Car repairs – 6 terms to know

If you’re not a mechanic, or an automobile enthusiast, your car terminology may be limited or even non-existent. This is completely understandable because many people don’t have jobs or hobbies associated with cars, so they don’t pick up the lingo. Then, when out of the blue you find that you need a car repair, you’re lost for words. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, because car terminology can be technical and often it’s not worth your time learning everything.

However, it can be problematic because when it comes to desperately needing a car repair and having to deal with a mechanic – you run the risk of being taken advantage of. They are likely to pick up on your lack of knowledge and may decide to capitalise on your inexperience.
Not to worry, we’re here to help clear things up. We’re about to outline the most common and important terms you need to know when it comes to fixing your car. Knowing some key terminology will demonstrate you have some understanding of car repairs. Familiarising yourself with these terms means you are less likely to be ripped off.

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The 6 most important car repair terms you need to know (so you’re not hoodwinked)

Oil changes – You may be wondering why it is so important to change the oil in your car. In fact, it is one of the most important routine checks you should do with your car. What happens is the old oil is removed and it is replaced with new, fresh oil. One of the biggest reasons that oil changes are necessary is to do with lubrication.

In a car engine, there are many parts that are moving around which generates heat. If there is not enough oil to lubricate the parts, they can generate increased friction which can cause the engine to overheat. This can destroy a car’s engine. That is why it is so important to check your oil roughly every 3 months.

So how do you check your oil level? You simply pull out the oil dip stick on the oil container. You need to make sure your car is on a flat surface to make sure the oil is level and that you don’t get a false reading. Then you must wipe down the stick with a rag, and dip the stick back in. You will be able to see the level on the oil on the stick which will have a measurement line on it for you to see how high the oil is.

Exhaust manifold gasket – This is an essential piece of the exhaust system. When the exhaust from the fuel combustion is dispelled through the exhaust system, the manifold gasket serves the purpose of preventing the exhaust from leaking into the engine bay. It removes toxic gases from the exhaust. It also decreases noise produced by the engine and it improves the efficiency of the car.

They are normally made from multiple layers of steel because they are heated to incredibly high temperatures, so they must be durable enough not to burn. The cost of replacing a manifold gasket is anywhere between $250 – $500. It is also recommended to have it changed by an experienced mechanic as it can be very difficult to access, particularly in new cars. This may add to the service cost of changing the part.

It’s rare for the manifold gasket to break down, particularly in a well manufactured car. It is also rare for it to malfunction if the car has driven under 100,000 km. However, if you do have problems with it, it is very important to have it changed. It can cause health problems by leaking toxic gases into the car’s cabin. It is also very bad for the environment. Not to mention toxic gases leaking into your engine can damage your engine itself.

Ignition coil and spark plugs – Spark plugs are what makes your engine ignite. It is made with a coil called an ignition coil. It supplies the electric power to the spark plug. It carries a magnetic field supplied by the spark plug which makes it turn on. However, if the coil is cracked, the spark plug may not work which means you won’t be able to start your car.
Replacing a spark plug can cost anywhere between $200-$400.

As mentioned above, the ignition coil is part of the spark plug and is what makes the car start. They ignite the air and fuel mixture in the car. However, if the spark plug is wearing out it can misfire and this can waste fuel. That is why it is worthwhile to get it changed as soon as possible. The cost of replacing a spark plug can cost anywhere between $120 and $400 depending on the model of the car.

Air coolant temperature sensor – This is a device that is meant to respond to changes in the car’s engine coolant temperature.

Catalytic convertor – A catalytic converter plays an important part in keeping a car’s gas emissions to a minimum. It significantly cuts down on pollution by absorbing pollution from your car and surrounding cars. It is fitted to the exhaust system and is also a big contributing factor to reducing exhaust noise pollution.

It is also an integral part of a car’s ability to pass a road worthy test. Australia has several environmental standards that all cars must meet and one of these things is a car having a catalytic convertor.

However, if you do find that you need to do a catalytic convertor car repair it can cost anywhere between $300 to $3000, depending on the model of your car. They can be very expensive. Your catalytic converter may need to be change if: it gets clogged, it could get poisoned, valves could be faulty or it could get overheated and burnt out from the exhaust system. If any of the above things do happen, it’s worth getting it changed as it could cause further problems for your car especially engine. Replacing your engine can be incredibly expensive so It would be best to avoid this from happening.

To find out more about Australia’s environmental standards for car emissions visit this website.

