Archive for the ‘Auto Parts’ Category

Caps and rotors

If you have an older car, chances are that one tune-up item you need to pay particular attention to is your ignition system. One item you don’t see too often anymore is the distributor. Most cars, these days, have long since transitioned to distributorless ignition systems, thus simplifying the tune-up process. But, if you’re maintaining a car with a distributor ignition system, it isn’t too hard to add this to the list of items you need to take care of.

First off, where are the common wear points in a distributor-based ignition systems? Primarily, you’re looking at two different parts – the distributor cap and the rotor. The distributor cap is exactly what it sounds like – a cap that fits over the distributor. It’s easy to identify, if you haven’t seen one before. Follow the spark plug wires to where they meet up, and you’ve found the distributor cap. Once you unclip it and lift off the cap, you’ll find the rotor. The rotor sits atop the distributor shaft, and rotates with the engine. The rotor, combined with the cap, is responsible for getting spark to each spark plug in the correct order. In fact, that’s where the distributor gets its name – it distributes the spark.

It’s impossible to tell from the outside if your cap and rotor are worn, except perhaps by observing suffering engine performance. In order to inspect them, you need to unclip and lift off the cap and inspect the contacts inside it, as well as those on the rotor. Visible scoring is a sign of wear and indicates that it’s time to replace them.

Thankfully, the distributor cap and rotor are two of the easiest maintenance items to replace in your engine. Replacement doesn’t even require tools. However, make sure to note which spark plug wire goes to which contact on the distributor cap. If not, it’s easy to mix them up, and if you do, your engine may not start. If it does, it’ll undoubtedly misfire.

The rotor itself is even easier to deal with. Once the distributor cap is off, the rotor should pull right off the shaft. If it’s stuck, just give it a little more muscle.

While you’re replacing your cap and rotor, it’s a good time to replace your spark plugs. Also, take a look at your ignition wires. If you’ve noticed the car hesitating on a damp morning, only to behave normally after a moment or two, you probably have worn wires. If you’re not sure, start the engine while it’s dark and mist the wires with a spray bottle of water. If you see sparks, you know it’s time to replace the wires, too.

With a little attention, your ignition system should keep going for a long time. It’s easy to inspect, and it’s a good idea to do so if you’re not sure when it was last serviced.

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Name That Part revealed – Starter Solenoid

Congratulations! If you guessed this week’s mystery part as a “Starter Solenoid,” you got it right.

For starter solenoids and much more, visit us online at?Advance Auto Parts.

Have a great week—see you next Monday!


Show what you know by playing Name That Part at the?Advance Auto Parts Facebook page?every Monday. How it works: we post a shot of an auto part, and you submit your best guess for a chance to win the admiration of DIY’ers across the globe.

Editor’s note: Got projects??Advance?can save you time and money on just about everything you’ll need. Buy online, pick up in store.

Name That Part revealed – Water Outlet Coolant Flange

This one was a bit trickier than last week’s muffler…that said, many of you still guessed it correctly as a “Water Outlet Coolant Flange.” Nice work!

If you’ve been looking for a water outlet coolant flange, you’re in luck, you can find it at?Advance Auto Parts.

Have a great week—see you next Monday!

Water Outlet Coolant Flange by Dorman Water Outlet Coolant Flange by Dorman

Show what you know by playing Name That Part at the?Advance Auto Parts Facebook page?every Monday. How it works: we post a shot of an auto part, and you submit your best guess for a chance to win the admiration of DIY’ers across the globe.

Editor’s note: For DIY’ers of all stripes,?Advance?can save you cash on just about every project. Buy online, pick up in store.

Cylinder head replacement

Recently, my car developed a misfire. I was experiencing a recurring P0302 trouble code, indicating the misfire was in cylinder 2. Knowing there could be multiple causes of the misfire, I approached the problem by investigating the simpler possibilities first. Starting with spark plugs. After combing through the entire ignition and fuel injection systems to no avail, I decided to run a compression test, which definitively told me that the problem was in the cylinder head itself. As the car wasn’t overheating and I was seeing no signs of oil and coolant mixing, I was left with the theory that the problem was most likely a burned exhaust valve or a worn valve guide in that cylinder. At any rate, the cylinder head needed to come off to repair it.

