Apr 12

Do It Yourself Air Filter Service

Do It Yourself Air Filter Service

Regular air filter service is easy and important.

First, check the air filter service indicator if you have one. You’ll definitely find one of these if you have a diesel air intake. 

Also, knowing the location of the master airflow sensor on your car is a great thing to know-this will let you perform periodic do-it-yourself mass airflow sensor cleaning. This will save you a few bucks, not to mention a mass airflow sensor failure.

Without cold and fresh air intake, engine performance and mileage will suffer. Vehicles used for severe duty may require more frequent air filter service. Increasing fuel economy may be an air filter swap away.

Switching to washable air filters can save you money while installing a cold air intake system on your car will definitively increase engine performance. 

How Does A Cold Air Intake Work? And Why You Should Check Your Air Filters Every Six Months.

Motor engines act as air pumps. Chemically correct air fuel ratios are set to make power. More air, more fuel, more power. Your air filter is what keeps the intake air clean. Without it your engine would suck in more dirt and contaminate your engine combustion chambers.

Over time, dirt clogs the air filter, and your engine can’t breathe. Sluggish performance and poor fuel economy can be the result of a dirty air filter. Dirty air equals a dirty engine. 

How To Change Your Air Filter, Do-It-Yourself & Save

  1. Every cold air intake system is slightly different. Don’t attempt to force off tubes or air boxes. Check to see if all fasteners are removed first.
  2. Parts should come apart easily. Locate the cold air intake system on your engine. Unfasten all clamps, clips, fasteners, hold-downs and hoses. Consult your owner’s manual.
  3. Carefully remove air box cover and air filter.
  4. Air box cleaning is the key. Make sure it is free of dirt and debris.
  5. Fit new air filter in the air box or clean it if it is a washable air filter, and reinstall any fasteners and hoses previously removed.

Apr 11

Do it Yourself Brake Job

Do it Yourself Brake Job

With the ever-rising cost of auto repairs, it’s harder to keep older vehicles in proper operating condition. Brake pad/rotor replacement is big profit for most shops, as the brake pads/rotors are typically low cost. A garage/dealer are paying the mechanic one hour labor (which runs about $20-$30) that means the true overhead for a brake job runs about $30.00.

Shops are charging for cars (trucks are more) upwards of $139.95 for pad replacement (semi-metallic) to $189.95 (ceramic) per axle for a brake job not including resurfacing rotors. This makes a hefty $109.95 to $159.95 for the shop with minimal time spent, and a good technician can complete 4 to 6 brake jobs per shift. One thing shop owners do not want their customers to know is that changing brake pads is typically easier than doing a basic oil change. Here I will outline a basic brake pad replacement. Remember, some vehicles vary, this is only an outline.

Tools Required

  • Floor jack or car lift
  • Jack stands
  • Ratchet
  • Socket set
  • 8-inch C-clamp or caliper clamp
  • Turkey baster (to remove brake fluid from the master cylinder)
  • Small container for used brake fluid (less than 1-quart)
  • Torque wrench
  • Bungee strap or coat hanger (to hold the detached caliper)
  • Flat head screwdriver

Parts Required

  • Brake Pads
  • Ceramic recommended
  • Synthetic grease
  • Anti squeal paste
  • Hardware kit

Emptying the master cylinder:

Open the hood and siphon out about half of the brake fluid with a turkey baster, place this fluid in the small container for reuse or disposal. (Note: if you don’t do this you may have the master cylinder overflow when you compress the caliper piston/s to gain space for the new brake pads)

Getting to the brakes:

  1. Loosen the lug nuts from the front wheels.
  2. Jack up the front of the vehicle and be sure you are acking on a secure part of the vehicle, like the sub-frame.
  3. Place the jack stands under a secure part of the vehicle and lower the car on to the stands.
  4. Remove the lug nuts and remove the wheels.
  5. Always place the lug nuts in a secure location, away from your work area. It is always frustrating to accidentally kick them and loose a few.

