How to Install a Mass Airflow Sensor

One of the easiest repairs you can make to your own vehicle, is to replace a part known as the mass airflow sensor, typically located near the air filter box under the hood. The first indication you have a problem with the sensor is usually because the engine throws a code that lights up your Service Engine Soon light. Other indications are hesitation on acceleration and generally idle rough.

Last December, my car started hesitating every time I started off, and the harder I pressed down on the gas, then more it would sputter. However, once I got up to speed, it would even out.

Soon after those symptoms started though, my Service Engine Soon light came on and the hesitations and sputters seemed to get worse. Rather than taking it into a shop for a diagnostic test, I took it to AutoZone and they read the code free of charge. Once you have the exact code, you can diagnose what the problem is and possibly handle the issue yourself.

I should point out that I am referring specifically to a 2000 Nissan Maxima, but this information applies to a number of vehicles, particularly the type of codes that are read from your SES light. The OBDII codes are universal for all American, European and Asian cars.

I quick search online and I found a list of the codes and what each one refers to and quickly diagnosed the problem. This code indicates a problem with the fuel management system on the right cylinder bank. The right bank is also called the rear bank which contains cylinders 1,3,5.

It turns out it was Code P0171 – Fuel Injection System Too Lean (Bank 1).

The code explanation explained that the Front Heated Oxygen Sensor for the right bank sent signals to the Engine Control Module indicating an

Do It Yourself Truck Bed Liners and Bed Liner Paint

DIY Bed Liners

Dress Up Your Old Truck Bed

If you are looking for an interesting DIY activity for improving your truck, you might want to consider getting a bed liner kit. A roll-on bed liner is an inexpensive way to dress up a crummy truck bed. It’s easy to apply and worth the time and effort you will put into the project. Several companies make bed liner paint for trucks, and all of these are a polyurethane paint. Some of the best bed liner brands include Dupli-color, Plastikote, and Herculiner. Most people agree that Herculiner is the most readily-available and popular of the many bed liner brands. Herculiner bed liner kit comes with everything you need in one package, and you have a choice of several colors. This bed liner paint also has a texture closest to a professional liner.

What Bed Liner Paint to Choose

Spray-On or Roll-On

Getting truck bed paint on and stuck is not complicated, but there are a couple of steps you need to know. But before you apply anything, you have to decide what you will apply. Roll-on bed liner paint is about as good as spray. The liner paint is textured which helps to hide defects in the truck bed. Application is easy with a roll-on, brush-on or spray-on material. Also, you will need about one gallon of bed liner paint with a quick-dry coating to covers a full-size pickup bed. Look for a bed liner paint that promises do-it-yourself application in a full kit, and also will deliver texture to your pickup truck bed.

Besides roll-on bed liner paint, truck bed liner in an aerosol form can also be used. This will permanently bond to the surface of your pickup truck bed, resisting abrasion and again creating an appealing truck bed spray paint texture. Make sure you

Tips For Buying Used Trucks

Advantages Of Buying Used Trucks

Many people discover that there are a lot of advantages to purchasing a pre-owned truck. Naturally, it can’t be disputed that a pre-owned truck is a lot less costly than buying a brand new truck. However, when you’re interested in buying used trucks, you have to consider several things to be sure you’re getting the best investment for your money. Following are some of the factors one should take into consideration before making a purchase. Whether you’re buying a new truck or a pre-owned one, the biggest consideration has to be what you need.

Evaluating Your Needs

Exactly why are you buying a secondhand truck? Will you have to tow something specific? If so, what will you be towing and how much does it weigh? Prior to buying a pre-owned truck, be certain you know that what you’re considering will adequately meet your needs and preferences. If not, you’ll wind up with something that you don’t need and that is too much for you to handle. After that, you have to think about your budget. People didn’t always have many choices when they thought about buying pre-owned trucks. Nowadays, however, they can select from a large selection of powerful trucks that would have normally cost a lot of money.

Buying Used Trucks With Caution

Also, a lot depends on the length of time a truck has been in operation. Having said this, you still have to know what your budget is so you can narrow down your choices. Following that, just keep searching dealerships that sell trucks or do a search for local secondhand trucks so you can find one that you can afford and that suits your requirements. If you purchase it from an area dealership, you’ll have the added benefit of being able to bring it in

What are RV classes? | RV Classes Explained

Has the RV life ever interested you? If you have ever wanted to travel across the country, then getting an RV may have entered your mind. However, you may be overwhelmed by all the different names for RVs! These classes are simply a way for dealers to categorize thier RVs and help you understand them as well.  There are Class A’s, Class B’s, and Class C’s, and that’s just the beginning. There are also non-motorized recreational vehicles like Travel Trailers, Toy Haulers, and Fifth Wheels.

