir. If the brake-fluid level is low, top it up and have the system checked for leaks.

Clean the Radiator
Prevent overheating by removing debris with a soft brush and washing the outside of the radiator with a detergent solution.

Check the Battery
Inspect the battery’s terminals and cables to make sure they are securely attached, with no corrosion. If the battery has removable caps, check its fluid level every few months—especially in warmer climates.

Regular Maintenance For Every Two to Four Years

Drain and Flush the Cooling System
Considering the hassle of collecting and safely disposing of old antifreeze, you may want to leave this to a shop.

Change the Automatic-Transmission Fluid
Many models require that you replace the fluid and filter every 36,000 miles—sooner if the normally pink fluid takes on a brownish tint. With some cars the fluid and, if applicable, the filter can go 100,000 miles or more. With other late models, the transmission fluid never needs to be changed. Check your owner’s manual for this information.

Replace the Drive Belts and Hoses
Do this every two to three years, even if they don’t show any wear. If a belt becomes noisy, have it adjusted.

Change the Timing Belt
If your vehicle has a belt instead of a chain, stick to the manufacturer’s recommended replacement interval—usually every 60,000 to 80,000 miles. Check the owner’s manual or consult a dealer. Failure to change the timing belt can result in a very expensive engine repair if the belt should break.

Spring Time Is Clean Your Car Time!

Many of us live a significant portion of our lives in the car, so we might as well consider it a mobile living room. Except it’s a living room that comes in constant contact with the germs and grit of the outside world. When considered as an extension of your home, you’d hope it would benefit from the same cleaning routine. But, we know this isn’t always the case.

If it’s been a while since the inside of car has seen a vacuum, there is evidence to suggest that your car may be carrying some unwanted passengers – of the microscopic variety. Freshen up the inside of your ride by trying out some of our clean-car tips below.

Conquer clutter.

It’s difficult to do a deep-clean of your vehicle with a vacuum and scrub brush when clutter is in the way. Clutter not only gives dirt and bacteria more surfaces to live on, but it can be distracting to drivers. And stressful. Removing excess clutter is the very first step to taking pride in your ride.

Resist the road snacks.

We can all appreciate the value of a good car snack. And with your eyes on the road, you may not notice just how many crumbs are getting lost in your car. These crumbs, and yesterday’s half-finished coffee (it’s ok, you don’t have to admit it), fuel the growth of bacteria. If you can’t resist the road snacks, try to minimize the evidence. Remove food wrappers or trash right away, make sure drink containers are spill-proof, and vacuum in the deep cracks and crevices with a thin, telescoping vacuum attachment.

Keep your child seats clean.

Fun fact: those iconic fish-shaped crackers are the number one item found in children’s car seats. On a smaller scale, car seats also carry an average of 100 different types of microscopic passengers. Always check with the car seat manufacturer prior to cleaning, and pick a time when it won’t be needed for 12-24 hours, so it has ample time to dry. Take a picture of the set-up before removing from your vehicle, and rely on the manufacturer’s guide and your picture to be sure the car seat is re-installed correctly.

Let the fresh air in.

When your cabin air filter is dirty or clogged, it actually makes the air quality inside your car worse than the air outside. A dirty filter traps dust, pollen, and exhaust fumes inside your vehicle. What’s more, over time a restricted air filter can cause issues with the vehicle’s HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) system. Ask your dealership or take a look at your owner’s manual to determine how often your cabin air filter should be replaced. Most should function well for 12,000 to 15,000 miles. Make an appointment with your dealership to get a new filter installed.

Tips On Buying A Car With Bad Credit

If you have previous credit problems on your record and need to purchase a car, you may need to apply for what is called a bad credit used car loan. A bad credit used car loan will allow you to purchase a vehicle, but you will usually be expected to pay it off in a shorter time frame and at a higher rate of interest.

Today many traditional car lenders are offering extended payment terms; some allow you up to seven years to pay off the vehicle. A bad credit used car loan usually must be repaid within a 48-month time frame. Since the vehicle you are buying is used and your amount financed will be less, the lender expects the loan to be paid off in a shorter amount of time.

Research the Prices of Used Cars

Before making an offer on a used car, you should research the average price value. By doing this you will know if a dealer has inflated the price in order to make an excessive profit. You will want to make sure you are purchasing the car from a reputable dealership.

There are a lot of companies who do most of their business with customers who have less than perfect credit scores. Some of these dealers may try to take advantage of customers. Just because you have had credit problems in the past, this does not mean you should pay an outrageous amount in interest rates or other fees.

Shop Online For a Lender

Online auto loan lenders make applying for a loan quick and convenient. By applying online you will have access to several lenders and their rates. Applications for online auto loans can be filled out in just a short time and the approval is almost always granted the same day.

An important point to remember when applying for a used car loan on bad credit is that banks have limits to how old of a vehicle you can purchase. The majority of banks will not grant loans to vehicles more than four or five years old. You should also try to make a substantial down payment when purchasing a used car. This will lower both the interest rate you are charged and the length of the loan.