Caliper and brake pad removal:

  1. Loosen the two caliper bolts on the rear of the brake caliper (A).
  2. Remove the caliper from the caliper bracket. At this point one of two things will happen: the brake pads will remain attached to the caliper or the pads will remain attached to the brake caliper bracket.
  3. Support the caliper by a bungee strap or coat hanger from the spring inside the wheel well, do not allow it to hang by its hose as it will cause damage to the hose.
  4. If the pads are still on the caliper, pry them off using a flat head screwdriver and don’t damage the rubber covering the caliper piston. Remember how they are positioned, as they must be replaced in the same fashion. Remove the old hardware–small metal shims–from the caliper bracket.

Rotor Removal:

  1. If you would like to replace or have the rotor resurfaced, remove the brake caliper bracket bolts, on the rear of the caliper bracket.
  2. Remove the caliper bracket.
  3. Remove the rotor retaining screw or clips.
  4. Remove the rotor by pulling the rotor towards you.

 Making room for the new pads:

  1. Place the C-clamp over the caliper, positioning the screw of the clamp on the caliper piston. (Use the old pad as a surface to push the piston in and this will ensure the piston goes in straight.)
  2. Tighten the C-clamp to press the piston into the caliper. This creates the space needed for new pads. Some cars have this type of brake piston which requires this type of tool

Installing the new or resurfaced rotor:


  1. Install a new or resurfaced rotor on the hub.
  2. Install the new rotor retaining screw or clips.
  3. Install the caliper bracket.


  1. Torque bolts to manufacturer specifications. The specifications are available in your repair guide or online.

New pads and hardware:

  1. Place any new hardware in its place, exactly as it was prior to removal.
  2. Apply anti squeal paste on the rear sides of the brake pads to eliminate noise.
  3. Install the new pads in the caliper, or in the caliper bracket, in the same fashion they were before removal.
  4. Clean the caliper slider bolts and apply a thin coat of synthetic disc brake grease on their surface to ensure motion of caliper during its future use.



  1. Install the caliper in the caliper bracket and tighten the bolts to manufacturer’s specifications, using a torque wrench. The specifications are found in a repair manual.
  2. Repeat steps for the other side of the vehicle.
  3. Place the wheels back on the vehicle and hand-tighten the nuts until they are snug. (Torque to specs after lowering vehicle.)

Lowering the vehicle and torque the wheel nuts:

  1. Raise the jack, remove the stands, and then lower the vehicle to the ground.
  2. Torque the lug nuts to manufacturer’s specification, with a torque wrench. This prevents the brake rotor from warping.
  3. The torque specs for your vehicle can be found online or in a repair manual. Most passenger cars are between 75 and 100 foot-pounds.

Verifying brake fluid level and preparing for test drive:

  1. Check the brake fluid level and add some if needed. The level should be between the “Max” and “Min” lines. Pump the brake pedal until it feels hard. This extends the caliper piston back out. Re-check the level and add if necessary.

So, the Million Dollar question is “How much did this save me?”

Based on a common car a “2001 Chevy Cavalier”.


FRONT BRAKES 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier Base 4 Cyl 2.2L








1.4 hr






1.4 hr






1.8 hr





Please Note: Taxes have not been added.


  1. Let’s say you own a vehicle for 10 years.
  2. Brake service is needed every 2 years.
  3. Dealer costs you $430 with labour times 5 equals $2150 over 10 yrs.
  4. A private shop costs you $332 with labour times 5 equals $1660 over 10 yrs.
  5. To DIY costs you $227 in parts with NO labour times 5 equals $1135 saved over 10 yrs.


Therefore, without inflation, you could be saving upwards of $1,015 over the life of your vehicle for just front brake jobs. Combine that with other maintenance savings by doing it yourself, you will  save money.

Doing the brake pads/rotors on your own vehicle it’s easy when you know how. “Because Knowledge is Power”

Apr 11

The Do It Yourself Competitive advantage…

What factors give Motorheads DIY Garage a competitive advantage?

