Monday, February 7, 2011

Safety First- Properly Lifting Your Car or Truck

Every year home mechanics, and pro mechanics for that matter, are seriously injured or even killed in accidents while making repairs to their vehicles. Following a few simple safety rules will prevent these accidents and make your home repair projects more enjoyable.

Many repair projects require that you be under various parts of the vehicle. Properly lifting and securing the car or light truck will prevent injuries caused by floor jack failure.

Before lifting a wheel off the ground wheel chocks should be used to secure the vehicle. The wheel on the opposite side and opposite end of the car should be secured by wedging wheel chocks against the tire to prevent vehicle movement when the wheel is removed. If both wheels on one axle set are being removed then secure both wheels on the opposite axle set with the wheel chocks.

After raising the wheel off the ground slide a jack stand under the frame or sub-frame.Lower the vehicle onto the stand to support the
weight of the car before removing the wheel. This will prevent the vehicle from falling on you while you are under it.

Following this procedure will eliminate accidents and allow you to safely remove the wheel for repair.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Some Important Information: ABS

North Texas, where I live, is covered in ice today. It seems that once or twice a year we get icy road conditions and the same thing always happens... body shops and mechanics make a fortune. Over the last few years I have observed a disturbing trend...more and more I hear people say, "The ABS didn't work!!!!"

Just to try and get the word out, I thought I would take a minute to explain WHY the ABS system on your car doesn't work on ice.

1- ABS works by monitoring the speed of the wheels and comparing their speeds to each other and the expected wheel speed. When the computer senses a wheel is about to lock up it blocks any additional brake pressure from being applied to the wheel. If the wheel continues to slow down or stops the ABS relieves ALL of the brake pressure to the wheel. When the wheel speeds back up the ABS re-applies brake pressure to the wheel. This functions similarly to pumping the brake pedal only the ABS can do it way faster that you can. The purpose is to allow the driver to apply the brakes in wet weather and steer around a problem in the road... instead of sliding off the road, or into an object in the road, when the wheels lock up. ABS is designed for WET weather.

2- Ice is more than just WET weather. Wet ice is the slipperiest substance known to man...per an old Slick-50 ad from the 90's. When the ABS re-applies the brake pressure the wheel INSTANTLY locks up on ice because there is NO FRICTION between the wet tire and the wet ice. So even with ABS you have no traction.

ABS may possibly be the most misunderstood safety equipment on the passenger vehicle today. It works great in the rain...but NOTHIN will save you on ICE except good common sense...and most experienced race car drivers can stop faster on dry pavement WITHOUT ABS by using a technique called threshold braking.

So be careful out there...slow down...think way ahead...concentrate...and turn off the cell phone.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Basic Brake Job

I just completed a basic front brake job on my S-10 Brazer. I took plenty of pics while I was doing it and will post a basic brake tutorial and a brake inspection tutorial this weekend.

Aside from the driver, the brake system in your car is the most important safety feature in the vehicle. I've heard it said that a good driver in a car without ABS (anti-lock brakes system) can out brake a poor driver in a car WITH ABS. I believe that's true only if the brake system in the non-ABS car is right.

So....check back this weekend for easy to follow instructions on how to inspect and diagnose brake problems and how to perform a basic brake jab.