How to Replace an Oxygen Sensor [VIDEO]

Thought I’d share with my readers this video I made “How to Replace an Oxygen Sensor.”  While the car in the video is a Toyota Camry the process is the same on the majority of cars with 4-cylinder engines out on the road.

How to Replace an Oxygen Sensor

Technically on this Toyota Camry it is called an Air/Fuel Sensor.  It was throwing engine code P1135 Bank 1 Sensor 1, which means it was the Upstream Sensor on this Toyota Camry.

Tools I used for replacing the Air/Fuel Sensor on this Toyota Camry.

New Air/Fuel Sensor -

Metric Gearwrench Set  -

Used for getting off Exhaust Manifold Cover

Adjustable Wrench -

Magnetic Parts Dish -

Rubber Gloves -

Mechanic’s Gloves -

Fender Cover -

Actron Code Scanner -

Elon Musk & Tesla blow Minds with Infinite Mile Warranty

infinite mile warranty

Elon Musk, the CEO and founder of Tesla Motors, posted a blog post today that has blown the minds of Tesla Model S owners and made them quite happy.  Tesla is now offering an Infinite Mile Warranty on the Model S for 8 years.  This warranty includes the battery and the drive unit, which means the electric motor.

The Tesla Model S drive unit warranty has been increased to match that of the battery pack. That means the 85 kWh Model S, our most popular model by far, now has an 8 year, infinite mile warranty on both the battery pack and drive unit. There is also no limit on the number of owners during the warranty period.

We are not sure if the Infinite Mile Warranty also covers the controller that modulates how much energy is sent to the electric motor.  We would imagine this is part of of the Tesla Warranty though but I’m not assuming anything as it is Tesla.

Keep in mind Tesla is applying this to all current owners of the Tesla Model S and Elon Musk is keen to point out that electric motors are much more reliable than gasoline counterparts.  Therefore an Infinite Mile Warranty would make sense.

Moreover, the warranty extension will apply retroactively to all Model S vehicles ever produced. In hindsight, this should have been our policy from the beginning of the Model S program. If we truly believe that electric motors are fundamentally more reliable than gasoline engines, with far fewer moving parts and no oily residue or combustion byproducts to gum up the works, then our warranty policy should reflect that.

Of course Musk does admit in the blog post that it is quite possible that this will negatively affect Tesla’s bottom line and those that have invested in the company.

To investors in Tesla, I must acknowledge that this will have a moderately negative effect on Tesla earnings in the short term, as our warranty reserves will necessarily have to increase above current levels. This is amplified by the fact that we are doing so retroactively, not just for new customers. However, by doing the right thing for Tesla vehicle owners at this early stage of our company, I am confident that it will work out well in the long term.

– Elon

While this Tesla warranty news should reassure and reaffirm Tesla Model S and electric car owners, the public and media have forgotten a few important points.  The warranty, as far as I can tell, does not seem to cover electronic components which honestly… are much more prone to failure than an electric motor.  Since electric motors work using magnets with few moving parts they are much more reliable than gas engines and rarely break.  Elon Musk and Tesla are right about that.  Electric motors can fail in certain situations though but since they run off of magnetism they are pretty reliable motors.  It’s quite likely a controller will break before a Tesla electric motor and it’s not clear to me whether this is or is not covered under the Infinite Mile Warranty.

Also what do you do after 8 years with your Model S?  That’s when you definitely will have electronic and electrical failure on an electric car.  Tesla bean counters have worked this out like all automakers.  They probably know a lot of Tesla components naturally wear out after a certain period of time and anticipate most drivers only do 10,000-15,000 miles a year.  Once the warranty is up it’s on the customer to pay for repairs.  It’s not surprising automakers do this and Tesla is no different in this case.

I guess Tesla figures any self-respecting Tesla Model S owner will have to run out and get the latest model when that comes out.  So they won’t care about fixing the models or likely own them for 8 years.  Right? :)

What you think of Tesla’s Infinite Mile Warranty?  Is this good not only for Tesla but the entire electric car industry as a whole?  Is this just another Tesla marketing gimmick masked with media love?  Leave a comment below to let me know.

[Source - Tesla Blog | Image Source -]

Daughter reunites Dad with Porsche 914 he Sold for Family [VIDEO]

Kristin Russell is a fairly normal girl living in California, but something always bothered her about something her stepdad did years ago.  He owned a beautiful white 1973 Porsche 914 he sold so he could have enough money for a wedding to marry Kristin’s mom.  While the Porsche 914 isn’t the most spectacular vehicle that Porsche ever built it was clear that Dave, Kristin’s stepdad, loved the car and enjoyed it while he had it.

She always felt bad he sold the car for the family and appreciated his sacrifice.  So what did she do for Father’s Day?  She hunted down an identical 1973 Porsche 914 in Arizona bought it and had it shipped out to where her stepdad lives outside Philadelphia.  It needed some work so after it had work done at a local mechanic it was ready to be given to Dave.