Class A Motorhomes

Big…and Roomy

I work for a RV Dealer in Florida and am new to the RV industry, so thought I would do a little bit of research on RV Classes and what they are.

Ever thought of living in a mansion? Then the Class A is for you! These motorhomes look a lot like greyhounds. When you first step in, you will be greeted by a good sized living room. The driver’s cab has a huge window that makes it easy to see. The RV altogether can measure as long as 45 feet!

Most living areas have plenty of room to enjoy the entertainment center or to have guests over! In the back, you will generally find an master bedroom suite complete with a queen or king sized bed. Some have a master bathroom as well.  Some of these RVs even have laundry machines! The bathrooms are also full size with glass shower.  Many manufactures put entertainment systems on the outside of the RV as well. Many of these RVs have as many as 3 slide outs, giving you much more room!

Many of these are expensive, but if you can find a good used one, it could be as low as $50,000.  But, you may pay millions if you want maximum luxury.

These RVs are for serous RVing.

Replacing an In-Tank Fuel Pump in a Pickup Truck

Chevrolet S10 pickup with an in tank fuel pump

Diagnosis

Diagnosing a failing fuel pump can be tricky.  You can look for the most common symptoms – failure to start, or stumbling/stalling when the accelerator is pressed, but those can be symptomatic of other problems as well.  The stumbling (very jerky movement) will be most evident when the vehicle is under load, like pulling weight or going up a hill. This makes sense, since you’d be asking the truck for more fuel, and a failing fuel pump wouldn’t deliver.  The same thing happens when your spark plugs are failing (ask me how I know), and probably during many other car-part failure events as well.

A failing fuel pump may make a very loud whining noise, and a failed pump won’t make any noise at all when the key is turned to ‘on’.  If the pump has failed completely your truck won’t start.  This is a good time to get to know the neighbors down the street who now have your dead truck sitting in front of their house.  If you’re trying to diagnose the problem before the pump has failed completely there are a few more tests you can do, such as checking fuel pressure, but these require specialized tools or a trip to the shop to get it diagnosed.  In my case the fuel pump enacted a death scene worthy of bad opera with a screeching whine followed by a prolonged demise, with as much drama as mechanically possible.  I had no doubts about the problem.

Chevy S10 in dump position

Preparation

If you, too, are sure it’s the pump, and you want to replace it yourself, it’s not difficult, but it does take some attention to detail.  Before you head to the store, check online to find the

Tips for Renting a Moving Truck

If you are about to move and you can’t decide to choose between hiring a company or renting a truck, here are some ideas that might help.  Between the two choices renting a truck is much cheaper.  I am currently moving 250 miles south and my truck rental is $250 dollars.  If I was to hire a company it could be $2500 or up.  The only reason I would not rent a truck is if I had so much stuff that moving it myself would break my body.  Fortunately, I do not have a lot of stuff so with the help of some neighbors I will not only move quickly but for a very low-cost.  If you plan on renting I have 5 tips that will help you.

Tip One

Rental companies are competitive so comparing upfront prices is not beneficial in terms of saving money.  Where they differ a lot is in their insurance packages and extras.  For example, where I am from U-Haul charges $10 dollars for a dozen Furniture Pads (blankets).  Penske charges $15.  It may not seem a lot but when you buy 3 dozen blankets you are paying $15 dollars more with Penske.  Before settling on the upfront rental cost do your research on the prices of the insurance and extras.  This will help you in deciding which company to rent from.

Tip Two

This is easy to forget but if there is an overhead, garage, or carports that the truck needs to go through you will want to know how tall the truck is.  Truck rental sites like to show the height from the floor of the bed to the ceiling.  They don’t typically mention how tall it is from the ground. Check this! It could save you a headache.

Tip Three

Saving money is great but saving it

Legendary American Trucks: Ford F-150, Dodge RAM, GMC Sierra

When you think of some iconic All-American symbols, what comes to mind? For starters, rugged American trucks have made a name for themselves and have quite a following in the United States. The pickup trucks like the Ford F150, Dodge RAM, and GMC Sierra (or Chevy Silverado) are strong, yet give their owners a feel of luxury that combines the best of both worlds. This overview highlights some of the most popular American made legends and their evolution from the time they were introduced all the way up to the present.

