Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Your Car's Alternator - How Long Will it Last?

The alternator is arguably the hardest-working component under the hood of your vehicle. It produces a current and then transfers that current to the battery. This, in turn, powers the electrical features of your car while your alternator makes sure the battery remains alive. If the battery goes, so too, will your radio, headlights, and other features that depend on the juice.

If you have ever turned the key in your car's ignition and heard a clicking noise, you'll already be familiar with the sound of a dying alternator. The noise indicates the component needs to be replaced. For most drivers, the question is, how long can the part be expected to last?

We're going to explore this question in more detail below. Because your alternator is so important to the smooth operation of your vehicle, it's worth examining the factors that can shorten its life. You'll discover that its longevity depends largely on the quality of its design.

Slow Deterioration Over Thousands Of Miles

One of the most common reasons an alternator fails is because it was built poorly in the first place. New components are rarely an issue. You can expect them to last up to 100,000 miles. Replacement parts, however, are another matter entirely. Often, a poorly-designed rebuilt is used to replace an original unit that has died. Unfortunately, if the craftsmanship of the rebuilt is lacking, the replacement can fail within months due to the load placed upon it.

Another reason this component can fail is due to normal wear and tear. Over time, the diodes can wear down, the stator windings may become ineffective, or the needle bearing on which the part's rotor spins can deteriorate.

The wear and tear suffered by the alternator may be accelerated by other circumstances. For example, extreme heat generated by the engine can slowly take a toll; the battery may lose its charge, taxing the component more than normal; dirt may infiltrate the part. It's often difficult to know these things are occurring, especially because they happen gradually. However, you can - and should - periodically test the component to make sure it is in good condition.

Testing And Maintaining The Component

In order to test the alternator, you'll need to purchase a voltmeter. They normally cost less than $20 and can be found at most auto supply stores. This device tests output level. To use it, turn your car's engine over and allow it to idle for a minute. Make sure your radio, DVD player, headlights, and similar features are turned off.

Then, attach the voltmeter's positive and negative connections to the positive and negative posts on your battery. The device should display a reading between 13.8 and 15.3 volts. Next, turn on your headlights and look at the reading again; turn on your radio and take another look; turn your vehicle's heater on. The voltmeter's reading should never dip below 12 volts. If it does, there's a good chance your alternator is faulty or failing. In both cases, you'll need to have it replaced.

Thoughts On Replacing The Part

Even though alternators are commonly rebuilt, they are rarely repaired. The diodes, bearings, rotor, and other pieces that wear down with time are usually replaced. That means if the component fails, the replacement - whether a new unit or a rebuilt - will have new pieces fitted.

As mentioned earlier, the quality of a rebuilt varies by the rebuilder. For this reason, replacing a failing alternator with an OEM-certified unit is always recommended; it should come with a warranty that covers it for at least a year. Don't be tempted to save a few dollars by purchasing a cheap substitute. You'll find this is one component where the investment in higher quality is worthwhile.

Article Source:

Star Tech European in Vacaville uses OEM parts! We specialize in European Automotive service and repairs. The auto repair business doesn't have the best reputation, so we go the extra mile to build trust. That includes taking extra time to really explain what your car needs and why. Our goal is to give professional, friendly, honest service without the stress and hassle of going to the dealer. We will never sell you something you don't need.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The new 2013 Audi RS 5 Promo

The 2013 Audi RS 5 CoupĂ© is the star athlete of the A5 family. It offers the power and handling of a powerful sports car packaged in the body of an alluringly elegant coupe. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The New BMW M Performance Parts

Add a striking touch of sporty style in the appearance and interior styling of each vehicle with the new BMW M Performance Parts. Designed in close collaboration with BMW M GmbH for the BMW 5 Series Sedan, the new BMW 3 Series Sedan and the new BMW 1 Series. BMW M Performance Parts are available as part of the Original BMW Accessories range.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Spark Plugs And Other Parts You Need to Understand

There are plenty of parts on a vehicle that are popular, well-known even to those who do not work on cars. Everyone knows what the purpose of the engine is, and everyone knows what the purpose of the battery is. While they may understand the importance of tires, few people understand the importance of the smaller parts of their vehicles.

It is important for all to understand the purpose of the different parts in their cars, what they need to do to protect them, and when they should have them replaced. Understanding the purpose of spark plugs and other parts in your car will help you to keep your car working as efficiently as possible.