Fortunately for this social media crazed world the whole thing was caught on video and posted to YouTube.  Check out the awesome story of a daughter, a father, and a Porsche 914.

Warning: Video might cause gearhead tears!

Daughter finally Reunites Dad with Beloved Porsche 914

Moral of the story?  True love always finds a way.

How to Repair Car Wiring

Learning howto  repair car wiring and splice wires is an important skill you will probably need someday. With time and practice this skill can be mastered and is useful and necessary for those looking to be professional automotive repair technicians or make DIY repair jobs themselves on vehicles. With automakers adding more sensors, electronics, and gadgets to cars chances are one day you will have to make a wiring repair, whether you want to or not.

For those unfamiliar with the procedure of repairing a wire I’m going to walk through how repair car wiring simply and easily.

Step 1 – Strip Wires

First you want to strip back ¾ of a inch on the outer insulation of the wiring on each end you will be connecting together. (The inner metal part, usually made of copper, is called the conductor as conducts electricity.) It’s best to use a wire strippers that have various sizings on them for small wire repair. These can be purchased in most hardware and auto parts stores and are a great addition to any toolbox.

Remember to size and cut a piece of shrink tubing and put it on one of the wires before twisting or soldering them together. If you forget, you will have to take apart or re-strip the wire connection later to put a piece of shrink tube on the spliced and soldered part of the wire. If you fail to put a shrink tube on it will likely cause more damage to the wire from corrosion.

Step 2 – “Y” Wires

Now that the wires are stripped, take one of the wires and make two equal but separate connections with the copper strands and form a “Y.” Repeat with the other wire and then join them together interlocking the two wire ends and twist them together. When joining the wires together it is best to use one finger to hold down the legs of the “Y” on the same side on a table or flat surface. Pick-up one wire so it it at 90 degree angle to the other wire and start twisting rotating together. Try to keep the connection as snug and tight as possible.

If this is done properly there should be no gap or a very small gap between the copper strands and it should be a fairly tight connection. Also it should not be or that much larger than the outside diameter and gauge of the insulation of the wiring.

Make sure to leave enough room so that the outer insulation “none” strip sections of the wire can bend without too much trouble. You can repeat this using your other hand and twisting the other side of the wiring. It should be a strong connection even if without soldering or using shrink tubing yet. Lightly pull it to see how the connection feels.

Note: They are many methods for twisting car and auto wiring together.  This is just one way to do and certain automakers and manufacturers might have different techniques.  

Step 3 – Soldering Time

At this point you can get out a soldering gun. Nowadays most automakers recommend a butane-powered soldering gun that uses a flame for heating the tip. Soldering with an electric soldering gun is generally note recommended nowadays as it can possibly send voltage back through the wire and damage a sensitive electronic component.

Before beginning make sure the wire flux you are using is rosin-core NOT acid flux. If you use acid flux you will wreck the wiring since it will corrode down the road. I also recommend you wear protective goggles. You never know what debris could fly up at your face and into your eyes while soldering.

Once your gun is on, and your goggles are on too, touch the soldering gun to the splice and let it sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You should be able to to see when it is getting hot. Take your flux wire and carefully let the solder flow at the junction of the gun tip and splice. Put the flux too close to the gun tip and it will “stick” but if it is too far away it won’t heat up enough.

Once it solder is flowing keep adding and pushing the flux wire and creating more solder. It will flow around and onto the copper wiring strands and you want to make sure there is enough on there. You might need to move the gun depending on the size of your wiring repair.

The solder should look nice and shiny when done. If it’s dull looking you will have to reheat it since it was not hot enough. Try to give it a nice shiny appearance.

Step 4 – Shrink Tubing

After you’ve let the solder joint cool, and admired your work, it’s time to get use that piece of shrink tubing on the wire and complete the repair. Heat shrink tubing is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyolefin and will shrink around the wire protecting it from the elements and corrosion.

The best way to shrink the tubing around the splice to use a heat gun. Typically butane-powered soldering guns have an attached just for this. The tubing shrinks when enough heat is applied and will seal and conform to the shape of the wire.

The quick and dirty method is to use a lighter, but be aware that can possibly cause damage.

Step 5 – Check for Continuity

It’s good to check for continuity that the wiring and circuit is working properly. You can use a multimeter and set it to read “Ohms” so that you know the wire actually works.

Car Wiring Repair

Learning how to repair car wiring is something that sounds hard, but once you have the basics down it will be become more natural. There are other methods you can use to repair automotive wire. Crimping is another popular method but many automakers nowadays don’t like auto technicians or people using this method since crimps can pull apart.  Also it can leave your solder joint susceptible to the elements and corrosion.

Whatever method you use check what the manufacturer recommends of the vehicle you are working on.  If you ever need help remember there are lots of resources out there to help with wiring and electrical repair online nowadays.

If you have any questions, tips, or advice on car and auto wire repair please leave a comment below.

