How to Clean Your Car Engine

491804994Cleaning your engine is just as important as cleaning the rest of your car, and contrary to what you might think, you don’t need to be a mechanic to do it yourself! Skip a trip to the mechanic and clean your own car engine with these 12 easy steps.

  1. Move Your Car

Cleaning your car engine can be a messy business and you don’t want all of that sludge entering municipal storm drains. Relocate your car to a spot that will prevent this from happening. Your local car wash is a good option, as it will have an industrial drain designed to handle heavy oils and other engine sludge.

  1. Protect Electrical Components

Before beginning the cleaning process, protect the electrical components of your engine by covering them with plastic bags or plastic wrap. You don’t want water to infiltrate these components as it can severely inhibit their performance.

  1. Protect Air Intake and Carburetor

If you have an older car, you will want to cover the air intake and carburetor components of your engine with a heavy plastic tarp or aluminum foil. It is a good idea to tape this wrap in place to prevent water infiltration.

  1. Remove Debris

Using a toothbrush or small stiff-bristle brush, remove loose dirt and debris from all engine surfaces.

  1. Mix Cleaning Solution

Mix approximately two cups of liquid dish detergent with one gallon of water. You want this cleaning solution to cut the grease on your engine, so make sure you use a strong detergent.

  1. Jack it up

In order to effectively clean all of your engine elements, you will need to access the undercarriage of your car. Jack your car up, making sure that it is well supported.

  1. Clean the Engine

Clean every aspect of the engine using your cleaning brush and solution, scrubbing thoroughly. You will want to clean the underside of the engine first to avoid getting dripped on.

  1. Rinse Thoroughly

Now it’s time to rinse your engine thoroughly. Using a garden hose can be quite effective.

  1. Consult Your Manual

You may need special cleaning materials to clean the engine block and other metal parts of your engine. Heavy grease may also require extra-strength solutions, such as mineral spirits, Simple Green® or engine de-greaser. Make sure to consult your owner’s manual before using these materials.

  1. Rinse Engine

After cleaning the metal components of your engine, you will want to rinse them thoroughly. Once they are rinsed, remove the protective plastic wrap.

  1. Remove Wraps

Remove and dispose of all protective wrapping material.

  1. Rev that Engine

Start your engine to dry any remaining moisture and listen to the purr of a clean machine!

Next time you think about visiting your mechanic, consider priming your own engine with these simple steps! Follow us for all of your heavy equipment and construction needs.

How to get Gasoline Smell out of Your Clothes

503490164Spilling gasoline on your clothes can seem like a disaster because gasoline not only stains it also reeks! But don’t give up on your gasoline-soaked clothing—with a few simple steps, you can remove the stain and the smell. Before throwing your clothing in the trash, try the following.

First of all, you’ll want to air the clothes out to dissipate some of the odor. For best results, air out your clothes for 12-24 hours. If you don’t have time to air the clothing out, you can soak it in distilled white vinegar—the smell should dissipate after about an hour of soaking.

Now you are ready to start cleaning!

Step #1: Blot

Remove excess gasoline from your clothes by blotting with a clean cloth.

Step #2: Sprinkle

Baking soda will absorb some of the gasoline from your clothes. Sprinkle baking soda over the gasoline-stained area and let sit for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the intensity of the stain. You may need to repeat this process a few times for best results.

Step #3: Wash

Before washing your clothing, you’ll want to spot-clean the gasoline stains using a solvent-based pre-treatment stain remover or grease-fighting liquid dishwashing detergent. In addition, you can also pour baby oil onto the gasoline-stained area. Allow to soak for at least five minutes.

At this point, you can either hand-wash or machine-wash your clothing. If you choose to hand-wash the clothing, you’ll want to soak it in the hottest water possible for at least 30 minutes. If you opt for machine washing, add two cups of vinegar or one cup of baking soda to your detergent. Wash your clothes on the hot water cycle. Do not bleach your clothing as this can create dangerous and noxious fumes. If your clothing still smells when the wash cycle is complete, wash it again, adding an all-purpose, orange-scented cleaner to your detergent.

If you notice any lingering gasoline smells in your washing machine, run an empty load with one cup of vinegar or ammonia to eliminate the odor.

Step #4: Dry

It is vitally important that you hang dry your clothing and avoid using the dryer. Any gasoline that remains on your clothing can cause severe hazards when exposed to the heat of a dryer.

You may need to repeat this cleaning process a few times, but unless your clothing has been completely doused in gasoline, you’ll be able to restore your clothing to its original look and smell!

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Identifying Foundation Problems in Your Home

488726043With a solid foundation a house can stand firm and strong for decades. But if foundation strength is compromised nothing is guaranteed.

