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Timing Belt Replacement


If your car has a timing belt (not all cars do – some cars have timing chains), you need to know two things; the factory-recommended replacement interval, and when it was last replaced. If you have no record of replacement, or if you know that it’s overdue, you really should go ahead and replace it. A timing belt replacement may or may not be a DIY job. But, it never hurts to at least understand the process.

Your car’s timing belt controls the camshaft(s) rotation in relation to the crankshaft, which in turn opens the valves at the correct intervals, allowing your car to run properly. If your car has a non-interference engine, and the belt breaks while you’re driving, you’re going to need a tow, but you’re unlikely to otherwise damage the engine. On the other hand, a broken timing belt on an interference engine most likely will cause severe valve damage and may require a total rebuild of your engine. Even if you’re not doing the job yourself, it’s helpful to understand it. Although any one of the following steps may not apply to your car, it’s a good basic overview of the procedure.

In the case of longitudally-mounted engines, you’re likely going to need to remove your car’s radiator first in order to gain access to the timing covers. Next, you’re going to want to rotate the crankshaft, usually via the pulley bolt, to the point specified in the factory repair procedure for timing belt replacement. Next, you remove the crankshaft pulley and timing covers. From there, you verify that the crankshaft and camshaft(s) are properly lined up for timing belt replacement. In some cases, you’ll need to lock the camshaft(s) and crankshaft in place with special tools. Next, you loosen tension on the belt at the tensioner and remove the belt. While you’re in there, check the condition of the belt idlers. If they don’t spin silently, the bearings are wearing out and you need to replace the idlers.

Once everything is off, you can install the new idlers, then the belt and tensioner. Before you put the covers back on, double and triple check whether your camshaft(s) and crankshaft are still properly lined up for belt installation. You don’t want to start your car with a misaligned belt. If you have a non-interference engine, the car likely won’t start and you’ll need to do the job again. If your car has an interference engine, starting it with a misaligned timing belt can be as hazardous as a broken timing belt.

Also, pay attention to other items that may need to be replaced. If your water pump is driven off the timing belt, for example, this is an excellent opportunity to install a new one without incurring much additional labor. Once again, though, if timing belt replacement seems to complex, you may want to leave it to a mechanic until you’re more confident in your repair skills.

Jim Carrey Lincoln “Ads” Nail Matthew McConaughey Lincoln Spots: SNL

Matthew McConaughey (Jim Carrey) ponders the important questions in life and takes Allstate spokesman Dennis Haysbert (Kenan Thompson) for a ride in a new set of commercials.

Jim Carrey Matthew McConaughey Lincoln Parody

Alternator replacement

There are certain parts of your car that, if removed, render your car immediately useless. Without the wheels, your car won’t roll. Without the transmission, it won’t move. Then, there are other parts, that if removed, wouldn’t make a bit of difference in getting you to your destination. Your car will handle the same without its tail lights, rear seat, or radio. Then, there are some parts that if removed, will eventually disable your car. Your alternator is one of those parts.

Let’s say you remove your alternator. Your car will still start off the battery, and you’ll be able to drive it… for a while. As you drive down the road, you’ll start to deplete the battery as it provides power for your sparks. You’ll run the battery down even faster if you’re using other electrical consumers, such as your tail lights or radio. When your alternator fails, you often get little notice other than an ignition system warning light in your instrument cluster. If you don’t notice the warning light, and keep driving, eventually you’ll kill the battery and your car will stop running.

If you’re unsure of your alternator‘s condition, you can give it a quick test with a volt meter. With the engine running, you place one of the volt meter’s terminals on the alternator‘s positive power post and touch the other terminal to a vehicle ground. A properly functioning alternator should give a reading of around 14 volts.

Thankfully, an alternator is an easy DIY replacement item. Although placement will vary by make, manufacturer, and model of car, they tend to have a lot in common. Most alternators are mounted to a bracket with a single bolt on which the alternator can pivot, and another one which provides tension for the alternator belt. The alternator pulley is powered by a belt driven off the crankshaft. Sometimes this belt will also power another accessory, such as the A/C compressor or the power steering pump. You may have a belt drive system with multiple belts powering multiple accessories, or your engine might have a single serpentine belt powering all the accessories. Your car’s alternator might be mounted right near the top of the engine compartment, or it might be low enough that you need to put the car up on ramps or jack stands in order to change it.

There are aftermarket alternators out there, but for the most part, your options are limited to identical new units or quality rebuilt alternators. No matter which you choose, replacing the alternator is usually as simple as releasing tension and removing the belt, and then removing the bolts that hold the alternator to the bracket. From there, you just install the new alternator and belt and then tighten the bolts to the factory-specified torque value.