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are an important part of your engine, helping to provide the spark that gets the fuel burning. Spark plugs are the basis of the combustion in the vehicle that allows it to actually operate and move. Spark plugs can blow out and stop working correctly, making your vehicle less efficient (or keeping it from working). These should be replaced when the engine seems to not be working properly, or when your gas mileage starts to drop.

The Muffler

Many believe that the muffler is an incredibly important part of the vehicle, and that it is necessary for a vehicle to run. This part is not necessary, but is instead a needed part of the vehicle to make driving more bearable. The muffler helps to dampen the sound created by the engine, eliminating the sound pollution created by the normal reactions and actions of the vehicle. The muffler is not something that must be replaced unless it stops dampening the sound.

Anti-Lock Brakes

While most people know that Anti-lock brakes are a part of practically every new car that comes out, they fail to fully understand what the system actually does. These brakes actually work to make your braking system more effective. The system practically pumps the brakes, giving you maximum braking power without causing your tires to skid. This increases the friction, helping to slow the car down more efficiently. Anti-lock brakes perform a task that was once recommended to physically perform. The anti-lock brakes system is not something that must be replaced on a regular basis.

It is not important for you to understand how to change and manipulate all of these different parts in your vehicle. It is also important to understand which parts are not something that should be worried about. You simply need to fully understand their purpose and what they do. This will help you to better understand how your car operates, and what is going wrong with your vehicle when a mechanic talks to you about your vehicle. The more that you know about your car, the more confident you can feel about your ability to detect problems and have parts replaced as needed.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

The History of the Volkswagen Beetle - The People's Car

In 1938 the German automaker Volkswagen released their version of the economy car called the Volkswagen Type 1, or more commonly referred to as the Volkswagen Beetle. The names "Bug" and "Beetle" were adopted by the public, but it was not until late 1967 that Volkswagen began using the name "Beetle" in their marketing. It was previously known as only the "Type 1" or the 1200, 1300, or 1500, which were the names it had been marketed under in Europe prior to 1967. The numbers indicated the size of the vehicle's engine in cubic centimeters.

The 1967 model of the VW Beetle underwent a few changes, the car itself didn't get bigger, but many of the mechanical systems and components did. Some changes to the Bug included a larger engine. Output of the electrical generator had been increased from 180 watts to 360, and also had been upgraded from the old 6-volt system to the 12-volt system. The clutch disk was also made larger and changes had been made to the braking system, the flywheel, and rear axles.

Although the VW Bug has been widely despised for its styling, rough ride, weak power, along with high noise levels, it was also the longest and most produced vehicle for a single design.

The "Beetle" or "Bug" whichever you wish to call it also played a roll in the military. In 1935 prototypes of the Kdf-Wagen appeared.

Produced by Daimlet-Benz in Stuttgart, Germany the first prototypes were born. With its already peculiar round shape, and the rear-mounted, air-cooled engine, The factory only produced a small number of the cars by the time war began in 1939. The first mass-produced version of the Beetle were used for military vehicles, like the Schwimmwagen and the Kubelwagen.

The military bug was created to be as simple as possible, so that little could go wrong. The 985cc air-cooled motor proved to be effective with German Afrika Korps in Africa's desert heat with The built in oil cooler and the superb performance of the flat four, or "pancake" engine configuration. The suspension was equipped with compact torsion beams in place of the more commonly used coil or leaf spring suspensions.

Once World War II was over, the shortage of jobs led to the reopening of the factory in Wolfsburg by Allied forces. The production of the Beetle from then on recommenced. The production increased massively over the next decade, with the one millionth car rolling off of the assembly line in 1955. The Bug's performance was far superior compared to other automobiles in its category with a top speed of 72 mph. The production was surpassing 16 million in 1972, and by the 23rd of June in 1992 the company had sold over 21 million of the cars.

The Volkswagen Beetle is the world's best selling design with the same name. The VW Beetle outlasted most all of the other vehicles who had copied the rear-mounted air-cooled engine layout like those by Subaru, and General Motors.

The Beetle began to phase-out in 2003. The annual production ad reduced to 30,000 from its peak of 1.3 million in 1971. As the last Beetle rolled off of the assembly line, it was shipped off to the Volkswagen company museum in Wolfsburg, Germany.

In 1998 Volkswagen introduced the new Beetle which was designed to look a lot like the classic Beetle. The new Beetle was designed with a water cooled engine being placed in the front of the car.

