Driving a Diesel? What Happens When Your Filter Becomes Clogged?

If you’re a first-time diesel owner — or have simply never logged enough miles on a single diesel vehicle to contemplate cleaning or replacing your diesel particulate filter (DPF) — you may be dismayed at the sight of a warning light on your vehicle’s dashboard indicating your DPF has begun to malfunction. While continuing to drive your vehicle even short distances without ensuring that your DPF is serviced can cause irreparable damage to your engine, you may not feel you have the cost of repair (or replacement) in your current budget. Read on to learn more about the purpose of your vehicle’s DPF and what you can do once it becomes clogged.

Why is the DPF Important?

Because of the different way they consume fuel, diesel engines tend to emit a much more toxic cloud of exhaust than fuel-injected engines. The DPF is the most integral part of a diesel engine’s emissions system and helps filter out any soot or other harmful particulates from your engine that can increase smog levels and aggravate breathing problems. As your vehicle runs, it generates heat that is used to naturally burn off the soot collected by a filter into a harmless ash, much like a self-cleaning oven will burn off any greasy residue by heating itself to ultra-high temperatures for an extended period of time. However, a daily routine that includes multiple short trips may not give the DPF its necessary amount of regeneration time and could lead to early filter clogging.

Although your engine will still run if the DPF is removed, and some companies have made thousands with the sale of products designed to bypass the DPF, removing or modifying the DPF in order to avoid error codes can leave you facing fines and civil penalties of up to $3,750 per uncovered violation. As this potential fine far exceeds the average cost of a DPF cleaning or even an entirely new DPF, removing your DPF can often be both a penny and pound foolish decision. 

What are Your Options If Your DPF Has Become Clogged? 

Once your vehicle has illuminated a DPF warning light, your (legal) options are often limited to professional cleaning or replacement. While it may be possible to recharge your DPF through its natural regeneration process if it’s just slightly clogged, when a DPF is clogged enough to trigger a warning light, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to remove the necessary amount of soot without some outside intervention. Many auto supply stores sell do-it-yourself DPF cleaning kits, but these kits are usually just composed of solvents or other chemicals that aren’t designed to perform the same role as a thermal DPF cleaner. 

Many dealerships or shops that deal primarily with diesel vehicles have their own DPF regeneration machines on site. These cleaners operate by heating the DPF to ultra-high temperatures — much higher than those that could safely be generated by your engine. This process is usually sufficient to remove even the stickiest and most stubborn particulates, leaving your filter in essentially the same shape it was when first installed on the production line. Having your DPF professionally cleaned should allow it to continue to service your vehicle for years without much other maintenance. 

Alternatively, you can have your DPF removed and replaced with a brand new version. This is often the best option if your existing DPF has other issues that can’t be resolved through the cleaning process — for example, dents and dings from a botched removal attempt or minor accident. However, because replacement is usually more expensive than repair, most auto owners will first opt for a cleaning.

For more information on your DPF and what kind of maintenance it might need, consider contacting a local professional, such as Williams Oil Filter Service Co.

3 Simple Tips For Keeping Your Car’s Automatic Transmission In Good Condition

When you own a car, you probably want to keep it running as smoothly as possible, for as long as possible, to avoid having to pay high repair costs or buying a new vehicle. This includes making sure the transmission keeps working well. To do this, use the below three simple tips to keep it in good condition.

Be Careful When Pulling Into A Parking Space With A Curb Or Divider

Whenever you pull into a parking space that has a side curb or a divider in the front, try not to hit it with your tires. While this may feel like a small bump to you, the extra vibration caused by the impact can travel through your car’s front or rear axle, which is connected to your transmission’s gears.

If this happens repeatedly, it could loosen the bolts on the driveshaft connected to the transmission. This could cause the gears to slip, making your transmission work harder to shift gears while you are on the road. This extra work could wear down your transmission, necessitating a costly repair job or replacement.

When parking your vehicle, be careful not to get to close to the curb or divider. Keeping even the tiniest impacts to a minimum can help you avoid damaging your transmission.

