Engine Leaks Take a Brutal Toll on Cars and Car Parts

If you own a car then you have probably already had some experience with car leaks, at least to some degree. Even new cars can develop leaks that are both annoying and frustrating. In the 1980s and 1990s engine leaks and other automotive leaking problems were the cause of a large majority of auto service appointments.

Now there are better engineering designs and materials used in the automotive manufacturing process. This has resulted in a decrease in customer complaints because new car parts have been noted to have substantially less problems with leak malfunctions.

Keep Engine Leaks at Bay

For those of you that may be unfamiliar with the basics of engine seals here is a list of what a car engine needs in order to be leak-free.

1.      Motor oil

2.      Proper compression

3.      Fitted gaskets

4.      Intact seals

5.      Engine coolant

6.      Fuel

Understanding Engine Seals

Most of the seals that protect your car engine are designed with double lips so that the motor oil can not leak out. One of the seals is designed to contain the oil, and the other is meant to stop any debris from contaminating the oil system. Although these lipped seals do not move they still have a big job to do because the car parts that they are surrounding are in motion. This is why many automotive techs refer to these car accessories as dynamic engine seals.

You will find dynamic seals used on car parts that are either rotating or belt driven. Two examples of these are crankshafts and camshafts. These are crucial elements for your car engine and it only takes a small leak to create a great deal of damage. An oil leak from a camshaft seal can result in ruined valves and timing belts which are both costly repairs.

How Leaks Begin

Small bits of grit, dust and road dirt are always flying about the exterior of auto engines. If there is a small opening in any seal it can allow some of these contaminants to adhere to the inner surface. Then as the shafts are moving they are being abraded by these particles’ sharp edges.

The constant motion of these rotating and belt driven car parts will soon cause small grooves to form along the sides of the shafts. Now the integrity of the seals and shafts are both compromised. Once these irregular grooves have formed on the metal surfaces, leaking will soon follow.

Fixes for Seals

There are times when worn metal surfaces can be repaired instead of being replaced. Some mechanics are able to grind and weld the shafts until the surface area meats the necessary specifications.  There is also a slip-sleeve that is available for some front crankshafts. This product is a fine metal covering that can be applied to the damaged area and will then cover the grooves. These are both elaborate and high priced technical projects that are only suggested for ultra expensive vehicles. Car parts such as engine seals and shafts can be replaced at a more affordable cost.

Gaskets and Engine Leaks

In the past a lot of car accessories and engine parts used gaskets that contained cork. The cork would work for a while but it deteriorated at a relatively quick pace. This material would stop a leak by swelling up and forming a tighter seal, but only after a small amount of oil had leached into the gasket.

Another type of engine gasket was made from RTV silicone and this could create a secure seal but only under special conditions. The silicone base meant that it had to be applied to an engine surface that was absolutely clean and free of any oily residue. Many mechanics had trouble getting the metal surface prepped to these exacting specifications.

Most of today’s new gaskets are made form synthetic rubber compounds. These engine gaskets are reliable and are much less likely to form a leak. This is the type of gasket that is preferred by knowledgeable mechanics and auto enthusiasts.  

Gasket Seal Problems

When placing gaskets onto surfaces it seems that many auto techs and mechanics tend to tighten them too much. In order to address this problem there are some newer designs that use metal spacers. These spacers are actually in the gaskets which helps prevent the over tightening seen in the past. Newer car parts such as the cast aluminum engine covers and those made from plastics have also been responsible for protecting gaskets from this common problem.

There are also some gaskets that are more likely to be the source of engine leaks even if they have been properly installed. A car’s head gaskets and those used on the intake manifold are the ones that should be checked first if an engine leak is noted.

Internal Manifold and Head Gaskets

Engine compression, coolants and oil all depend on an intact head gasket seal. The intake manifold gaskets that are on cars are responsible for insuring the integrity of coolants, gas and diesel fumes and air. If these seals are damaged, or compromised you are assured of having leaks from your car that are going to be noticeable.