The Ford F-150 is a full-sized pickup that was introduced in 1948 and has exploded in popularity. Today’s Ford F-150 models are known to be extremely strong, but are actually 750 pounds lighter than the previous generation. The body is made with aluminum and rigid testing has proved that this choice makes this vehicle extremely durable. There are also even special editions that are available for purchase that cater to campers as well as the fashion icon Eddie Bauer. The Ford SVT Lightning is a sportier version of the pickup targeting those who like that sporty look with the practicality of a truck.

Unique LED cab roof lights for your truck!

The Dodge RAM is also another American classic, with the name RAM first introduced in 1981. The Dodge RAM is known for its manual transmission and rightfully so, since the majority of competitors stopped having the manual option. If anyone absolutely had to drive a stick shift truck, then this was the one to have. This truck actually has a pretty high fuel efficiency and there is even a plug-in hybrid available for consumers. The hybrid trucks are being tested for demonstration and reception so if it becomes popular, then the environmental benefits are endless.

The GMC Sierra, otherwise

The Best BMWs of All Time

There are some car companies where you can instantly name the classics.  There are a few, well-defined automotive achievements that define the company’s history.

With BMW however, this is a bit difficult to do.  This is a company that has been manufacturing awesome vehicles for decades now.  And although you may find some of their newest iterations a bit disappointing in terms of driver engagement or being weighed down by electronics, it’s hard to argue with much of what they have created in the past.

These are just a few of the cars that have helped the company earn its reputation as the “ultimate driving machine.”

BMW 2002

BMW 2002

Also known as the BMW New Class, and no, this doesn’t mean that the vehicle was first produced in the year 2002.  In fact, it started production long before that, in the 1960s.  It’s lifespan expanded into the late 70s, and it later went on to become the iconic 3-series, which is immortalized by driving enthusiasts all around the world.  Both are popular choices for restoration projects, and can be had for pretty cheap today, regardless of what part of the country you find yourself in.

The most desirable and coveted of all of these cars is the “tii” trim.  With its four cylinder turbo motor, it was one of the most successful touring cars of its day as well.  This begins a theme that you will find common throughout this list of cars: performance oriented and racing pedigree.

BMW E46 M3

E46 M3

Many purists of the brand often regard the E46 chassis M3 to be the last “true M3” ever built.  In a lot of ways, this is very true.  BMW is a company that hedged its reputation in the 1990s on its bulletproof, naturally aspirated,

The Tesla Model S: An Honest Analysis

I can’t recall a car that had more internet hype and publicity surrounding it than the Tesla Model S.  As you might expect, when something gains this amount of media attention, you have a lot of people that both like and dislike the car, for an assortment of reasons that may or may not be true.

Part of what makes the facts (or lack thereof) surrounding this car all the more interesting is that the Model S is a vehicle which has cultivated attention from “non-car” people.  You have fans who like the car because of the technological achievements, as well people thrilled at the environmental change it represents.

model s

Being a car enthusiast myself, I’m thrilled to see “non-car” people take an interest in the engineering that goes into a fascinating and well-built car like the Tesla.  But I’ve also heard a lot of myths and downright lies about the vehicle, usually from those who couldn’t tell you the first thing about a “normal”, internal combustion engine automobile.  This article will hopefully shed some light, and perhaps correct some of these errors.

The Speed: “It’s an Electric Sports Car”

First things first, let’s get something out of the way.  The Tesla is quick.  Blindingly fast.  400+ horsepower, instant torque due to the electric motor… the thing is fast.  Without a doubt, it will outrun more than 99% of cars on the road in a straight line.

But that’s the key thing to keep in mind here: in a straight line.

The Model S is a luxury vehicle.  It is not a sports car.  I have heard people compare it to things like the BMW M3 or Chevy Corvette.  These comparisons are absurd.  While the Model S may win in terms of straight line speed due to its electric motor, on a

Outdated Car Features We All Miss

Modern cars are becoming more and more advanced as time goes on, and the list of features and “bells and whistles” that you can find in them continues to grow and grow.  I love technology, and think that modern engineering is fantastic.  Nothing against new vehicles.

That being said, everyone has a bit of nostalgia within them, and especially so when it’s something you spend as much time in as your car.  These are a few features that you won’t find on new vehicles but are readily available on the older, used market.