Electric Scooters – A HOT and Growing Niche Industry

Felectric scooters

Have you heard about electric scooters?  Maybe you have or maybe you haven’t.  Either way it seems that there are not only more electric car companies popping up but electric scooter companies are too.  This niche motoring industry is HOT right now like never before.

It doesn’t take long if you are searching around on the internet to see all the mainstream companies and start-ups that are getting into the electric scooter business.  Here all the ones that I am aware of;

  •  BMW – BMW, more specifically BMW Motorrad, just introduced the BMW C Evolution which is the German company’s foray into the electric scooter market.  They are touting it as an “urban mobility” vehicle and it looks slick.  Range for the BMW C Evolution is about 60 miles which should get you there and back no problem and it’s electric motor pumps out 48 horsepower.  It has top speed of 75 mph.  Not so slick is the £13,500 British pounds it costs to buy one.  That’s about $23,000 American dollars of course it is the most finished and well put together electric scooter I’ve seen.  
  • Terra Motors - A Japanese company that is aiming to build electric scooters.  Terra Motors A4000i looks like a promising entry into the scooter market but seems like it will only be available in Asian countries to start.  The company is also planning on building scooters aimed at the delivery market (newspapers, pizzas, etc.) as well.
  • ZAP – The well established electric vehicle maker has the Jonway line of motorcycles and scooters that are all electric.  Range and prices vary.
  • Mahindra – The Indian automaker is going to build it’s GenZe electric scooter in Michigan.  The GenZe will have a range of 30 miles and a top speed of 30 mph.  It will use specialized storage compartments for carrying your gear and stuff.   You can put down a $250 deposit and the GenZe scooter will cost you $3,000.
  • TianmAmerica – A Chinese based electric vehicle company that will ship you any of it’s electric scooters for $200.  You can order them with lithium-ion batteries or lead-acid depending upon your budget.  Prices are $2,300-$4,000+.
  • Flux Mopeds – A small Wisconsin based company has only one scooter model, the EM1.  It has a removable battery so you can charge the electric scooter indoors.  Ideal for apartment dwellers and those who live in dorms.  The EM1′s $2,000 price tag is quite attractive too.

The advantages of a scooters compared to motorcycles are mainly that they are ideal for urban environments, since they take up less room and easier to maneuver.  Also you don’t need a motorcycle license to operate an electric scooter.  (For some scooters you might depending on the power.)  This can be a hassle for some if all you need a scooter for is going a few miles in a city with limited parking space.

As you can tell from above pricing on most electric scooters isn’t that much different from normal gas powered scooters. Still there are many advantages.  Chiefly the fact that you don’t need to buy gas and “filling up” on electricity is much cheaper.  Even in cities where electricity rates are sky high you can expect to recharge for $1-$2 dollars possibly less than that.  This means a significant savings over the life of electric scooters compared to gas counterparts.  Also an electric scooter will require virtually no maintenance.  No changing oil, oil filters, dealing with gas, spark plugs, etc.  You still obviously need to make sure that your scooter is maintained to a degree.  Things like the brakes need to be replaced, brake fluid should be changed, and you need to keep the tires properly inflated.  Tires need to be changed out when as needed too.  However the bottom line is electric scooters will save you time, money, and hassle.  Who really likes maintaining their scooters, cars, or vehicles anyway?  This also saves a significant amount of money on repairs down the road.

Another advantage for urban commuters, the reduced noise.  Typically gas powered scooters can make a lot of noise and are not the most emission friendly.  The nice thing about electric scooters is the electric motor runs smoothly and quietly.  That means you can take off early in the morning without annoying neighbors and come back late at night from a party (don’t party too hard.)  Why contribute to more noise pollution in urban environments when there are already so many other sounds?  (Some might consider this a con though as it might be hard for people to hear your electric scooter coming down the road.)

The road to electrification on two wheels hasn’t been all smooth sailing.  Zero Motorcycles, a promising California start-up, pulled their bikes out of the UK market last year due to limited sales.  While the Isle of Man TT Zero racing category sparked interested in the electric motorcycle and scooter industry, it still seems to be growing at a slow pace.  (A great movie about the TT Zero is Charge available to watch on Netflix.)  Sales of electric motorcycles, not scooters, in 2013 were estimated to be a a paltry 500 bikes.  Things are not look better this year.  While scooters and motorcycles do have fundamentally different transportation goals, at least from a marketing perspective, the industries are intertwined.

Limited range and charging infrastructure can be an issue for some two-wheeled riders as well.  Of course let’s not forgot Terry Hershner who rode his electric Zero motorcycle across the United States.  If Terry can do it on today’s charging infrastructure I don’t see why others can’t?

I personally believe electric scooters make sense and have a bright future ahead.  Even if it is a small niche industry it is a growing industry.  What are you thoughts about electric scooters?  Are they positive overall for the scooter and motorcycle market or something that will never really gain traction?

Editor’s Note: This article is a sponsored post by GumTree South Africa.   This means the author was compensated for writing and including a link.  It still reflects the author’s, Adam Yamada-Hanff’s, honest opinions about electric scooters and the industry.