I mulled over the possibility of rebuilding the cylinder head myself, installing new valves, guides and other parts as necessary. But, as I needed to drive the car, I decided that the most efficient way to tackle the job would be to purchase an already-rebuilt cylinder head. I waited until I had the new cylinder head in hand before I started disassembling my car.

Of course, the cylinder head wasn’t the only thing I needed. In addition to that, I needed new intake and exhaust manifold gaskets (as the intake and exhaust had to come off the engine), new exhaust studs, a new valve cover gasket, fresh coolant, and, most of all, a new head gasket. Working with a good shop manual, I tore into the job on a Saturday. In order to get the cylinder head off, I needed to remove the intake manifold, the exhaust manifold, the alternator, power steering pump, the timing belt, and camshaft pulley.

Once everything was out of the way, I removed the cylinder head bolts and lifted the head out with the engine in place. Installation was a bit more complex than you might have expected. The head bolts needed to be replaced, and needed a light coating of oil. The new head gasket was installed dry, as per factory specifications. Once the head was in place, there was a very specific torque sequence to follow in order to properly seat the new head gasket and get it to seal against the block.

After the new head was installed, the rest of it was nothing more than putting the engine back the way I found it. The timing belt had to be reinstalled. As the timing belt was recent, I saw no reason to install a new one. From there, the exhaust had to be bolted up to the engine and the intake manifold needed to be reinstalled, paying particular attention to all the electrical and vacuum connections.

As soon as everything was in place, I was able to start the engine and bleed the air out of the cooling system. The best part about it? The engine now runs properly and without the misfire.

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Ford showcases wide-opening Easy Access doors on new B-Max

Ford showcases wide-opening Easy Access doors on new B-Max

Every year the auto show circuit is packed with concept cars (usually crossovers and minivans) that do away with the B-pillar to tease us with easy access and a wide aperture to the cabin. It’s what Ford’s European exterior design director Stefan Lamm calls “a designer’s dream”. But none of them ever make it into production. That is, until now.

Ford first showed off a compact MPV concept called the B-Max at the Geneva Motor Show last year that, like many others, did without a B-pillar altogether. Earlier this month, the Blue Oval automaker announced it was putting the Fiesta-based minivan into production – and that the pillar would stay out. But this is the first image we’ve received of the production B-Max with its wide-opening doors actually, you know…open.

The combined aperture of the conventional front-hinged doors and sliding rear doors, unencumbered by the pillar you’d usually expect to find there, comes in at a whopping 1.5 meters (nearly five feet) wide – nearly twice that of the Opel Meriva with its innovative rear “suicide” doors – and is made possible by strategic use of high-strength steel incorporated into the doors.

Follow the jump for the full press release and stay tuned for the vehicle’s debut at the upcoming Geneva show. While we might hope for the Easy Door Access System to find its way into Ford’s American offerings in the near future, we wouldn’t expect to find the B-Max you see here in U.S. showrooms any time soon.

Nissan: U.S. market share may fall due to parts

There is a risk that Nissan Motor Co’s (7201.T) U.S. market share, which has been on the rise, may fall due to a lack of auto parts from Japan, North American Chairman Carlos Tavares said on Wednesday.

Tavares said the risk would be minimal if suppliers could quickly support a ramp-up in production. Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the New York Auto Show, he called the next few weeks “critical” to gauging the health of parts suppliers.

Through March, Nissan had 9.3 percent of the market share in the United States for the year, according to Autodata. The company finished last year with share of 7.8 percent.

“It’s fair to say that there is some risk,” Tavares told Reuters of losing market share in the United States. “We think it’s not going to be very big if we are able to ramp up.”

Automakers have been plagued by parts shortages, especially specialized electronics, since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Nissan in North America has “significantly” more than a 25-day supply of vehicles to help it weather the parts crisis, Tavares said. When the earthquake hit on March 11, Nissan had a 70-day supply of cars.

“Luckily, we had some inventory and a cushion. We expect that the ramp-up will catch up before we reach a point of disruption,” Tavares said.

He said the company expected to be at 50 percent production within a few weeks and at full production by May or June, when it would see if the supply chain could support increased production.

At the time of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Nissan’s inventory was about 45,000 cars above its year-ago level, Tavares said, adding that cushion was expected to last until production increases.

“Hopefully we will not lose momentum or not much momentum,” he said.

So far, the industry and Nissan are gaining a better grasp of the parts shortages, Tavares said. The number of parts the company is closely monitoring has shrunk and there are fewer surprises.