Headlight bulb replacement

Your car’s headlights are important. Without them, driving in the dark would be an unnecessarily dangerous challenge. In some states, you’re required to drive with your headlights on if it’s raining, even in the middle of the day. So, when one of your headlight bulbs burn out, you’re best off replacing it right away. With one headlight, you’re not only driving with reduced visibility, which is a safety hazard, but your car will also fail your state inspection and you’ll run the risk of getting a ticket.

If you have an older car, you may have sealed beam lamps. It was fairly common on cars into the 1980s to have sealed beam headlamps. These, which were often rectangular or seven inch round units, were essentially large light bulbs. To replace them, you usually need to remove a piece of trim or the grill as well as whatever bolts or screws secure the headlamp to the headlight bucket. From there, you remove the electrical connector and then reverse the process to install the new unit.

Modern cars often have separate bulbs and lenses. If you have a lens that’s physically broken, you’ll need to replace that as well as the bulb if it’s burned out. Removal differs by make and manufacturer, but often, you’ll pop the hood of your car and be able to access the bulb from inside the engine compartment. Usually, you’ll have to pull off a protective rubber boot and a wire retaining clip before you can remove the electrical connector and bulb. With this style of headlight, it’s important not to touch the bulb glass with your bare hands if you can avoid it.

It’s usually best to replace headlight bulbs in pairs. Even if one is still working, chances are it’s in similar condition to the burned out bulb and doesn’t have much life left in it. But, it’s always a good idea to hang onto the good bulb as a spare. If you were just driving with the good headlight turned on, give it a few minutes to cool before removing it to avoid burning your hands.

Another reason to replace headlights in pairs is that the older of the two bulbs will often have aged and replacing only the burned out bulb will lead to uneven illumination. Also, pay attention to the replacement bulbs you’re purchasing. Just because a bulb is the same size and will fit in the headlight socket doesn’t mean it’s a correct match for the original bulb. Check your owner’s manual if you’re not sure what kind of bulbs you need.

Automotive Super Store AutoPartsWAY.ca Adds 6 Brands and 520,000 Applications to Catalog

AutoPartsWAY.ca, Canada’s largest automotive online parts store, has added additional brands to complement its existing vehicle applications.
Canada’s biggest automotive parts store just got a whole lot bigger. AutoPartsWAY.ca, the country’s largest automotive online super store which offers OEM and aftermarket auto parts at discount prices, has announced that it has just added six new brands and about 520,000 new applications to its existing voluminous product catalog. The addition allows AutoPartsWAY to better serve its customers and cement itself as Canada’s one-stop auto shop.
Prices at AutoPartsWAY.ca are up to 80 percent off actual retail prices and are free of duties and taxes, since all parts are located in Canada. Additionally, the store’s large nationwide fulfillment center network allows parts to be delivered within one to three days of purchase to most locations across the country, whether you’re in Calgary or Montreal. Shipping is free on orders that are more than $100.
To purchase a part, customers simply select their vehicle from AutoPartWAY.ca drop down menus. Doing so will bring up every available part on the vehicle, where customers can then browse and select the part based on their vehicle specifications. It’s easy and hassle-free to use and ensures that customers get the right parts at the best prices conveniently. And now there’s even more parts and brands to select from.
For more information about Auto Parts WAY, to get started shopping and to see a variety of other auto offerings, such as repair manuals, tech tips and auto forums, visit http://www.autopartsway.ca or http://www.autopartsway.com.
About Auto Parts WAY
AutoPartsWAY.ca is Canada’s largest online auto parts store and offers hundreds of thousands of vehicle applications in everything from brake parts to transfer cases. Parts are purchased over the company’s secure website and delivered to your home or business within one to three business days. Visit Auto Parts WAY at http://www.autopartsway.ca or at http://www.autopartsway.com.

The cost of owning your car? $9,000 a year

The average owner of a sedan has to shell out nearly $10,000 a year to own and operate that car, according to auto club AAA.160783525-4_3_r536_c534

A new AAA reports shows, on average, the cost of driving 15,000 miles a year rose 1.17 cents to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year. Overall, that’s a roughly 2% increase on the cost of operating a car last year.

Auto club AAA studies five cost categories – maintenance, fuel, tires, insurance and depreciation – for its annual “Your Driving Costs” study.

The biggest percentage increase this year was in maintenance costs, which grew by 11.26% to 4.97 cents per mile, on average, for sedan owners. Average costs in all categories are lower for smaller vehicles and higher for bigger ones.

The maintenance cost estimates are based on the cost to maintain a vehicle and perform needed repairs for five years and 75,000 miles, including labor expenses, replacement part prices and the purchase of an extended warranty.

“As a vehicle gets older you tend to encounter more significant repair costs,” says Michael Calkins, AAA’s manager of technical services.