Watch How Hard You Accelerate While Driving

There are times when you have to accelerate quickly while driving, such as when avoiding a collision or having to speed up when merging onto a highway. However, when you are driving down a straight patch of road, this hard acceleration is unnecessary. It could actually cause damage to your transmission if done repeatedly.

When you punch down hard on the gas, the revolutions per minute, or RPMs, increase significantly, signaling your transmission to shift to the next gear. When the RPMs reach double what they should be for second gear, it could make the transmission shift too fast or skip to third gear.

This could cause excessive wear and tear on your transmission, eventually wearing down the teeth of the gears. The constant, excessive heat could also burn the transmission fluid, making it less viscous so it cannot properly lubricate the gears and shaft.

While driving, accelerate your vehicle as smoothly and evenly as possible. This will help keep you from wearing out your gears and burning up your transmission.

Use A Friction Modifier Additive With Your Transmission Fluid

Along with allowing your transmission to shift evenly and being careful when you park your car, you can also help your transmission last longer by mixing a friction modifier additive in with the transmission fluid. The additive lubricates the lubricant, keeping it from sticking to your transmission’s gears and the driveshaft, preventing a buildup of gunk and burnt fluid.

When using the additive, make sure you take into account the maximum level of transmission fluid recommended for your particular make and model. When too much fluid is added to your transmission, the increase in pressure can blow out the rings and gears, causing permanent damage. 

Read the recommended amount of additive for your vehicle on the manufacturer’s label. Then, subtract that amount from the maximum volume of transmission fluid. This number is how much of the transmission fluid you can safely put in while using the additive.

Using the above tips can help you keep your car’s transmission working longer. However, if you start noticing signs that your transmission is going bad, you may want to speak to a mechanic who specializes in transmission repair (like the American Transmission Center) to have it fixed before it goes out completely, requiring you to have a new one put in. 

What You Should Know About Full-time RVing in a Class B Motorhome

There’s nothing out of the ordinary about traveling for the majority of the year in an RV, but most people do it in large and luxurious Class A motorhomes or fifth-wheel RVs. For many people, traveling full-time in a much smaller Class B RV is a different kettle of fish. The following talks about some of the considerations to make if you decide to make the open road your new home in a Class B RV.

Benefits of Using a Smaller RV

Being built around a van platform certainly has its advantages. For starters, Class B RVs use less fuel than their Class C and Class A counterparts. The average gas-powered Class B RV can achieve anywhere from 18 to 25 mpg in long-distance cruising. Diesel-powered RVs of the same size start out at around 22 mpg and top out at 25 mpg. In comparison, a Class C RV usually gets around 6 to 8 mpg, with some models achieving a whopping 10 mpg with the right engine and gearing configuration.

As another benefit of being smaller than most Class C RVs, Class B RVs offer far better maneuverability on narrow city streets and in tight camping sites. Overall handling and maneuverability are similar to an average minivan or full-size passenger van. The shorter overall length also means you’ll be able to fit your RV in standard-size parking spaces. In essence, you won’t feel like you’re at the helm of a huge boat and you’ll have more confidence about driving your RV full-time.

Managing Space

While a smaller RV means less hassle at the pump and the parking lot, it also means that space is at a premium. That means you’ll have to be smart about managing the space you do have to remain comfortable. Here are a few tips for keeping your Class B RV organized and clutter-free:

  • Keep the things you use most on top or in front of your other items to avoid rummaging and displacing items.
  • Voids and other odd spaces can be filled up with soft and small items, thereby maximizing your storage space.
  • Designate an area for dirty or wet items and use waterproof bins to safely contain those items until they can be cleaned and/or dried off.
  • Remove dry items and other durable foods out of their bulky packaging to save on cabinet space.
  • Keep a few reusable grocery sacks and tote bags on hand for packing and toting odds and ends such as toiletries.
  • If your spouse is coming along for the journey, it’s a good idea to maintain separate areas for each other’s’ belongings.