“Parts which were in short supply yesterday are fixed today,” he said. “In some cases, we changed the sources. In some cases, the supplier fixed the plant.”

Nissan was among automakers that moved to relying heavily on single suppliers for individual parts for cost and efficiency. Tavares said he does not expect a big change in auto industry practices because of the parts shortage.

Performance Parts

Performance Parts – Best Auto Parts

While any typical car enthusiast will be looking for standard auto parts, there are a different type of “speed demon” type of car enthusiast that is always looking to put the best performance parts into their car.

Performance Parts for Racing

Performance parts aren’t just for making your car sound loud (you can always just remove the muffler for that) or getting a hot new paint job. Performance parts play a huge role in making your car go fast, while still handling each turn well. Which is why there is a growing fanbase of street car racers who purchase performance parts online and soup up their street race car.

Auto Parts that make your car a Race Car

Purchasing a high performance auto parts mix of different engines, headers, exhaust, steering wheels, and tires can transform your typical car into a fast racing, quick turning automobile. If this sounds like something you’d be into, definitely look in to souping up your ride.

Detroit auto show: Think small

By David Welch

The mood in Detroit is considerably better at this year’s North American International Auto Show than it was a year ago when General Motors was hunting momentum and Chrysler’s very survival was in question. I’ll get into the new models and concept cars as they roll out. In the meantime, here are a few notable comments from the auto executives I tracked down at the show.

Chrysler going public
Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said he wants to take Chrysler public in the second half of this year. Fiat won’t sell any of its Chrysler stock. The sellers will be the United Auto Workers retiree healthcare trust, and possibly the U.S. Treasury Department and Canadian government.

The Italian automaker owns 25% of Chrysler. The UAW owns 63.5% of Chrysler. The U.S. Treasury holds 9.2%, while Canadian municipalities have a 2.3% stake. Marchionne told reporters that he wants to pay back $7.5 billion in debt to the U.S. and Canadian governments in 2011 and then go public. Following GM’s successful IPO, Marchionne says Chrysler can launch its IPO following a couple quarters of profitability. “I’d love to do it in the second half of this year.”

IPO yes, but electric cars… maybe not
Marchionne bucked the trend among auto executives by casting some doubt on the potential of electric cars. Fiat plans to sell an electric version of its tiny 500 hatchback, he said. But that’s not where the market will be. If carmakers want to meet fuel economy regulations and boost efficiency, they’re better off just wringing more mileage out of gasoline engines, he said. “I’m reluctant to embrace full electrics as a solution,” Marchionne said. “The dollars spent for reduction in fuel use is not there. We have to be careful not to chase a rainbow.”

BMW’s U.S. boss throws down the gauntlet
BMW and Audi have gone toe to toe with their advertising efforts, taking shots at each other in the past. Audi had a billboard featuring the A4 that read, “Your move, BMW.” In response, BMW put up its own billboard for the 3-series saying, “Checkmate.” Audi has been gunning for its German rivals with its own brand of German engineering and sporty luxury cars. Jim O’Donnell, CEO of BMW US, took a shot at his rivals. With 220,000 cars sold in the U.S., BMW more than doubled Audi’s take in the market. Audi is “too worried about having a go at Mercedes and BMW,” O’Donnell said. “They have to learn to swing first. I think their whole communications strategy is wrong.”

GM tries to make money on small cars
For Detroit’s carmakers, small-car profits have been almost as elusive as a playoff appearance by the Detroit Lions. GM-North America President Mark Reuss said in an interview that GM should be able to make money on cars like the Chevy Cruze compact and Sonic subcompact, which are built in the U.S. with union labor. The company’s break-even point has fallen drastically since bankruptcy wiped away billions in debt and healthcare obligations. GM is wagering that cars like the Cruze and Sonic will offer a sportier ride and more creature comforts, so they should get a better price. The Buick Verano, which also had its debut at the show, will be built with many of the same parts as the Cruze. Its higher price should help the entire small-car program make money, he said.

The gamble is that cars like the Sonic–which have traditionally been cheap, entry-level transportation–can fetch a higher price by offering more horsepower, better ride and handling and features like MyChevrolet, a phone app that allows drivers to unlock doors, start the engine and check the vehicle’s diagnostics remotely. Ford is making the same bet with its Fiesta, which can sell for more than $20,000. Chevy has not priced the Sonic, but GM won’t set a ridiculously low price on the model, Reuss said. “If we’re going to make the cheapest, silliest car in the U.S. and try to make money on it, that isn’t going to work,” he says.