Hand Crank Windows

Nowadays we have power windows which are great for an assortment of reasons.  All can be controlled at once with the flick of the button, and you don’t have to walk around to each door and roll them up when you want to go park somewhere and lock your car.

Hand Crank Windows

That being said, power windows break.  Often.  It’s pretty unheard of for a car to go its entire life and never have an issue with one of the windows failing to perform its intended function of moving up and down.  This was never an issue with hand cranks!  Even on the off chance that your handle broke, auto parts stores would sell you universal replacements with all sorts of interesting designs.

Power windows are definitely the superior technology, but you can’t help but miss a hand crank when you are forced to cover your open window with a garbage bag to avoid rain and mold damage during a thunderstorm.

Physical Knobs and Buttons

Have a look inside most new modern cars, base models excluded.  What do you see?  Touch screens.  And also a notable lack of any buttons.  Functions such as climate control, music volume and radio station, are all controlled by this one screen

The 1992 Camry: A Game Changer for Toyota

1992 Camry2

The 1992 Camry was a game changer for Toyota. The car hit the market with a design and build quality that was unlike anything seen in its class at the time. These attributes impressed buyers and even the competition. Those same attributes not only propelled the Camry to best-selling car status later in the decade, but also elevated the brand’s stature in America.

Pregame

1991 Camry

Prior to 1992, the Toyota Camry was a conservative car, but a strong seller for the company. As work began on the 3rd generation model in 1989, company executives in Japan were content to stay conservative with the car. When Bob McCurry (executive vice president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. at that time) viewed the initial designs of the car, however, he was not a happy camper. He demanded that the car be redesigned to cater to American buyers, not the smaller, conservative renderings designed for the Japanese market. Initially, McCurry’s bluntness did not go over well with Japanese executives who were not used to such a demanding approach. But Yoshio Ishizaka, the senior vice president and chief coordinating officer of their U.S. division, helped to convince the Japanese executives (slowly but surely) that catering to American tastes would ultimately elevate and strengthen the brand in the long run.

Game On

The 3rd generation Toyota Camry arrived on the scene for the 1992 model year, and it was a quantum leap from the previous model. The new car grew bigger, longer, and wider in dimensions, and featured upscale styling first seen on the Lexus LS400. It also had build quality that was unlike anything else in its class (such as triple sealed doors and asphalt body mounts), and that resulted in an ultra quiet interior

Buying Your Next Car at Auction May Be A Smart Move

I saved hundreds off the price car dealers were asking

buying a car at auction is worth it

Buying a car at auction is not for everybody; however, if you are like me, I simply dread even walking onto a car sales lot. Some slick sales person is going to squeeze me for every penny and show me cars that meet his sales quota need.

My wife and I recently bought a used car from an auction, and it was a smart move for us. I literally saved over $1,800 off the price the full-size lots were asking, plus I had a wide selection, a full manufacturer’s warranty, and a late model car, which is nice since both of my other cars are over 13 years old.

The auction was held in a city several hours away, so we used a licensed dealer who specialized in dealer auto auctions. He charges a flat fee for his services plus the actual auction price of the vehicle you have identified. It was straightforward and trouble-free!

Nevertheless, let’s face it; there are pros and cons to auction buying. I have listed a few here.

Five Advantages For Buying A Car At Auction

  • No pressure to buy today
    Many auctions occur weekly, therefore, if you don’t like what you see listed, wait a week.
  • Buy cars with low miles
    Major manufacturers offer a full warranty up to 36,000 miles. Buying used cars with less than this amount provides a level of security in the event something is wrong with the car.
  • Large selection of late model cars, trucks, vans, etc.
    Most auctions have thousands of cars; this allows the buyer to get the make, model, and color he or she is looking for, and inventory changes weekly.
  • Using a licensed dealer provided industry

Which Modern Cars are the Best Investment?

Which cars could be earning you money?

Purchasing a new car is generally seen as a pretty lousy investment. The moment you drive it off the lot you will often lose thousands of dollars. However, as with anything, there are some exceptions to this rule. There are a handful of modern cars that have steadily held their value or even increased as they aged.

1) 2004 Ford GT

In 1966 Henry Ford made a promise to beat Ferrari at the 24hrs of Le Mans, the greatest endurance race of all time. He created the iconic Ford GT40 to do just that. After finishing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall in 1966 and 1967 the Ford GT40 was retired. In 2004 to celebrate Ford’s 100th birthday they decided to recreate the legendary Le Mans winning race car. At the time, the Ford GT sold for just $139,995 MSRP. Today, this piece of automotive history is worth upwards of $250,000 with some models in excellent condition going for $345,000! That is a 146% profit in just over 12 years. Not a bad investment by any standards!