Engines and Aluminum Car Parts

The fact that so many engine car parts are now made from aluminum is an additional problem. Because of this metal’s expansion and contraction the gaskets must be allowed some movement allowance. This means that a mechanic needs to make sure that when the repairs are done the gaskets are capable of allowing for the movement of internal car parts as the temperature and weather changes.

Torque to Yield Bolts

Gaskets are internal car parts and they are placed in areas where bolts are going to be required. A mechanic can use incorrect bolts or too much torque and this will result in gasket failure. In this type of situation there could be a compression leak or coolant leak from head gaskets as well as warping of the heads. To prevent this from occurring most auto shops are now using the type of car engine bolts that are known as “torque to yield”.

Check and Repair Engine Leaks

No matter how old, or new, your car is you will need to check on any type of coolant engine leak. Just 2-3 tablespoons of an antifreeze liquid seeping into the oil compartment could ruin some vital car parts. Antifreeze and oil is a mix that can ruin the bearings in any car engine.

If you do not want to take your car to a garage you can handle the situation yourself. Certainly there are many different products that you can use to repair gaskets and seals. Your mechanic or auto supply store can help you find the right one for your vehicle. Just remember if you are doing the repairs yourself you need to make sure that you are using a quality product and applying it correctly. Follow the specifications and make sure to clean the surfaces properly and have exact alignment before making the repairs. 

New Technologies – The Electric Car and Its Infrastructure Will Bail Us Out of the “Great Recession”

Those that are getting their regular paychecks may not feel it. Those that read and hear of others going through bad times, may still not get it. Real estate publications, economists, prognosticators, politicians tell us things are getting better. Some of us are scratching our heads.

Unemployment hits 11% in Florida, the dollar collapses, gold prices near record highs, foreclosures, bankruptcies, short sales, people moving in with other people, vacant houses, people can’t get credit, people can’t afford their real estate taxes, cities are going bankrupt because no ones paying their taxes, higher crime rates, people jumping off of bridges, people acting like their losing children in hot air balloons. Are these strange times we’re living in or what?

Business owners, entrepreneurs, people in sales, independent contractors, and those that don’t get regular paychecks don’t know what to believe anymore. They read things are getting better, but why don’t they feel better? The stock market is inching up, ok. But what’s causing this…. book manipulations? layoffs which produce higher profits? Google clicks that tell us people are thinking about buying? holidays coming up? who knows? They are real numbers, yes, but what do they tell us? Yes, the market has been rising since March of this year.

But we all know something’s not right. We haven’t seen this in our lifetime, unless you lived in the 20s and 30s. I was selling real estate in the 80’s with interest rates at 17 ½%, but this is different. There are more societal ills, things are more complicated.

Something’s definitely broken. Obama is bailing everybody out and is on a Christmas buying spree. He wants to spend our way out of this recession, but what will the consequences be? Runaway inflation, socialism, or the downfall of the American society as we know it?

Our only consolation is that we live in a world economy now. Everyone is hurting. Our countries are interconnected economically. It is a world recession. We won’t stop buying Japanese cars, because Uncle Sam asks us nicely. We can, however, start developing and enabling new technologies that are already here.

We need to develop the electric car and its infrastructure. This will bail us out and start the cycle of prosperity again. Millions of jobs will be created by this development, we will start eliminating burning of fossil fuels, and this will set us in the direction of the “green economy”.

Many studies and research have concluded this. Larry Burns, the retired head of GM’s research and development, has said that the electric-vehicle age will reshape the energy grid, redefine driving patterns, and generally improve the quality of life especially in urban areas.

First, there will be many types of electric vehicles, including the plug-in hybrid, the all-battery vehicle, and vehicles powered by the hydrogen fuel cell, which is essentially a battery fed by external source of hydrogen. These vehicles will come in all shapes and sizes, including all-terrain vehicles to large commercial trucks. These different vehicles will be able to tap into many different energy sources.