Daily Options Trading for Advance Auto Parts (AAP)

NEW YORK (Market Intellisearch) — Unusual volume of call and put contracts crossed the tape today. Total of 4,312 call contracts and 570 put contracts were traded in the marketplace. Today’s traded Put/Call ratio is 0.13. There were 7.56 calls traded for each put contract.

Summary of all Unusual Trading Activities

The following alerts were raised:
- Unusual Call Volume
- Unusual Put Volume
- Low Put/Call Ratio

A significant increase in the trading volume of a stock’s option often is a precursor of movement by the underlying stock. In such instances, Put/Call Ratio can be used as an investor sentiment indicator, where a high ratio implies that the overall investor sentiment is bearish and a low Put/Call ratio implies that the overall sentiment is bullish.

Shares of Advance Auto Parts edged up $0.68 (+1.11%) to $62.08. The stock closed at $61.40 in the previous trading session and opened today at $61.77. The price of the stock ranged between a low of $61.53 and $62.43 respectively. The trading volume of 575,987 is below the 90 day average volume of 904,944 shares. AAP is trading above the 50 day moving average. The stock’s 52 week low is $36.11 and 52 week high is $61.45. The stock has a P/E ratio of 18.53 and a dividend yield of 0.39%.

Price Performance Metrics for Advance Auto Parts:
-- Week:    4.05%
-- Month:   14.78%
-- Quarter: 39.84%
-- 6 Month: 53.10%
-- Year:    45.74%

Things to consider when buying your first car

Modern society believes that cars are not luxury items but means of transportation. But if you are a teenager in high school, or a college student do you really think so? Or maybe your parents believe that you are old enough to become a responsible driver and should buy the car without major assistance. More likely you have not got any credit history yet, so the process of buying a first car turns into a night mare with lots of unpredictable obstacles.

The toughest question for most young people is how to get finance for the purchase. Trustworthy experts advise not to buy a car if you are not able to pay it off in 2 year. Remember that during all this time your expenses on the car will be higher than just the loan payment. You will also have to pay for gas, new batteries, oil and filters changes, and many other things. And the more expensive the car the more extra expenses it will take. So, are you still sure that you can afford that cool new car you have been dreaming about? Maybe you would better think about a used car for now? If you get a used Toyota Camry or Honda Accord from a reliable dealer it would likely run long without major repairs. But do not forget to get a Vehicle History Report on the Vehicle Identification Number. Besides it would not hurt if the mechanic that you trust examines the car. Those simple actions will help you to avoid unpleasant surprises when the deal is closed.

Planning the budget, remember about insurance rates that are often higher for teens. As it is illegal to drive without car insurance, it will become a noticeable part of your payments. The insurance rates beside your age also depend on the area you live in, local traffic situation and your annual mileage. In some case even car parts may affect your insurance. You may be required to use only OEM car parts which are often way more expensive than aftermarket parts.

As soon as you know what car you can afford, you have to decide your main budget source. Be ready to find out that it is not so easy to get a car loan with lack of credit history. Lenders will want to see that young customers have a stable monthly income and capable to pay bills in time. Thus, sometimes it is useful to establish your credit scores some month before buying the car.

Sometimes parents may come to the aid and become co-signers. Then, if you fail in the monthly payment, your parents will be responsible. But if both of you fail, your credit history will be hit as well as the credit score of your parent.

Got budget planned? Find a reliable place to make the deal. You can choose from a local dealership or a private seller, check numerous Internet stores and actions.

So now you are a happy owner of a car. But it is not time to relax. Remember that more teens die in car accidents than because of any other reasons. You do not want to contribute to this sad statistics, don’t you? As soon as you are on the driver’s seat you must understand that every your mistake can be fatal for you or somebody on the road. Nobody is protected! It may happen to everybody! The only thing you must do is to be very careful. There some simple well-known rules that may save your life. Do not think that you are the only person in the world that can resist physical law and avoid hitting the windshield in a case of a collision. Always use signals to let other drivers and pedestrians know about your plans. And never overestimate your driving skills! Even a single phone call or your tiredness may cause an accident.
Remember our simple hints. Buy car accessories to make your car stylish and enjoy safe driving.