Motorheads DIY Garage is a one-of-a-kind solution model that provides a state-of-the-art facility to ‘Do It Yourself’ members interested in performing their own light duty maintenance, inspections and repairs. Licensed supervision and support enhance the safety factor while membership fees translate to dramatically discounted hourly repair costs. Affiliation with driving schools, car clubs and a wide variety of provider partners creates a far-reaching support network.

Why does this matter? Because car care awareness is everyone’s responsibility!

According to the CAA, regular maintenance affects the life of your vehicle, your fuel economy and your safety. For those who don’t keep a record of annual maintenance costs, CAA suggests estimating an average of 4.24 cents per km for a compact car and 4.35 cents for a mini-van.[1]

For the average vehicle owner driving 20,000 to 30,000 kilometers a year, this translates to $850 on the low end and $1300 on the high end of the scale. The question is: how much of this money is spent on labour – on paying others to perform light maintenance tasks you could do yourself?

According to Edmunds.com[2], basic maintenance labour costs can exceed the cost of parts by more than 2:1:

  • 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt – Parts $  60.30; Labour $241.42 – Ratio 4.0:1
  • 2007 Toyota Corolla     – Parts $  37.45; Labour $134.19  – Ratio 3.6:1
  • 2007 Honda Civic          – Parts $  64.79; Labour $146.48 – Ratio 2.3:1
  • 2007 Ford Escape        – Parts $199.26; Labour $410. 86 – Ratio 2.0:1

The good news is this: By eliminating costly ‘by-the-visit’ and ‘by-the-book’ charges for service bays, supervision and tools, Motorheads D.I.Y. Garage memberships can cut annual vehicle maintenance costs by more than half!

[1] http://www.ama.ab.ca/images/images_pdf/2007-04-27DrivingCostsBrochure2007.pdf

[2] www.edmunds.com

Because Knowledge is Power! It’s easy once you know how.

Apr 11

Do It Yourself Timing Belt Replacement


Do It Yourself Timing Belt Replacement

Your six-year-old econobox is starting to show a bit of wear and tear, but everything mechanical still works fine. Until it doesn’t. Specifically, the engine suddenly goes dead silent one fine day. Your mechanic says your timing belt failed, then he chuckles into his shirt pocket. Now he gets to charge you for the tow, the belt replacement and a valve job, because there’s no compression on two cylinders. You’re one of the unfortunates with an “interference engine” — an engine that can leave one or more valves still propped open far enough to contact a piston when the belt parts. Sadly, sales brochures don’t list whether an engine might suffer catastrophic damage if the belt goes.

You probably could have avoided this particular bit of unpleasantness with timely maintenance. It’s best to replace the timing belt according to your carmaker’s recommended schedule. For the record, many engines — like those in more expensive models — still use timing chains, rather than belts, like they did back in the day before the popularity of overhead camshafts. Unlike belts, timing chains usually don’t have a routine replacement interval.

The timing belt (or chain) is the sole component that keeps the camshaft (make that camshafts on a DOHC or V-type OHC engine) and crankshaft in sync. So replacing this cogged reinforced-rubber belt at regular intervals — generally every 60,000 miles/96,000km unless the car manufacturer specifies longer — is a lot less expensive and aggravating than having it break first. For your car’s maintenance schedule, consult the owner’s manual, alldata.com, or the belt manufacturer’s poster hanging on the wall at your favorite parts store.

Slow but Steady

Though you’ll spend only a few minutes replacing the timing belt itself, it can take an hour or more to dig down through the spaghetti of hoses, wiring and covers found in a modern engine bay. We even had to disconnect and cap a pair of fuel lines when we did the job on this VW 2.0-liter Four.

Study the procedure before digging in, either in a service manual or on the Web. On most transverse four-cylinder engines, you’ll have to remove the passenger-side motor mount in order to gain access to the timing belt. This means the entire powertrain needs to be supported in that area while you’re working. And finally, getting to the lower portion of multipiece timing belt covers usually requires underbody access. A fender cover doesn’t hurt either, to protect the paint from your belt buckle and dropped tools.

