About a week ago I bleed my brakes on my car, a '96 Honda Accord. On the right is the old, dirty, and pretty nasty brake fluid I had in my car. On left is brand new clear, clean, and new brake fluid, which is how all brake fluid should look. The difference in color is very clear.
The brake fluid I had in my car was obviously dirty, old, and black. Did you know old brake fluid is a safety issue? The reason is DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture. Think of brake fluid like a sponge. Overtime the fluid naturally absorbs moisture, which is why it must be changed. Moisture exceeding 2% is considered excessive, and brand new brake fluid has about 1.5%-1.65% moisture. Brake fluid is designed to have a high boiling point due to immense heat generated when braking. Moisture causes the normal brake fluid boiling point to drop, which can lead to brake fade or failure in extreme cases.
Contaminated brake fluid can also potentially affect the performance of your brakes and damage parts. All that dirt and moisture was moving through the brake lines, calipers, and wheel cylinders. When the dirty brake fluid was going through the ABS Actuator, delicate solenoids and motors can behave unpredictably. (My brakes work much better now that I flushed my brake system.)
It is easy to tell when your brake fluid is dirty, but how can you tell when you brake fluid has moisture? There are specialized strips to test the moisture content in your brake fluid, but no shop I have seen uses them. They will usually see people with brake fluid pictured on the right, and just recommend a brake flush. You could buy these strips in an auto parts store if you are curios to know.
Most manufacturers recommending flushing your system of old brake fluid and replacing it every 30,000 miles or 2 years. I think this is a good rule of thumb and should keep your vehicles brakes working well.
I thought this would serve as a good lesson. Hopefully you will change your brake fluid and not let it get this dirty!
About 2 weeks ago I bought a set of floormats at Costco for my Accord. I had been looking and searching for a good set of floormats but had not been able to find anything. Every set I looked was thin rubber, or a good set with durable thick rubber was $40 or more. Even the sets I would bought for $40 had odd designs. It seemed for keeping dirt on the mat they would have been inadequate. Also lots of floormats have carpeting. Why do you need carpeting on a floormat? Doesn't make sense to me. I checked Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, auto parts stores…everywhere! All had floormats that would have worked, but not thick ones like I wanted for a reasonable price.
Costco's set of floormats are great! Thick, durable, and the brown-tan color blends in well with my Honda's interior. I expect to get a great use out of these mats especially with the bad and wet weather in Baltimore recently.
It was $15 for the set of 4 FloorMats, 2 for the front and 2 for the back. If you want or need a set of floormats, I would recommend these from Costco. They have been great for keeping my Honda's carpeting from grime and dirt. They will prove to be a good invest for a long time.
Going into the cold winter months, floormats are something that would be a wise item to get for your car. Since a lot of people want to get more mileage out of their cars in this economy. Obviously floormats won't help your car run better, but will keep it looking fresh and cleaner for longer.
Notice I like to leave as much rubber material on the mats as possible, even for my small 96 Honda Accord. That way they catch as much dirt and grime as possible, the whole point of the floormats.
I got my title today from the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA)! This means I officially own my Honda Accord, one of the best cars ever made! I am glad I got the title. Who knows that the MVA could have forgotten or not done between when I went it to do my registration and now.
Two weeks ago I replaced the Valve Cover Gasket and Spark Plug Seals on my '96 Honda Accord. I checked the spark plugs and saw that they had a good amount of oil on them. It was clear the Seals needed to be replaced, but also it was obvious that the Valve Cover Gasket needed to be replaced because you could see it wasn't sealing properly anymore.
It was a simple job that only took a little over 1 hour & 30 minutes with basic hand tools. After I had finished, I drove my car to make sure everything was working well. I had an immense feeling of pride on that drive and after I had done it. I was reminded of the reason I love fixing cars and other things. Sure, you save money when you Do-It-Yourself, although that is not why I love fixing cars. The pride came from the fact that I had taken something that needed to be fixed and I made it right again. I had done it! Not anyone else! I was able to fix my own car. It felt like I had conquered a mountain or crossed an ocean. I had accomplished something that most people haven't done or will do. That's what made it so special to me!
Today I had to go over to my brother's apartment to help him get his Mazda3 started. The culprit? A dead battery! It had been awhile since I had actually done a jumpstart with a car, since I usually use a “jumpbox” when a car has a dead battery. It was a good refresher for my brother and me.
First thing you want to do is make sure the car with the good battery has sufficient gas. My 96 Honda Accord had plenty of gas before going over to my brother's. Also you want to make sure you have jumper cables. This is embarrassing to admit, especially since I have an auto blog, but I did not have jumper cables in my car. I had to get a set out of another car before going over to my brother's apartment. I will buy jumper cables for my Accord though! I promise!
When I got over to my brother's apartment, I parked my Accord as close to his car as possible. Obviously leave enough room for you to get between the cars. Hook up the cables in this order:
Red Positive Cable onto Positive Terminal to Dead Battery
Attach the other Red Positive Cable onto Positive Terminal to Good Battery
Black Negative Cable onto Negative Terminal of Good Battery
Attach the other Black Negative Cable of the Engine Block, Alternator, or Some Ground
Here is a good picture on the jumper cable bag, if you feel my instruction don't cut it!
After you have the cables hooked up start the car with the good battery and let it run for about 5-10 minutes. It's important to make sure the cables have a good connection or you will be wasting your time. (I know this from experience, but got a reminder about it today.) After letting you car run for awhile, therefore letting the good battery charge the dead battery, try to start the car with the dead battery. If it starts, let it run with the other car with the good battery for 2 minutes. If not, keep the car with the good battery running since the dead battery needs more time to charge.
Once you have the dead battery car running keep it running for awhile to let the alternator charge the battery, shut off the car with the good battery. Remove the cables in the REVERSE of how you put them on. Refer to the instructions above. I would drive around the car that had the dead battery to bring up the charge. It might even be good to head over to an auto parts store that will test your battery for free. You could wait a day, drive it around, and then see if it gives you trouble. Most likely if you do go to an auto parts store after having to jump it you will be told the voltage will be low. My brother and I still did this today to see if what the voltage of the battery was. I would recommend driving it around to give it a chance to bring the change back up. If the battery has been giving you trouble and been dying on you a lot, I would recommend changing it, since that battery will only continue to give you trouble.
I hope this post helps people who do not know how to Jump-Start their car.