2004 Ford GT

Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marco_ely/498386407/in/photolist-L3mUP-L3mUX-L3mV6-L3mV2-L3mUT-6jYERq-bb63rF-deKb5L-deKdcA-aYstu6-aSP2fi-L3mUK-7hRCrK-deKeMx-deKfVG-deKcjs-DsBqa3-b1aCqF-9AT7gW-bKg78Z-egt1zq-egnfq6-deKcAZ-BLZ3k-deKh9H

2004 Ford GT

2) 2012 Porsche GT3RS 4.0

The Porsche 911 is the true definition of a sports car. It is a sleek, rear-engined, sporty piece of German engineering. The GT3 is the sportier, more track oriented big brother of the Porsche 911. The GT3RS 4.0 is the crazy drunk uncle of the 911 who starts fights at the yearly family reunion. It has bigger brakes, nearly 100hp more than the GT3, roll cage, fire extinguisher, and a massive rear wing to keep it planted to the ground. The GT3RS is also is the last of the Porsche’s with a proper 6 speed manual transmission which will be sought after by collectors in the future. Originally, this car

5 Things Not to Do or Say When the Police Pull You Over

You’re driving along on the interstate listening to your favorite tunes.  As you approach the overpass, you notice the State Trooper’s vehicle and the officer has his radar gun trained on you.  Panicked, you tap your brake, hoping you can get within the officer’s “margin of error.”  You look down at your speedometer and your heart sinks, “Oh no,” you say to yourself, “I’m going 20 miles per hour over the speed limit!  I’m toast.”  Sure enough, as you zoom past the patrol car, he pulls out, lights flashing and you’re getting pulled over for speeding.  But you’re feeling picked on because the car in the lane next to you actually passed you going even faster and he didn’t get pulled over.

We’ve all been there.  You’re mad at yourself.  Mad at the cop.  Jealous of the driver who got away.  Wondering what you’re car insurance rates are going to look like after this.  When the officer approaches your vehicle, here is your first rule:

1. Never Have Your Hands Anywhere the Officer Cannot See Them

Sounds like common sense, but the great French philosopher, Voltaire once said, “Common sense is not so common.”  And it isn’t.  When you’re upset at being pulled over for a moving violation, you need to remain calm and understand that the moments of a policeman’s day that carry the greatest risk of bodily harm are when he approaches a vehicle he just pulled over.  While you are worrying about getting a ticket, he’s worried about getting home alive.  Keep your hands on the steering wheel.  That will make sure you get home alive, too.

Pulled Over By Cops

2.  Never be Impolite, Antagonistic, or Belligerent to the Officer

There’s an old saying, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”  When the officer approaches your

Dangers of Black Ice

What Drivers Should Know About Black Ice

As winter sets in and temperatures begin to dip to freezing levels, dangerous driving conditions typically emerge. One wintry condition motorists often encounter while traveling or commuting is “black ice.” In November 2013, hazardous black ice conditions created a massive pileup in Worcester, Mass. involving 65 cars and trucks traveling on I-290. In the accident, 35 people were injured1. Fortunately, no deaths were reported.

This type of freezing is common in northern regions, however, even in areas that generally have seasonally warmer climates in the winter, there is a chance of a cold snap that comes with precipitation, creating both wet and icy conditions. When black ice forms, there is high potential for disaster, so it is helpful for motorists to know what it is and learn techniques to try and stay safe in case it is encountered when on the road.

What is Black Ice?

Black ice is a transparent thin layer of ice that is often very difficult for motorists to see on pavement, as opposed to normal icy road conditions which are a bit more visible. How Stuff Works suggests in its article it should “really” be referred to as “clear ice.”2 However, while black ice is technically clear, its name is derived from its ability to blend in with surroundings, masking its presence to drivers. The reason why it is so hard to see is because there are few air bubbles and motorists often mistake the precipitation as wetness. This makes it extremely dangerous. As a result of its masked appearance, a driver is often unprepared for the skidding that could instantly occur when the tires meet the ice.

Slushy roads

Credit: Leigh Goessl

A typical icy road

How is Black Ice Formed?

According to Maine’s Bureau of General Services, black