Dealing With Toiletries

When nature calls, you may find yourself confronted with one of the downsides of traveling full-time in a Class B RV. Unlike a larger Class C motorhome, there’s not a whole lot of space for a proper bathroom and shower. At best, the shower usually requires you to sit on the toilet seat with a small shower curtain and a shower pan built into the bathroom floor being the only thing between a clean body and a soaked motorhome.

The best way to deal with the inconvenience is to plan for pit stops that afford you access to a proper toilet and a hot shower. Truck stops, highway rest stops, some larger campgrounds and even gyms offer the proper facilities for keeping up with your hygiene in a small rig.

If you have to wash up inside your RV, use only the bare minimum amount of water to get damp prior to soaping up and then quickly rinse off the lather. It’ll save you from completely depleting your on-board water supply and you’ll still feel clean. For more tips, contact companies like Fretz RV. 

Shopping For A Used Semi For Your Business? 2 Red Flags You Should Know About

If you are like most business owners shopping for a used semi truck, you might be more concerned about getting your products on the road again or finding a bargain than you are about seemingly insignificant details such as cab condition or filter type. Unfortunately, being a little too cavalier about your rig shopping could cause a lot of heartache in the long run.  Here are two red flags you should know about when you are shopping for a used semi truck, and how to avoid trouble:

1: Poor Cab Condition

When it comes to cab condition, you might not think twice of a small fabric tear or a missing floor mat. After all, since your guys mainly make short trips and don’t worry too much about looks, how much of a difference could an imperfect cab make? Although it might seem like an insignificant detail, a cab that shows obvious signs of wear could signal deeper issues.

For example, if the previous owner and driver didn’t care enough to patch up a torn seat cushion, do you think they paid attention to regular oil changes and troubling engine noises? Also, if the previous trucker didn’t keep his workspace clean, how likely do you think they were to drive carefully and avoid dangerous, potentially damaging road conditions? While you might feel a little overzealous worrying about every little detail inside the cab, noticing wear and tear should act as a red flag to carefully inspect the rest of the truck and trailer.

If you notice an ongoing trend of poor maintenance, keep shopping until you find a rig that has been pampered. Some businesses do a great job at performing regular cab checks and keeping their vehicles maintained. As you shop, pay attention to things like maintenance records and a carefully maintained engine. By finding a truck that has been pampered, you might not have to worry as much about replacing previously damaged equipment.

2: DPF Filters

Newer is always better, right? Not when it comes to purchasing a used semi truck. Although you might be tempted to purchase that 2012 used truck that you found for a great price, there is a compelling reason that you should consider that 2006 model parked in the corner of the lot: the engine filter.

In 2007, the state of California started mandating the use of diesel particulate filters, also called DPF filters. The goal of this legislation was to reduce particulate emissions, especially microscopic carbon. Commonly used in newer rigs today, these filters are so effective that a white handkerchief can be placed over the exhaust manifold and come away clean. Unfortunately, this environmentally friendly mandate has a downside—these filters are difficult to clean and expensive to replace. Because the filters are so efficient, they also trap exhaust particulates like engine oil and ash, which can increase engine pressure and ultimately harm your motor.

To avoid this frustration, many business owners are choosing to shop around for older used semi trucks that don’t contain these problematic filters. Although you might be nervous about purchasing an older truck with loads of mileage, experts note that you can find DPF free rigs that only have between 500,000 and 600,000 miles on them—largely because drivers didn’t haul as much during the economic downturn.

As you shop for a used semi truck, ask about the presence of DPF filters. If you don’t live in California and don’t deliver to customers in the state, an older rig without a DPF filter might save you from having to replace engine parts early and worry about extra maintenance. 

By shopping carefully for that used semi truck, you might be able to avoid frustrating unplanned expenses, and keep your fleet of trucks on the road—delivering products to your customers. Now that you know what to look out for when shopping for used trucks, check out an online dealer like http://www.arrowtruck.com/.