The Exhaust SystemWritten by Kevin Schappell
Your car's exhaust system carries away gases created when fuel and air are burned in combustion chamber. These gases are harmful to humans and our environment. A frequent check of your exhaust system is a must to provide for you and your family's safety. Make sure there are no holes in exhaust system or in passenger compartment where exhaust fumes could enter. Let's begin by listing parts of exhaust system and their functions. Exhaust manifold: The exhaust manifold attaches to cylinder head and takes each cylinders exhaust and combines it into one pipe. The manifold can be made of steel, aluminum, stainless steel, or more commonly cast iron. Oxygen sensor: All modern fuel injected cars utilize an oxygen sensor to measure how much oxygen is present in exhaust. From this computer can add or subtract fuel to obtain correct mixture for maximum fuel economy. The oxygen sensor is mounted in exhaust manifold or close to it in exhaust pipe. Catalytic converter: This muffler like part converts harmful carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to water vapor and carbon dioxide. Some converters also reduce harmful nitrogen oxides. The converter is mounted between exhaust manifold and muffler. Muffler: The muffler serves to quiet exhaust down to acceptable levels. Remember that combustion process is a series of explosions that create allot of noise. Most mufflers use baffles to bounce exhaust around dissipating energy and quieting noise. Some mufflers also use fiberglass packing, which absorbs sound energy as gases flow through. Exhaust pipe: Between all of above mention parts is exhaust pipe which carries gas through it's journey out your tail pipe. Exhaust tubing is usually made of steel but can be stainless steel (which lasts longer due to it's corrosion resistance) or aluminized steel tubing. Aluminized steel has better corrosion resistance than plain steel but not better than stainless steel. It is however cheaper than stainless steel. Common Problems: Well worst enemy of your exhaust system is corrosion.... or more commonly known as rust. Rust is caused by moisture reacting with iron in steel and forming iron oxide. Moisture, or water vapor is present in exhaust as a by-product of combustion and catalytic converter. Moisture can also come from outside in form of rain. Short trips in your car can shorten life of your exhaust system. When you shut down your engine whatever water vapor is in pipes condenses and turns back into a liquid. On a short trip water never has a chance to get hot enough to turn back into water vapor and just stays in system and rusts away pipes. If you drive for short distances consider replacing your exhaust system with stainless steel when plain steel one rusts through. If you drive more than 15 miles at a time then you should not have to worry about this.
Your Cars Electrical SystemWritten by Kevin Schappell
When automotive industry was in its infancy, it used electricity only to ignite fuel inside engine. By late 1920's, electric starter replaced hand crank, electric headlights made acetylene lamps obsolete and braying of electric horn drowned out squeak of hand-squeezed air horn. Today, an automobile requires an elaborate electrical system of circuits just to produce, store, and distribute all electricity it requires simply for everyday operation. The first major component in electrical system is battery. The battery is used to store power for starting, and for running auxiliary devices such as clocks, radios and alarms when engine is off. The next major component is starter motor, which is used to start engine. The third component is a charging device powered by engine, known as alternator. It powers electrical system when car is running, and restores charge within battery. With these basic components, car maintains its supply of electricity. A device called voltage regulator keeps power level stabilized, and fuse box keeps minor problems from becoming major ones. Many different auxiliary electrical devices are used in modern cars, such as: radios, cellular phones, rear window defrosters and electric door locks, as well as a vast array of motors powering everything from moon roof on down. The above information is directly from Auto Insight program, which you can buy online from AutoEducation.com. Common Problems: ·The battery is usually first part of system to wear out. Most batteries last between 3 and 7 years depending on brand and design. Batteries can be fine on minute, and dead next. More on this later. ·Blown fuse: Is one part of electrical system not working like interior lights or dash lights? The first thing to check is fuses. Look for fuse panel under dash, in glove box, or even in engine compartment in some cars. Most fuse boxes will be labeled by circuit. Modern cars use a blade type fuse which is rectangular in shape and transparent. Look for wire, which runs through fuse, and see if it is burned through. Any discoloring of fuse is a good sign fuse has blown. If you have doubts, replace with a new fuse and test system, which is not working. ·Alternator: Does your car start ok, but your headlights dim when idling. It could be a bad alternator. When alternator cannot produce enough electricity to keep electrical systems running and battery will have to be used to take up slack. This will eventually wear down battery and not allow your car to start. Troubleshooting: I don't think there is a tougher system to troubleshoot on your car than charging/starting system. This is due to fact that there are many things that can go wrong and it's tough to test some components without special equipment. Let's go over some possible situations and their possible causes. ·Car won't start, all I hear is a click but engine does not turn. oFirst check all battery cables for corrosion as this will keep power from flowing freely to starting system. If they are dirty, clean with a wire brush and reattach. Apply a light coat of grease to top of terminals to prevent further corrosion. oBattery could not have enough power stored in it to spin engine. This can be caused by a bad cell in battery or from a bad alternator not charging battery when engine is running. If you can get car to a mechanic, have him or her test battery and charging system with a special tester. This tester places a load on battery and can tell condition. They can also check to see if alternator is working to it's full potential. oStarter or solenoid could be bad. If you can not jump start car and all of battery cables are ok then suspect starter.