5 Secrets Car Mechanics Don’t Want You to Know
Today we are going to highlight some key aspects you should know before taking your car to a mechanic, so you don't get fooled. The aim is to save the hard-earned money, simply by knowing when and how exactly the key mechanical components in your car should be replaced. Should you change the entire setup or should you just change the parts in pairs and sets? Here we are going to list some key mechanical components that frequently undergo wear or tear and how we can save on the maintenance or replacement of such parts.
- Brakes parts
Brake Pads - Change in pairs
Generally, it is a thumb rule to replace the brake pads about every 50,000 miles. However, every car is different and there are a variety of warning signs that can indicate that you may need new brake pads. Such symptoms include Squeaking or Squealing noise coming from brakes, vibrating brake pedal, etc.
Replacement Secret: To save, you don't want to replace brake pads in pairs but they should be replaced in pairs. Why? To brake the car evenly, if front ones are gone you replace both the front ones and similarly the rear pair in case anyone may be worn out. One must also ensure that the new pair must be of the same composition as brake pads are made of different material compositions, which result in a different brake response.
Brake Calipers - Change only the bad ones
Another important braking apparatus, Caliper replacement is required if a caliper is leaking brake fluid, or if a piston is sticking, or the caliper is worn or damaged. Also, corrosion inside the piston bores or on the pistons themselves can also accelerate seal wear.
It's easier, faster and safer to simply replace the old calipers with new or remanufactured calipers. Loaded calipers are even better because they give you everything you need in one box, and there's much less chance of mismatched parts.
Replacement Secret: There is no need for replacing the calipers together (in pairs), as they will be heavy on your pocket and replacing a single caliper won't affect the performance. How? Let's take an instance, where either one of the front calipers is worn out more due to the different curb on either side. In such a case replacing the damaged one won't affect the other. The reason why the pads or rotors are replaced together is since they work in tandem.
- Suspension parts
Struts - Change in pairs
Struts or shock absorbers are parts of the vehicle suspension that absorb shocks from the bumps and potholes and keep your vehicle riding smooth and stable. Just to know, Struts and shock absorbers are maintenance-free units but they also need replacement at times. The most common problem with struts is when they start leaking. Further, struts, after hitting a major pothole, curb or after an accident, may also need replacement if they are bent.
Replacement Secret: We recommended to replace struts in pairs, for example, both front struts or both rear shocks. Why? Because a new shock absorber will absorb road bumps better than the old one. If you replace only one shock absorber, it may create "unevenness" from side to side when driving over bumps. However, if your car is not very old, replacing only one strut or shock absorber may be enough, since the opposite side is not worn out yet.
- LED/Halogen Bulb
Headlights Bulbs- Change in pairs
Replacement Secret: The usual practice over the year highlights the wrong practice wherein we simply replace the faulty bulb on the one side with a new bulb. In such cases, the new bulb on one side will take some extra power which constrains the old bulb and eventually will burn. You may get confused if something is wrong with your car but it is just simple. Replace both the old bulbs with new ones, remember the new bulbs need to be of the same type and from the same brand.
- Under the hood - Powertrain components
Fuel injectors- Change all injectors at once
Fuel injection refers to how the fuel actually gets into the cylinders. The individual injectors literally inject the fuel. Today, these are known as indirect and direct fuel-injection systems. The early fuel injection systems were entirely mechanical, but modern-day engines use computer-aided electronic fuel injection. This enables even more precise control over how much fuel is injected into the cylinders.
Replacement Secret: The fuel injectors must be replaced with whole new setup, replacing all the old once in one go. Changing individual fuel injectors might reduce the cost but may reduce the efficiency or aggravate other mechanical issues. Since the new injector will work better than the old ones, the engine performance might take a hit. Also, the fuel injectors need to be re-programmed to calibrate them for the right working. If you don't want to buy a new set, but want to rebuild them please ensure they are recalibrated to be in-sync with your car's software.
Spark plugs - Change all at once.
Spark plugs connect to wires that lead to the ignition system. This is what ignites the fuel in your engine's cylinders, creating the combustion that pushes the pistons down and actually turns the engine. Spark plugs are vital parts of your car.
Replacement secret: Replace all the spark plugs at the same time even if one of them is damaged. Why? Simply because the new ones will be the best performers which results in un-synchronous engine performance or misfiring.
- Drive Belt
Fan/drive belts - Change the only the belt
Also known as a serpentine belt, keeps the engine running smoothly. The traditional vehicles utilize a dual belt system, but most modern automobiles have a single belt. This reinforced rubber belt is important as it delivers power to the cooling system, AC, power steering, and alternator as the vehicle runs. The key symptoms that the drive belt needs a replacement is highlighted by squealing or whining noise coming from under the hood, or drive belt may crack, wear or chunks go missing or replace it when it is soaked in oil.
Replacement secret: Often, mechanics advise that drive belts are replaced as a kit that also includes a new tensioner and other hardware. So does the belt tensioner have to be replaced together with the drive belt? No, if only the belt is worn out, there is no need to replace any other hardware along with it.
So now you know the things you need to change in pairs and sets along with the things that need not be changed. Don't waste your money over unnecessary replacements and it will also help you to keep your car correctly aligned in the long run.