Mass airflow sensors – These are electrical devices that measure the mass of air that is drawn into the engine. It is used to calculate how much fuel is needed to be delivered via the injectors. They are a very important part of the engine management system. It means that you have probably not cleaned your air filters regularly enough. Therefore, it is recommended to clean it regularly to improve its durability. To replace your air filters can cost around $25, but replacing the airflow sensors can cost up to $400.

Drive Belts – These are very important components of a properly functioning engine. They help connect the auxiliary parts of the engine including the battery. Without it your engine would probably overheat.

If the temperature in your engine bay is very high it could result in the belt becoming cracked. It is therefore useful to regularly check the condition that the belt is in. If it isn’t working, many things in your car may not function properly. To get it changed can cost anywhere between $100 – $400.

Brake fluid – These days brakes operate using a hydraulics system. This means that when you put your foot down on the brake, the pressure you apply is multiplied to an amount that is enough to stop the car. It is done through the physics of hydraulics and friction.

Over time, brake fluid cylinders can absorb moisture from outside which can damage the brake system. It could effectively decrease the effectiveness of the brake system. To replace the brake fluid is a comparatively inexpensive car repair compared to replacing the fluid cylinders if they start to corrode. That is why it is worthwhile getting the fluid checked out before it causes problems to the cylinders.

As a guideline, it is advisable to change the brake fluid every 2 years. It is known as getting a brake fluid flush and can cost anywhere between $70 and $120.

Shock Absorbers – The purpose of shock absorbers is quite self-explanatory. They absorb energy that is created from the car’s movements. This can either be from accelerating, braking or from driving on bumpy roads. They are very important components of the car’s driving system, as they prevent the driver from experiencing the shocks caused by the movements mentioned above. It is recommended to have them checked every 20,000km as worn out shock absorbers can cause driving problems that can be very dangerous for the driver. They can cost anywhere between $250 to $500 depending on the type of car you drive.

Wheel bearings – They are incredibly important components in allowing a car’s wheels to spin properly. If they don’t function correctly it means that your car wheels won’t spin as efficiently and while increase your fuel consumption. To know whether you must replace your wheel bearing is if you hear a loud rumbling noise coming from your engine. It is even more noticeable as you increase your speed. Another indicator is whether you feel the steering wheel vibrating.

However, it is important to note that a rumbling sound could also be a result of uneven tyre pressure. So, it’s worth checking this out first before making such a large expense.

This can cause your Replacing the wheel bearing can cost anything between $150 – $600 depending on the location of the wheel bearing and thus what it involves the mechanic to do to replace it.

Oxygen sensor – An oxygen sensor measures whether there is a proportional amount of oxygen in the car’s engine. It ensures that’s the car is running at its peak by ensuring oxygen levels are normal. If it is not at the right level it may signify that the car’s emissions are higher than normal. Cars will have at least 1 oxygen sensor but can have up to 4.

It is important as it measures the air temperature, the altitude and air pressure which helps determine how much oxygen needs to be pulled into the engine. If the sensor is not functioning, it means the sensor will end up guessing how much oxygen needs to be pulled into the engine. This can result in an inefficient consumption of fuel.

They can cost anywhere between $200 and $500 and need to be replaced every 150,000 – 200,00 km.

Thermostat – A thermostat is an important device in measuring a car’s temperature. It is a small valve that keeps the coolant closed until the engine warms up. When the engine heats up the valve expands, allowing for the fluid to flow and cool the engine down. If it is not functioning properly i.e. the valve is stuck close, the car’s engine can risk overheating.

It can also result in increased fuel consumption, and poor fuel emissions. This car repair could therefore cost you more in fuel, but also a damaged engine which can be incredibly costly. Replacing your thermostat can cost anywhere between $150 and $250.


Don’t spin your wheels and stress!

There are many expenses that can be involved with your car, from regos to repairs. Replacing certain parts can be costly if they malfunction. However, what can end up being even more costly is the damages caused by not replacing parts when they start to play up. If you don’t replace something small, it could end up damaging your engine which can cost thousands of dollars.

So, even though certain parts may be costly and be a nuisance to pay for at the time, it could be worth getting these repairs out of the way. It’s also important to be familiar with car repair terminology and some other costs of certain repairs to avoid being taken advantage of by some automotive dealers who may try and take advantage of your inexperience with the industry.
Nevertheless, it can still be costly to pay for repairs and sometimes the money for these costs is often just not available when you need it, right?

If you need to do some car repairs, consider a car repair personal loan. They are quick and easy to apply for and repayment is a simple process. The best part? The cash could be in your account in the same day.
Apply now to find out if you qualify.

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