How can you tell if your home’s foundation is cracking, crumbling, chipping, sliding, fracturing, buckling, heaving or warping to the point where collapse is possible? There are some clear signs to watch out for, and you don’t need any construction experience to detect them.

Foundation Failure Warning Signs

Indoors

  1. Doors stick or become hard to close, as if their shape has been deformed.
  2. Windows get stuck or cannot be closed all the way.
  3. Cracks can be seen in ceramic or vinyl tiles laid over concrete floors.
  4. Cracks appear on interior walls, concentrated in corners or over doorways or windows.

It is normal for a house to settle, and a random interior crack here or there is not a big deal. But when a foundation starts to deform it can push and pull on the structure above it until it causes significant damage.

Exterior Foundation Walls

  1. When measured with a level the foundation wall is found to be tilting, either crosswise or lengthwise.
  2. Bulges or curves are visible at certain spots along the wall, indicating a stress response to uneven pressure.
  3. Small pieces of the foundation wall are starting to chip away, and if you probe the wall with a screwdriver or awl you can chip it away even further.

Problems one and two mean the foundation wall is being affected by soil expansion and/or contraction. This can be caused by excessive moisture in the soil or by the freezing and unthawing of the ground in winter and spring. Problem number three may indicate poor-quality concrete was used to pour the foundation (this was common many decades ago). If that is the case your foundation may have to be replaced and quickly.

Structural Supports

  1. Wooden posts used in the basement to brace overhead structural beams are no longer standing straight, or show signs of sliding on their concrete support piers.

If the foundation moves everything above it will move—and everything above it is just as vulnerable to damage as the foundation itself.

A Note about Exterior Cracks

Some cracking in the exterior foundation wall is normal. But if long, horizontal cracks are appearing or zigzag-shaped cracks are running along masonry joints it means excessive pressure is causing foundation wall deformation.

Spend a Little Now or a Lot Later—The Choice is Yours

It will cost you from $500—$700 to have a structural engineer assess your foundation for damage and offer recommendations for repair.

But it can cost you $40,000 or more to replace the foundation if it fails completely. If you spot the early warning signs of foundation failure you can save yourself a ton of money by repairing the damage now, before it is too late.

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Mechanic’s Best Friend: The Torque Wrench

156891476There are many tools that are essential to a mechanic’s toolbox, but perhaps none as vital as the torque wrench. Torque wrenches are unique because they give you the ability to tighten a nut or bolt by measuring the torque of that nut or bolt, ensuring that you achieve optimum tightness and security.

Torque wrenches come in myriad varieties and you want to make sure that you use the right type of wrench for your specific application.

Beam Torque Wrench

The beam torque wrench is the most basic variety of torque wrench. This wrench has a calibrated scale on its handle that displays the desired torque for the nut or bolt you are working on.

There are many variations of the beam wrench, one of which is the deflecting beam torque wrench. This dual-signal wrench provides enhanced accuracy and consistency, producing both visible and audible signals when you reach the desired torque.

Electronic Torque Wrench

An electronic torque wrench measures torque with a strain gauge that is attached to its torsion rod. This gauge features a digital display that indicates when you have reached your specific torque. The limit values and measurement details can be stored on this wrench and also transferred to a computer, enabling you to easily document the quality and precision of your work.

There is also a programmable electronic torque angle wrench, which measures torque much like the basic electronic torque wrench but features an angle sensor or electronic gyroscope that measures the tightening angle threshold. This wrench enables you to measure breakaway torque, prevail torque and final torque.

No-Impact Torque Wrench

Powered by compressed air, hydraulic power or electricity, this wrench delivers high torque. However, because of this high level of power, controlling the output torque can be difficult when using this wrench.

Slipper-Type Torque Wrench

Featuring anti-slip technology, this wrench eliminates the change of over-tightening and is ideal for applications, such as manufacturing, in which repeatable accuracy is vital. This wrench ensures optimum tightness by eliminating operator error.

Hydraulic Torque Wrench

Using hydraulics to exert torque, this wrench applies a controlled, predetermined amount of torque. This wrench is unique because it is self-ratcheting, making it ideal for use with larger bolts.

Click-Type Torque Wrench

This wrench provides enhanced tightening precision, presetting the torque using a calibrated clutch mechanism. It is available in a variety of types for different applications.

Mechatronic Torque Wrenches

This wrench operates much like the click-type torque wrench, but uses a combination of mechanical and electronic measurements. This wrench also has the capability to transfer measurements through a wireless network.

There are many varieties of torque wrenches that can help you achieve optimum tightness for your specific application. Before you start your next project, consider investing in a torque wrench—it could become your best friend.

