diy

Brake Light Replacement Essentials

It is easy to fall in to the trap of thinking that replacing a faulty brake light is simply a minor detail and that it doesn’t warrant immediate attention and priority, but this just isn’t the case! Remember that it’s incredibly important to your safety that you replace your burnt-out brake lights as soon as you know it is an issue. Not only is it a safety hazard, it’s also illegal to drive without properly functioning brake lights. With that being said, here are some easy steps to replace your brake light on your own.

First, you will want to be sure that you have a replacement bulb as well as a proper screwdriver. The next step is determining the access point to the lens cover. You are looking for a set of screws that hold the lens cover in place. Most newer cars have the access point on the inside of the car which means you will likely need to open the trunk of the car and access the screws from inside the trunk. One pro tip is that some cars will have the access point hidden beneath the carpet that lines the trunk. Simply peel this back to gain access to the lens cover. Many older cars have the screws on the outside of the car, meaning it can be accessed from the exterior.

Next, you will want to remove the screws from the lens cover. From personal experience, we can tell you that it is very easy to lose these screws—and a pain to replace—so take precaution when fully removing them from the lens cover. Once the screws are out, the lens assembly is ready to be removed. We recommend using the tip of the screwdriver to pop the lens cover out. Once the cover is off, it is time to identify the brake light. In some cars, it can be very confusing to determine which is the brake light and which is the tail light. Simply hold the lens assembly up and see which bulb lines up with the bottom socket where your brake light goes. Twist and pull to remove the brake light socket. This will expose the bulb that is ready to be replaced. When removing the bulb, be sure to grip it lightly to ensure that it doesn’t shatter in your hands. Most bulbs can be pulled straight out, while some rare cases require twisting the bulb as your remove it.

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Once the bulb is removed, check the socket to be sure that there are no visible burn marks. If there are burn marks in place, it may mean that there is a more serious problem than simply a burnt-out bulb. If there are no burn marks in place, insert the new bulb until it fits snugly in place. You will then twist the socket back in place and place the lens assembly back where it originally rested. At this point you will want to test the bulb before fastening the cover back. Have a friend help you monitor whether or not it’s working. If no one else is available, one life hack is to set your phone to record for a few seconds while focused on the brake light. Play the recording back to see if your applic ation of the brake yielded any results. Once the bulb is working, use your screwdriver to reinstall those pesky screws.

Congratulations on changing your own brake light!

Top Reasons for Squeaky Brakes

Brakes are such a crucial part of the car, having them squeak can be both annoying and worrying. This is especially true if the squeaking continues for a long time or gets worse and worse. With that being said, noisy brakes are common and can often easily be dealt with by any auto mechanics shop.

 

Most automobile brakes today are disc brakes. This is where a pad presses against a disc (also known as the rotor) in order to stop the car. Some cars utilize an older type of brakes known as drum brakes. Sometimes, even on modern cars, the rear wheels will use drum brakes due to cost consideration. This type of brake uses a curved part called a “shoe” to press against a hollow drum, which then stops the car.

Morning squeaks

Often brakes will squeak after sitting all night. This is typically because of moisture from rain, dew or condensation that accumulated on the surface of the rotors. A thin layer of rust builds up on the surface of rotors. As the rotors turn the pads scrape off this rust. These fine particles can get trapped in the leading edge of the pad and can cause a squeaks.

Thinning Brake Pads

All pads have a built in wear indication. As the pads are used, they become worn, eventually thinning to the point of where the wear indicator becomes audible. This is a very common source of squeaks but it is not a failure, it is simply an indication that it is time to have the brakes serviced and pads replaced. These wear indicators are just small metal tabs made of steel which hit the rotor when pads are too thin, generating the noise.

 

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High Metal Content

Certain low end pads can be manufactured with a high metal content. There may be large chunks of metal embedded into the pads. These pieces will drag on the rotor and cause a high pitched brake squeak. Ideally brake pads with a higher content of non metal materials should be used. This will minimize the squeaks.

Drum Brakes Need Lubrication

If squeaking is heard from the drum brakes, it is an indication that they need to be lubricated. Shoe to backing plate contact points have lost most of their lubrication and thus need to be serviced.

Scraping From Plate

If squeaking is heard during regular driving, it may be an indication of scrapping from a plate due to damage. The typical cause of this is due to a rock hitting the underside of the car.

Brakes are one of the most important functionality of a car. It's important to know when they need to be serviced, replaced, or repaired. Have your trusted car care professional check them out if you ever have any doubt.

Check out our other blogs for the latest car care tips and tricks. 

Oil Changing Essentials

Changing your car’s oil is one of the most basic and critically important car maintenance activities. At its core, changing oil in a car consists of removing the old, spent oil from the car’s engine and replacing it with a new oil. It is typical to replace the car’s oil filter at the same time.

 

When?

With time and as the car’s engine operates, oil breaks down and wears out. It loses its viscosity and becomes much less capable of lubricating all of the engine’s moving parts. Furthermore, oil loses its ability to absorb and dissipate heat as it ages. This can all lead to engine parts being less protected and eventually to a break down. The goal of very vehicle owner is to replace the engine oil, before this costly break down occurs.

How?

How often should oil be changed? This depends on numerous factors: make of the car, the way the car is driven, the age of the car and even your geographical location. A typical rule of thumb, recommended by most mechanics, is to replace your oil every 3000 miles. This may be slightly too aggressive. Most newer automobile manufacturers recommend longer intervals, for example, 5000 miles. Using special synthetic oil will allow you to extend this interval up to 10000 miles.