Since last year’s study, there were substantial increases in labor and parts costs for some models, and a significant rise in the price of extended warranties. “People are keeping cars longer,” Calkins says. “Extended warranties are seeing a bit of an increase in claims. That’s where the costs have gone up.”

The second biggest increase: Insurance costs, which rose 2.76%, or $28, to an annual average of $1,029. AAA’s insurance cost estimates are based on a low-risk driver with a clean driving record.

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Bleeding your car’s cooling system

One of the more frustrating things about making repairs to your car is when they don’t go quite correctly, and the car fails the first post-repair test drive. Any time you replace parts, you need to put the new parts in so that they fit and function the way your car came from the factory. For some parts, this is as simple as bolting them in and tightening them to the proper torque specification. I other cases, some parts, mainly electrical ones, need to be adapted to the car once installed.

In yet other cases, mechanical parts work in conjunction with fluids. As such, special care needs to be taken. A good example of this is replacing parts in your car’s cooling system. Generally, replacing a water pump or radiator isn’t all that difficult. Accessing your car’s heater core can be a challenge sometimes, but replacement is usually a simple matter of clamping off and removing hoses and the replacing the heater core itself. A water pump will unbolt from the engine block once the drive belt is off. A new pump, a new gasket, and some sealant, and you’re all set. While we’re at it, let’s not forget cooling system hoses. Nothing could be simpler – you loosen the hose clamps, replace the section of hose in question, and you’re done.

So, you have your cooling system repaired and solid. You open your radiator cap and fill the system with fresh coolant. The only thing to do now is to test drive the repair, right? So, you get out on the road, and everything seems okay… until the temperature gauge reaches its normal range, and then keeps going up. You pull the car over just before reaching a severe overheat. Why did this happen?

Chances are, you didn’t bleed the air out of the cooling system properly (or at all). Simply filling the radiator at the end of repairs isn’t enough. An air pocket trapped in the system can cause an overheat. These air pockets need to be eliminated. There are many tricks to accomplish this. But, for the most part, you’re going to want to raise the front of your car on ramps or jack stands, and then once your initial fill of the cooling system is done, start the engine. The water pump will circulate coolant through the system, eventually pushing out the air pockets. You’re going to want to keep plenty of coolant and a funnel on hand. Keep filling the system until the car is up to temperature and the thermostat opens. Stop your car and let it cool. If necessary, top up the coolant again. From there, you should be good to go, and shouldn’t need to worry about further overheating.

Lamborghini Veneno

gallery_veneno04_1920x1080Lamborghini Veneno – a racing prototype and road-going super sports car as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Automobili Lamborghini the year of its 50th anniversary Automobili Lamborghini is presenting an extremely exclusive model at the Geneva Motor Show 2013. Only three unique units of the Lamborghini Veneno will be built and sold. Its design is consistently focused on optimum aerodynamics and cornering stability, giving the Veneno the real dynamic experience of a racing prototype, yet it is fully homologated for the road. With a maximum output of 552 kW / 750 hp, the Veneno accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 2.8 seconds and the top speed for this street-legal racing car stands at 355 km/h. It is priced at three million Euros plus tax – and all three units have already been sold to customers.

The Lamborghini Veneno features a twelve-cylinder power unit with a displacement of 6.5 liters, an extremely fast-shifting 7-speed ISR transmission with 5 driving modes and permanent all-wheel drive, as well as a racing chassis with pushrod suspension and horizontal spring/damper units. Above all, however, the Veneno benefits from the very special expertise that Automobili Lamborghini possesses in the development and execution of carbon-fiber materials – the complete chassis is produced as a CFRP monocoque, as is the outer skin of this extreme sports car. The inside, too, features innovative, Lamborghini-patented materials such as Forged Composite and CarbonSkin.

Fully in keeping with the tradition of the brand, the name of the Veneno originates from a legendary fighting bull. Veneno is the name of one of the strongest and most aggressive fighting bulls ever. He is also famous for being one of the fastest bulls in the history of bullfighting. His name became popular in 1914, when he fatally wounded the famous torero José Sánchez Rodríguez during the bullfight in the arena Sanlúcar de Barrameda’s, Andalusia, Spain.

The Design The Lamborghini Veneno brings the aerodynamic efficiency of a racing prototype to the road. Every detail of its form pursues a clear function – exceptional dynamics, optimum downforce with minimal drag and perfect cooling of the high-performance engine. Yet the Veneno is unmistakably a Lamborghini; it sticks firmly to the consistent design philosophy of all the super sports cars from Sant’Agata Bolognese. That includes the extreme proportions, as well as the powerfully arrow-shaped front end and the interplay between razor-sharp lines and precise surfaces.