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Tips For Proper Car Maintenance

486898688Protecting your investment in your car is easy if you provide the necessary preventive maintenance. Simple things such as taking care of the tires, changing the oil and replacing other vital fluids can ensure your warranty stays in effect and save you on expensive and unnecessary repairs. Follow these car maintenance tips and you will be doing what you can to extend the life of your vehicle.

Caring for your tires is one of the most important things you can do. Maintaining the proper air pressure is crucial for safety and saves you money because your car will get better gas mileage. Keep an air pressure gauge in your glove compartment and check the pressure at least once per month. If it makes it easier for you to remember to do this task, check the pressure every time you fill your car up with gas. When the tread shows excessive wear, replace your tires immediately. A blowout at any speed can cause a serious accident. Check your owner’s manual and have your tires balanced and rotated according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Check the oil level periodically. Some newer vehicles have replaced the traditional dipstick with an electronic gauge. Having the oil changed according to the manufacturer’s specifications can save you a lot of money on unnecessary repairs. Oil that is murky or muddy after a recent change is a sure sign that the engine is not running properly and you should have a qualified mechanic look at it.

Learn how to check the power steering fluid, antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid levels. Sometimes you can see the level by visually inspecting the tank. Some cars have dipsticks with notches that allow you to see the proper level. Others have gauges that monitor fluid levels.

Other simple tasks you can take care of without the help of a professional include cleaning the battery contacts, replacing worn windshield wipers, replacing the cabin air filter and replacing the air filter in the engine.

Most of these car maintenance tasks take just a few minutes to complete. Learning to do them can save you money, decrease the risk of a breakdown, and protect your investment.

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Homeowner’s Quick Guide To Inspecting Foundations

476359354A home’s foundation could be damaged due to a number of reasons. All homeowners thus need to recognize the importance of conducting regular inspections around their houses in order to examine their states. When it comes to home foundation inspections, one may find it difficult to know the exact areas to check. However, there is an easy checklist that could help a homeowner as they walk around their house so that they know what to look out for.

Areas of Interest

Plumbing Damage

Moisture poses a huge risk not only to the stability of the foundation, but also to the health of inhabitants. A plumbing professional could help in checking for leaks and any pipes with loose fittings. We have qualified technicians who can do this proficiently to ensure that there’s no damage to the foundation caused by excess moisture.

Looking and Feeling

A physical inspection of the foundation could also help. By checking the look and feel of the foundation, one would be able to notice any drastic changes in the appearance. If there are any cracks or discoloration, one needs to call a foundation professional to conduct a more exhaustive inspection.

Other Foundation Damage Symptoms to Look Out For

One should also keep an eye out for cracked walls and floors in the entire house. Any visible clues could indicate a shift in the foundation. The roof also needs to be inspected regularly by a competent contractor. Such a professional would be able to notice any issues that could trap or release excessive moisture into the underlying structure. While moving through the basement of the house, one should also be keen about any bugs or musty odors as they could indicate moisture presence.

Home foundation inspections should be conducted regularly, especially for houses located in areas with expansive soils. After seasons with extreme temperatures, issues in the foundation could arise. Some of these would not be evident enough to rouse a homeowner’s suspicion. A thorough inspection is thus essential to help keep the home on a solid base.

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Tips For New Home Construction

177506099Building a new house is an exciting but complex process. These new home construction tips can help ensure you will not make any costly mistakes or leave out important features. It is crucial to perform thorough research and carefully plan ahead.

1. To get started, compare builders’ prices and ask them for references. Pay a lawyer to examine the construction contract before you sign it. Look for a quiet, safe building site and have conversations with neighboring homeowners.

2. Pay close attention to costs. Builders should specifically tell you what they include and what costs extra. If you need to borrow money, contact multiple lenders to find the best rates. Estimate the total expense and establish a budget.

3. Design the home’s interior with the help of a professional architect. Take the time to imagine walking through each room and hallway. To cut future electricity consumption, ensure the windows are placed and sized to deliver sufficient light.

4. If the house will have multiple stories, make sure the stairway is wide enough for moving furniture. Consider putting a vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom. A laundry room near the bedroom is more convenient.

5. Some materials and components require significantly more maintenance than others. Think twice about requesting that the builder use stainless steel or marble in a kitchen. Be sure to leave plenty of space for food preparation as well.

6. Design the home in a way that enhances outdoor recreation. A six-foot wide or larger deck will provide adequate space to set up furniture. Outdoor electrical outlets come in handy for powering Christmas lights or listening to music while barbecuing meals.

7. Thoroughly insulate walls to minimize heating and cooling expenses. However, leave extra space for additional wiring that may become necessary in the future. Remember it is far more expensive to install things after construction has been completed.

Keep in mind that a well-designed house can provide enough space and amenities without being large. Small homes result in more outdoor space, less tree removal and lower maintenance costs. To learn more about construction and heavy machines, please follow 10 Wheels.