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General information about the various mods available to 4x4 vehicles covering pros and cons to assist in the decision of "Is this the right mod?"

John Stewart

Car Touch-Ups Easy in Tough Economic Times

Web Store's 100,000 Colors Make Car Touch-Ups Easy in Tough Economic Times - Online touch up paint company sells custom mixed touch up paint for do it yourself repairs for any original car color.

New Orleans, LA (PRWEB) March 26, 2009 -- Got nicks, chips, scratches, scrapes? Sure, every car gets them. And they're unsightly. But maybe the middle of a recession isn't the best time to be spending money on expensive body shop fixes--or even a new car.

Automotive Touch-Up, an online vendor that custom-mixes original factory colors dating back to 1935 (yes, 1935!) believes you shouldn't have to endure the occasional ding and the aggravation that goes with it. "Just do it yourself," says store director Jeremy Thurnau. "We make it easy and economical."

What he means is, Automotive Touch-Up can perfectly match more than 100,000 OEM vehicle colors using a precise computer blending system. You can order these spot-on paints in easy-to-apply pens, aerosol sprays, brush-in-cap bottles, and for larger jobs, pint and quart cans. By following simple directions, car owners can repair scratches, nicks and blemishes in a matter of minutes. Having the exact color is key maintains Thurnau, as it can make those irksome imperfections virtually disappear, leaving your car's finish looking like new. Primers, clear coats and body repair products are also available on the website at AutomotiveTouchUp.com

To find their car's paint color, visitors can search the site's extensive color database by year, make and model. There's also a section that shows you where to locate the paint code on the car itself so you can verify that the color you order is the correct one.

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John Stewart

Your Vehicle's Oxygen Sensor

Your Vehicle's Oxygen Sensor - the Watchdog of Harmful Emissions

BROADVIEW, Ill., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- If you are concerned about your car's carbon footprint, it's important to know that your vehicle's O2 sensor (oxygen sensor) plays a key role in sounding the alarm if excessive harmful exhaust emissions are coming out the tailpipe.

"A properly functioning O2 sensor plays the role of a watchdog when it comes to monitoring your car's exhaust emissions, especially hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide," said Warren Suter, Director, Engine Management Systems for Bosch, which developed the automotive oxygen sensor in 1976. Bosch is the world's largest supplier of automotive parts and systems. www.boschautoparts.com.

The O2 sensor measures the oxygen in the exhaust and signals the engine's computer to adjust the air-fuel ratio to ensure that combustion is as complete as possible. This continuous process optimizes engine performance and fuel efficiency and reduces harmful emissions. A vehicle, depending on the make, model and year, can have between one and four O2 sensors at various locations in the exhaust stream.

If an O2 sensor is worn out and fails to assess the air-fuel ratio accurately, the engine's computer tries to accommodate the perceived variation and, in the process, may adjust the mixture to be too lean or too rich. The result? Harmful tailpipe emissions and possible damage to the catalytic converter and other engine components.

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John Stewart

Cheap Trick: Improved stopping power

My desire has been to retain my jeep as close as possible to stock to ensure that I can always find the necessary repair parts without excessive time delays.  My jeep in many respects is far from stock as it does sit on 35-inch tires.  With the shift to bigger tires, stopping ability was a noted downside.

Not ready for the expense of a Vanco brake up-grade, I opted to start with new brake pads by installing the ones used by racers: EBC Brakes.

The EBC brake pads are ceramic/kevlar fiber material and a direct replacement for the stock brake pads.  EBC provides brake pads that will fit a wide range of applications.  For my Wrangler, I opted for the Series 4000 (Yellow Stuff) pads as they are advertised as being the “...most grippy pad formulation”.  While designed for closed circuit racing, the pads can be used on highway.

After about 500 miles of use, I can say that stopping ability has been improved and the cost was reasonable.
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John Stewart

4x4Wire Tech Hint: "Check Engine" Light

"Check Engine" Light

Vehicles manufactured since 1974 began sporting a variety of engine and emission control systems.  As the engine control and monitoring systems became more complex, on-board diagnostic systems were developed to record fault codes and assist in problem diagnosis.

In general, all vehicles equipped with on-board diagnostic systems (OBD-II is the current standard) will store error codes that can be read using a portable code reader or scanner.  A "Check Engine" light comes on to indicate that the engine management computer has detected a problem related to emissions or engine operation.  It is your notice that something needs to be fixed in order to comply with federal emissions requirements or to keep your engine running.

Many of the trouble codes relate to engine or emission sensor inputs that have failed or are out of tolerance.  The sensors control the "engine management computer" and keep the engine running at optimum efficiency.  Failed or out of tolerance sensors mean your engine is not operating at optimum efficiency.

While it is easier to read the fault codes with a code reader/scanner, most vehicles provide an option to display the codes without a scanner.  

To view the error codes, start with the engine turned off (Ignition Key in the OFF position).  Turn the ignition key to the "ON" (not "IGNITION/START") position, then turn it off for about a second.  Turn it on for a second, then turn it off for a second.  The third time you turn it on, trouble codes should begin flashing on the odometer display.  (NOTE: this process works with newer Jeep vehicles.  It may or may not work with out models.)

Once the error codes are recorded, interpretation will indicate the likely source of the fault.

For a comprehensive listing of ODB-II error codes for all manufactures vehicles, check these websites:

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John Stewart

With Summer Driving Increasing, Goodyear Has Key Tire Advice

AKRON, Ohio, May 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Although miles driven have been declining in the past year, the nation's most well-known automotive travel authority predicts a higher number of drivers during this Memorial Day holiday weekend.

And the best-known American tire company predicts that many of those travelers will simply jump into their vehicles and drive, unaware of the condition of the only part of their cars that comes in contact with the road - the tires.

Officials from The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company urge motorists to take a few minutes to inspect their tires, or to visit a local tire and service outlet for a check-up. This advice comes at the outset of the holiday weekend in which AAA (American Automobile Association) estimates that larger numbers of Americans - 32.4 million, versus 31.9 million a year ago - will travel 50 miles or more from home. This represents a 1.5 percent increase from last year.

AAA says 83 percent of those holiday travelers are expected to go by car, truck or van. With Memorial Day considered the beginning of the summer travel season, this rise in expected driving is accompanied by gas prices that are averaging about 28 cents per gallon more this week, as compared to average pump prices just a month ago.

According to Goodyear, an increase in the price of gas is even more incentive to check tire condition and air pressure before heading off on any vacation journeys.

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