Original Article

Tesla Model S review


As we cover the mobile industry, where the evolution of devices and processors is relentless, we’re used to being impressed. We’re used to seeing a new generation of a product that instantly and irrevocably makes the previous one look tame. It’s just the way this world turns. However, that’s not something we’re used to seeing in the automotive world, where each new model year is typically such a minor step forward that without the addition of new creases or wings to the body, bigger wheels and more boisterous badges on the trunk, you’d hardly spot the improvements.

tesla_model_s_official_4That’s not the case with the Tesla Model S. It comes not long after the retirement of the Tesla Roadster, a car we thoroughly enjoyed but found a bit too raw, a bit too rough around the edges for general consumption. The Model S is so much more refined, so much more polished that you can hardly compare the two. Yet they come from the same company and have one similar, defining characteristic: neither burns a drop of fuel. Join us after the break for an exploration of what makes Tesla’s latest EV such an amazing ride — and where the company must improve if it truly wants to compete with the BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes of the world.

Where the Tesla Roadster was a repurposed Lotus chassis with a lot of customizations made to turn it into a battery-powered car, the Model S is a clean-sheet design, every aspect engineered with complete and utter disregard for internal combustion and all the tanks, pipes, hoses, pumps, radiators and other fittings that come along with it. As we learned when we spoke with (now former) Tesla Chief Engineer Peter Rawlinson, that provides a number of advantages.

Primary among them is the ability to put the weight of the car low. A car with a very low center of gravity will be a better corner-carver because weight up high makes a car rock from side to side as you turn from left to right. With the Model S, Tesla engineered a custom battery pack configured as a sheet that, when installed, runs the length of the car and is situated in the floor. It’s the heaviest and it’s also the lowest part of the car — well, other than the bottom of the wheels and tires.

This is a heavy car, 4,600 pounds or so, but this concentration of weight so low means that it handles like a lighter, more nimble auto. But that’s not the only benefit. This battery pack arrangement gives the car a flat floor to build upon, which means a wide-open interior, uncompromised by a transmission tunnel, and a relatively massive 31.6 cubic feet of cargo space spread across the front and rear trunks. (The BMW 5 Series offers less than half that, just 14 cubic feet.)

The electric motor itself is sandwiched between the rear wheels, again positioned low and out of the way, and depending on which specification you choose, you’ll get a different motor with different outputs.

The car we were given to test was a top-shelf Performance model, with the 85kWh battery pack and plenty of other options: upgraded audio system ($950), the “tech package” that includes GPS nav and a very trick proximity-based key ($3,750) and some other goodies that brought the sticker price just into the six-figure mark: $101,600 to be precise. Of course, there is a $7,500 tax credit that helps to ease the sting somewhat, and the EPA rating of 89MPGe is estimated to save the average consumer $9,100 in fuel costs over five years. Depending on your driving habits, you might be able to do better.


A decent car on a budget


So, the time has finally come for me to replace my wife’s car. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve done a pretty decent job keeping it running all these years. After all, the car has 320,000 miles on its original, unopened engine and automatic transmission, so I must be doing something right. But, the car is finally starting to show its age and mileage, so we’ve decided to move her into a newer, lower-mileage used car. Of course, with what the used car market is these days, finding a decent car on a budget has become something of a challenge. Low mileage cars needing no repairs and that are caught up on their maintenance are demanding a premium these days. Cars that are in our usual price range are getting more and more ragged in terms of condition.

So, after a couple of months of shopping around, we finally found a car that was a bit of a compromise all around. It was a bit newer than her old car, but only had 115,000 miles on it. The engine, transmission, and body were all basically solid, though neglected. The seller had obviously sugar-coated the description. The “brand new” tires certainly had most of their life ahead of them, but had seen quite a bit of use. The “brand new” exhaust was in good shape overall, but loud, likely due to a failed gasket, and was probably somewhere between a year and two years old, based on appearance.

The car ran and drove, but there were a number of issues. Although the seller claimed a recent timing belt job, he had no records to back up his claim. Given that the timing covers looked undisturbed, I’m going to err on the side of caution and replace the timing belt and water pump while I’m in there.

As they look original, I’m going to be replacing the accessory drive belts as well as both radiator hoses and the heater hoses. This will, of course, necessitate fresh coolant and a new radiator pressure cap. Also on my list is new spark plugs and wires. The engine has some minor leaks, so I’m going to go ahead and replace the valve cover gasket and intake manifold gasket.

My goal is to get the car to the point where it’s completely caught up on its maintenance, so I’m also going to be replacing the fuel filter and fuel hoses, as well as the transmission fluid and filter and the differential fluid.

Once I’m done with the work, I estimate I’ll still have spent less than the book value of the car, and will have a car that is reliable and dependable to show for it.