The new VW Beetle has turned out to be a very popular car and has become a pop culture icon and been featured in many movies.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New 2012-2013 BMW M6 Coupe: Unveiled Before The Geneva Auto Show

The images have leaked on the new 2012/2013 BMW M6 prior to its official debut at The Geneva Auto Show. The new car is more radical than it's predecessors with a V8 twin turbo engine, 7 speed dual clutch transmission and a carbon fiber "Double Bubble" roof. This is the first BMW with Carbon Ceramic brakes as an option.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Caring For Your Classic Car

Caring for any car takes a considerable amount of time and work but caring for a classic car takes even more. If you want to retain the value of your car, which you certainly do, there are steps you need to take to protect it. Any number of things can take place to harm or depreciate your classic car. Prevention is a necessary part of classic car care. Having a classic is a serious commitment. Make sure that you are up to the challenge before you find yourself overwhelmed with all the special care required.

One of the most obvious issues is to protect the paint job on your classic car. Never allow heavy dirt or bird droppings to sit on the car for long periods. This kind of thing should be washed off immediately. Plan on washing your car once a week or so, especially if you have it insured to drive and it is on the road now and then. Use a good wax that will protect your paint in between washings as well.

A classic car must be stored properly if you want to keep it in the best shape possible. Ideally you will want to have it put away in a garage out of the elements. However, if that is not possible then you should have a good, reliable car cover over top of it. This will keep dirt and snow from settling on the paint job. If you can get the car off the ground like on the back of a trailer, it would be best for maintaining the tires and rims.

Take care of your engine. It is the heart and soul of your classic car. Keep it as clean as possible by using special engine shampoo so it does not get clogged up with oil and grime. Engine parts are hard to come by for older cars so take care of the ones that you have. Likewise, the interior of the car must be cared for so riding in classic comfort feels like a dream, as it should. Use only proper leather and upholstery cleaners that are made for vehicles. Do not go for the cheapest stuff either. It is all about quality.

It is a good idea to make some rules for your classic car. For example, do not smoke or eat in it if you it to stay a classic. All it takes is some food stains and smoke stench to plummet the value of your car. It is simply not worth it. If you treat it like any other car there is just no point to it being a classic. The value must be your priority.

Though it can be tempting, you probably should not even consider racing your classic car. It has nothing to prove. It has already earned its status. By racing it though you risk turning it into something fit for the junkyard. And of course, racing is dangerous and should only be done on a track by professionals.

Taking care of your classic car might feel like a full time job. You will not regret it though when the value continues to rise. Care for your car and it will care for you.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

5 Tips For Car Maintenance

According to the US Bureau of Transit Statistics, there were approximately 136 million registered cars in the United States as of 2004. Another statement in the Physics Factbook edited by Glenn Elert, an educationist, says that 'there are over 600 million motor vehicles in the world today. If present trends continue, the number of cars on Earth will double in the next 30 years.' According to the estimate, there will be approximately 12 billion cars in the world by 2030. These statistics are quite interesting and point towards the increasing need for superior quality car service centers. Car maintenance in Northern Virginia, for instance, offers the best servicing options for your car, be it major overhauling or minor repairs. With car maintenance service, you get quality services at cost-effective prices.
Car Maintenance: Expert Tips
Regular car maintenance service ensures that your car remains in top condition, giving you uninterrupted services. Here are some expert tips to ensure the smooth functioning of your car for a long time:
1.Always use good quality multi grade oil for your engine to protect it from early wear. It will ensure more mileage per liter and minimum exertion on the various moving parts.
2.Check the level of engine coolant in your car before leaving. This will prevent any problem resulting from engine overheating.
3.As a habit, check all the lights of your car including headlights, signal lights and parking lights. This will help you avoid accidents that may cause major problems.
4.Check the air level of your tires. Before going for a long trip in your car, ensure keeping a spare tire in the vehicle. A car running on good condition tires always gives better performance and more mileage.
5.Change the battery of the car, whenever you feel the need, to avoid damages. Also, check the functioning of the brake system to avoid accidents.
Besides following these tips, you must also seek a reputable car maintenance service  to ensure the top functioning of your car.
Article Source:

Star Tech European in Vacaville specializes in European Automotive service and repairs. The auto repair business doesn't have the best reputation, so we go the extra mile to build trust. That includes taking extra time to really explain what your car needs and why. Our goal is to give professional, friendly, honest service without the stress and hassle of going to the dealer. We will never sell you something you don't need.