{excerpt from http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/maintenance/4212995 }

Apr 10

Young Drivers Influence the Market

Young Drivers Influence the Market…

There’s a new generation of automotive do-it-yourselfers on the way as young car owners focus on learning car care skills or tackle projects themselves.

Nearly 20% of car owners 18 to 25 are paying more attention to their car’s maintenance than two years ago. About one-third (34%) of those are doing their car maintenance themselves or with a friend or family member. Nine per cent of these young drivers have just taken over the maintenance after having it professionally done previously.

Of the maintenance projects done by car owners ages 18 to 25, the most popular include:

  • 37% doing small maintenance tasks like oil changes and light bulb replacement
  • 31% focused on appearance projects to keep it looking new
  • 22% tackling tune-ups or using performance additives
  • 1% doing body repairs to fix scratches or dents

The biggest challenges facing the 18 to 25 car owners are:

  • Keeping it running without having to make or pay for repairs (21%)
  • Getting better fuel mileage (19%)
  • Keeping it looking good (16%)
  • Learning how to do maintenance projects themselves (11%)

Some young drivers have changed their driving habits in the past two years:

  • 38% driving less to save on gas costs and car wear
  • 21% driving less aggressively, and
  • 14% driving more cautiously to avoid accidents

When the economy improves, young drivers say:

  • They would trade their current car for a new one (17%)
  • They would update their car’s performance components or audio electronics (9%)

Apr 09

Do It Yourself muffler system maintenance

Do It Yourself muffler system maintenance

Mufflers are one of the most replaced components for a simple reason: They rust. This is especially true for Canadians who spend the winter driving on salted roads because salt will speed up corrosion.

Even if your muffler is rust free, you may want to replace it with a high-performance model that will make your baby really sing.

Motorheads DIY Garage is here to help you get the job done. Remember, if you have any questions or if you’re unsure of anything, feel free to ask Motorheads DIY Garage onsite mechanics. They’re always ready to help, whatever the job is.


Do It Yourself is the way to go! Because Knowledge is Power!


Make Safety Your Top Priority


Every vehicle is different. When it comes to maintenance and repairs, always follow the Owner’s or Shop Manual.

Safety should be your number one priority. Don’t smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, or wear a necktie while working on the vehicle. Beware of hot objects, sharp instruments, hazardous materials and other potential safety hazards in and around your workspace. Substituting tools can compromise your safety and/or your vehicle’s performance. Finally, when the fun turns to frustration, or the job requires specialized knowledge beyond your capabilities, talk to a Motorheads DIY Garage professional mechanic. The last thing we want is someone getting hurt.

Mar 11

Do It Yourself Maintenance and Repair…

Do It Yourself Maintenance and Repair…

Vehicle maintenance is more of a priority than ever before, particularly as the average age of North American vehicles reaches nine years.

The biggest challenge one-third (30%) of car owners face with their current vehicle is keeping it running without having to make or pay for lots of repairs.


  • For 22% of car owners, getting better fuel mileage is a priority, while keeping it looking good is tops for 11%
  • One-quarter (25%) said they pay more attention to the maintenance needs of their car now, compared to two years ago
  • Nearly 30 percent (27%) are doing their own car maintenance or having friends or family members do it

Some 6% of these respondents have just started doing their car maintenance themselves after having it done professionally in the past. This number increases to 9% for car owners ages 18 to 25.

  • Nearly 30% (29%) of car owners are doing small maintenance tasks like oil changes and light bulb replacements. This is even higher for owners ages 18 to 34 with 43% of men and 37% of women tackling these tasks. It also is higher (43%) for households making less than $35,000 annually
  • More than one-quarter (26%) of car owners are taking better care to keep their cars looking new. For unemployed car owners, this increased to nearly 30% (28%)
  • Some 15% of car owners – 30% of men and 21% of women ages 18 to 34 — are doing tune-ups themselves or using performance additives to keep their engines in good condition. This also is a popular task among households with incomes of less than $35,000 annually (21%) and those making $35,000 to $49,999 (22%)
  • Additionally, approximately 5% of car owners are doing body repairs like fixing scratches or repairing dings and dents.