Solar, wind, or nuclear power, all free of co2 emissions, can feed the power grid that will recharge the batteries. Also, these energy sources can be used to split water into hydrogen and hydroxyl ion, and then use the hydrogen to power the hydrogen fuel cell.

Second, the storage capacity of the vehicle fleet will play an important part in the stabilizing of the power grid. Not only will the battery powered vehicles draw power from the electricity grid during the recharging, but when parked, can also feed additional power back into the grid, during periods of peak demand.

Third, the electric vehicles will open up a new age of smart vehicles, in which sensor systems and vehicle-to-vehicle communications will enable collision protection, traffic routing, and remote managing of the vehicle.

Automakers, utility companies, broadband providers, government road builders, and public-private funds will all have to contribute to this integrated system. The beauty of it is, it’s already here, but it needs to be implemented and expanded in America. A company called Better Place has already built some of the infrastructure with battery swapping stations and recharging stations throughout Europe, Japan, and Israel. America must stay at the forefront of the implementation and development of this new coming electric vehicle age. Tomorrow is too late.

Several other studies have been done to show how many millions of jobs can be created throughout the world by implementing the electric car, its infrastructure, and the subsequent green technologies. The new age of the electric vehicle illustrates the opportunities that are now available as we make our way from unsustainable fossil-fuel technologies to a new age of sustainable technologies.

This is true not only for automobiles but in the choice for energy systems, building designs, urban planning, and food systems. So in a way the breakdown of the world economies has provided an opportunity for the new green revolution to evolve.

Texas Car and Motorcycle Accidents

Not to anyone’s surprise, the most popular form of transportation in the United States is automobile. Given this fact, the number of car and motorcycle accidents is constantly elevating. Each year, more than six million car accidents are reported in the U.S. alone. Someone is killed every 12 minutes and injured every 14 seconds due to auto accidents. And the statistics don’t stop here: approximately two million of those injured in car accidents suffer permanent injuries. Each and every one of us is likely to have felt the effects of these unfortunate events, whether personally or indirectly. Motorcycle accidents statistics aren’t any more comforting. In 2008, approximately 98,000 bikers were injured. Fifty-three hundred bikers were killed, and 60% of those killed were not wearing a helmet; even though helmets are proven to be almost 40% effective in preventing fatal injuries in motorcycle accidents.

In 2008, Texas was the site of almost 3.5 thousand of these fatal accidents; a majority of them being in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. The Dallas/ Fort Worth population is rapidly growing; therefore, the risk of a car or motorcycle accident is increasing at startling rates. Legal guidance should be promptly obtained in the event that you or a family member is involved in an auto accident. In the unfortunate instance that someone is injured or killed in an accident involving a car or motorcycle, you can contact one of many Dallas car accident lawyers to discuss your rights. You may be justified in filing a personal injury suit to cover injuries or even emotional damages as a result of the accident. It is also important to keep in mind that driver error isn’t the only cause of accidents. Car manufacturers may share in the liability if safety features and defective parts lead to tragic outcomes. Talking to a Dallas personal injury attorney will help you understand which courses of action are best suited for your situation, well-being, and peace of mind. Together we can all do our part in helping to avoid auto accidents, injuries and serious legalities. Here are a few tips:

  • Obey the driving signs
  • Do not drink and drive
  • Do not text and drive (Phone calls should be on a hands-free device)
  • Regularly service your vehicle
  • Wear your seatbelt (Helmet, if on a motorcycle)
  • Always keep a safe distance behind other vehicles
  • Only drive if you have auto insurance
  • Do not speed or participate in reckless driving

Although there are endless precautions we can all take to help prevent automobile collisions, the reality is that accidents do happen much too frequently. By knowing your rights should a situation arise, you are protecting yourself and your family from the long term effects that could occur after an automobile accident.