 

Where?

Engine oil can be replaced at almost any auto mechanic garage, anything from a large car manufacturer’s dealership to a small family run shop. It depends on a person preference convenience and budget. One recommendation that should be made is that oil change be done a reputable location, especially if the vehicle is still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. Always have your oil changed by a trusted professional. And yes, changing oil at a registered car mechanics business will not void the warranty, despite a common myth it is not necessary to take the car back to the original dealer who sold it. There is always an option to do it yourself. Changing oil is not a complicated maintenance process and it is an easy project for anyone to do at home.

How?

Replacing the engine oil includes the following steps:

  • Buy new oil filter and sufficient quantity of new oil

  • Warm up your car

  • Park the care on a flat surface

  • Open hood, removed oil filler cap

  • Remove oil plug (under the car, see owner’s manual for details)

  • Drain the old oil into a collection pen

  • Remove old oil filter (see owner’s manual for location)

  • Install new oil filter

  • Reinstall the oil plug

  • Refill the engine with new oil

8 Ways to Protect Your Car's Exterior in the Summer

We often think that winter would be the hardest time for our cars and take extra precautions to protects our beloved cars. However, we forget that summer takes its toll as well.  Since it's right around the corner, here are 8 steps to protects your car's exterior in the summer:

 

1.  Tint your windows

If you tend to leave your car parked outside during the summer under direct sunlight, try investing in getting your windows and windscreen tinted. This helps protect the inside of your car from the sun's ray. It also helps protects yourself when you are driving under the sunlight.

 

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2. Find shade

There's only one real way to protect your car from any sun ray damage which is by parking it under a physical barrier because this blocks 100% of UV rays from damaging your car. Sun protectors are useful and affordable, so it might be best to invest in some as they can be easily folded up and put neatly in the trunk when not in use.

3. Wax

The Sunscreen For Cars Wax is the ultimate protection when it comes to cars. Choose a brand that you feel is suitable according to your time and cast investment. Although most wax usually last for only up to 2 months, the good news is that it's really easy to reapply another new coating of wax to the take on the brunt of the sunlight. One thing to take note is that price does not equal protection. Just because you spend more on a coating that claims to last for years doesn't mean that it gives you more protection from the sun compared to other products on the market.

4. Keep it clean!

Always wash your vehicle regularly! I usually wash my car at least once every week to ensure that all the stuck-on road grime is removed. For examples, bird droppings can permanently damage not only the paint but also the clear coat that you've applied.

5. Don't forget the small things

Use plastic polish to prevent hazing or cracked plastics keeping those parts fresh like you just bought it. Rubber protectants help prevent important rubber parts from going brittle. There are also sunlight shielding films which can be used to protect your headlights as they even come with spray-on versions making is easier to apply.

6. Test & clean battery frequently

The heat has been known to drain your car's batteries quite quickly and shortens the lifespans of them. Frequent testing and cleaning will help prevent yourself from getting stranded somewhere in the middle of the highway.

7. Check tire pressure

Hot pavements and under-inflated tires make a deadly combination during the summer which may lead to a burst tire while driving. Always remember to check it frequently to ensure that the pressure is optimum.

 

8. Wipe dashboard with microfiber cloth

Dust and dirt are usually the main cause of tiny scratches that become worse over time. Wipe the dashboard frequently to clean all particles. A low-gloss detailing product is more than enough to protect and reduce glare.

For more car tips and hacks, be sure to check out our other blogs here

5 Tips to Keep Your Car Battery Running Longer

Most of us have been there. You're ready to go, put the keys in the ignition, try to start the car, and there's nothing but dead silence. Then, you're often left with no other option besides paying for a new battery or roadside assistance. HERO has put together a few ways to get the most out of your vehicle's battery.

1. Keep the battery charged

This seems like a no brainer, right? Many fail to think about how a car battery gets charged. It charges while the car is running. It's best to drive your car regularly. If you have a car that you don't drive often or only use it for short trips, it might be best to get a charger.

2. Turn off lights

This doesn't apply to just head and tail lights. Make sure you're shutting off interior lights. Forgetting to do so is an easy way to drain the battery. Also, be sure to not leave any electronics charging in your car because this will use the car's battery even if it isn't on.

3. Keep the battery's connection clean

Corrosion is a very common problem that could interfere with the battery's ability to charge. It's best to check the battery and connection. If it needs cleaning, you can use a mixture of baking soda and water to give the terminal a good scrub. Use one part water to three parts baking soda. Clean as needed or every few months.

4. Determine the problem before replacing or charging the battery

It's important to identify the problem before dropping (potentially) hundreds of dollars replacing a battery that could easily be repaired or recharged. We already covered the common problems that cause a dead battery. It's most likely leaving lights on, not driving the car often, or maybe even the temperature. Car professionals say car batteries can lose over 30% of their charge when temperature decreases drastically. 

5. Find the right, trusted car care professional

Regular maintenance is important when it comes to cars. A good vehicle professional will be able to identify problems such as battery failure as well as more complex problems. Going with someone you trust and who knows what they're doing can save you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on car repairs and maintenance. Identifying the problem and being proactive goes a long way in regards to your car. Visit www.herocarcare.com to download our app and receive on demand car care!