Mar 11

Drive Axles (CV constant velocity)

Drive Axles (CV constant velocity)



Imagine your surprise, from an annoying clicking to an all out panic stop in traffic.



That clicking noise that your front-wheel-drive car makes as you accelerate around low-speed righthand corners has been getting a little louder for weeks. One afternoon, just as you pull out of the parking lot, there’s a loud banging noise and a series of crunches. Then all forward thrust drops off, punctuated by vibration and the occasional ping of tortured metal. Your CV joint has failed.


The wheels of your front-drive vehicle are connected to the transaxle via axles that have constant-velocity-type universal joints at each end. There is an inner and outer joint on the left and right axles. All else being equal, the outer joints fail first because they run with the highest angularity–when the wheel is turned, the joint has to redirect the torque from the engine around a corner. The more angle, the more strain. And it’s usually the right side that goes first because here in the lefthand-drive US of A, we turn sharper around righthand corners than lefthand ones. Sometimes the rubber boots covering the joints fail from age or are torn by road debris, letting the grease out and dirt and water in. As recently as 10 years ago, the repair meant removing the pertinent axle and taking out the failed CV. You’d then replace it and the boot, lubricate the new and old joint with fresh grease, reinstall and go.



Nowadays it’s difficult to find a CV joint for sale at a parts store. The industry has made it standard procedure to swap in a complete new or remanufactured axle, with the boots installed and prelubricated. No mess, no fuss–which is good because the molysulfide-doped grease specified for CV joints is the blackest, nastiest, most thixotropic (you know, sticky) goop you can imagine, and it will stain your cuticles, your tools and your work clothes worse than printer’s ink. You’d never get the stuff out of the washing machine.

You can save some money by buying a remanufactured axle, which will be virtually as good as new. The refurbishing process involves regrinding all the grooves in the inner and outer halves of the joint to a standard oversize, and replacing the cage and ball bearings with new oversize ones.

{excerpt from http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/maintenance/1715877 }

Mar 10

What you should know about the Auto Repair Business.

What you should know about the Auto Repair Business

Not all auto repair business people are bad!

The link below takes you to an E-book with information that focuses on some of the negatives, but this is for the benefit of the automotive consumer. There are many trustworthy and reliable shops in the car repair service business. As a vehicle owner, it’s your challenge to find them.

Because Knowledge is Power!

Click Here for: Mechanics Secrets

Mar 10

Women Take a Hands-On Approach

Women Take a Hands-On Approach…

Female car owners are just as focused on maintaining their cars as assets and keeping them in good repair as their male counterparts. Nearly half (49%) of female car-owners depend on their cars for transportation to work or to help them find a job; one third (36%) say their car is one of their biggest investments; some 32% are taking better care of their cars now because they can’t afford a new one; one quarter (25%) are paying more attention to car maintenance than two years ago. Nearly one-third (29%) are doing their car maintenance themselves or with a friend or family member and roughly 7% have just taken over the maintenance after having it done professionally in previous years.

Of the maintenance projects done by female car owners with their friends or family, the most popular include:

  • 26% doing small maintenance tasks like oil changes and light bulb replacement
  • 26% focused on detailing projects to keep it looking new
  • 14% tackling tune-ups or using performance additives
  • 4% doing body repairs to fix scratches or dents

The biggest challenges female car owners face are:

  • Keeping it running without having to make or pay for repairs (31%)
  • Getting better fuel mileage (24%)
  • Keeping it looking good (9%)
  • Learning how to do maintenance projects themselves (6%)

With regard to car use:

  • 57% of female drivers are driving differently than they did two years ago
  • 43% are focused on driving less to save on gas costs and reduce car wear
  • 20% are driving less aggressively to prevent engine wear, and
  • 20% are driving more cautiously to avoid accidents and body damage

Even when the economy improves, women are committed to this new way of doing things:

  • 12% have said they would trade their current car for a new one
  • 12% would make the repairs they’ve been postponing due to the economy
  • 7% would have professional engine service, and
  • 9% would opt for detailing

Because Knowledge is Power!

Older posts «

» Newer posts