Sunday, June 3, 2018

Should You Change Your Oil Yourself?

Should you change your own oil?  The Random Automotive Oil Change.














I’m just a hobbyist, but I consider myself a car guy. Due to that, I usually get a lot of flack for not changing my own oil, and taking it to a shop and getting it done. Why do I do it? Cost and time. I always have to end up defending myself. Here’s why it’s okay to get it done.

Let me start by saying that I do know how to change my oil. I believe that everyone should know how to do it for his or her car. The principle is the same for all vehicles, but there are little things that can differ from one vehicle to the next. It’s a great skill to have, but I’ve realized that it’s not always needed.

Cost is a big thing for me to take into consideration. I am cheap. Most people say that changing your own yourself is cheaper. For me, I have found that to not be the case. For my 2005 Mustang, I just use standard oil. I use what Ford says I should. There is a Firestone Complete Auto Care by me that I always use a coupon for. I can get it done for around $23. 

Time is also a big factor to think about. With the amount I drive, I have to get an oil change about every three to four months. Not only do I have to change it more frequently then I would like, I also work for about eight companies. I work every day. As of writing this, I’ve had about five days off this year. Do the math: that’s less than one day off per month. Every minute that I can work, I take advantage of it. If I’m under my car worrying about oil, I can’t work. For me, that’s not good.

Weather is big. In Florida, I would rather not be under my car in 114 degrees (as it was last year. With humidity.) Sitting inside the lobby of an air conditioned (or heated if you’re in a northern winter) is a much better idea. 

Again, I will stress that it is important to know how to change your oil. It is on the top five of the most basic maintenance things you need to know how to do on your car. However, I have found it more convenient to not do it myself. 

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

How To Change Your Spark Plugs


Changing your spark plugs is a very important part of vehicle maintenance. Depending on where they are located in your vehicle, they can be rather easy to do. Spark plugs deliver the park that ignites the fuel and air mixture in your engine. Over time, these can get fouled and degrade. If they don’t deliver the spark that your engine needs, your engine may begin to misfire, and that’s not good.

If you have OEM (standard/stock) spark plugs in your car, then consult your manual or dealer to determine when they should be changed. If they are aftermarket ones, check with the manufacturer.

When it comes to actually changing them, if you have a very compact engine bay, they may be challenging to get to. If you can’t get to all of them, I would suggest taking your car to a mechanic. You don’t want to run the risk of potentially damaging the threads of your engine block if you try to yank one out the wrong way. 

All that aside, if you can reach them all, it’s simple. Here is what you need:
  • Ratchet
  • Spark plug socket 

The most important thing to remember is going one by one. Your car has a very specific firing order (the order which the spark plugs get their spark). That may not be in sequential order. You can do a quick Google search to find out your car’s firing order is. 

Start with a plug located at one side/end, and work your way down if it’s an inline engine, or down and around if it’s a “V” engine (V6, V8, etc.) This just helps keep things in order. 

Grab the boot of your spark plug wire (the end attached to the spark plug), and pull it. You may need to wiggle it a little. It will “pop” off. This will expose the plug. Fit your socket around the plug, and begin loosening it. It may be firm at first, but it will free up. Depending on how much room you have to move the ratchet, it may take quite a few turns. 

Once it is out, discard it, and get your new plug. You should start threading it into the engine block by hand. This will help prevent cross-threading, which can cause some serious damage. After a couple turns, use your socket to finish the job. DO NOT over-tighten it. Get it firm, but not wrenched down. Take the boot of your previously disconnected spark plug wire, and push it down on the spark plug. It should “pop” into place. 

Repeat this for the rest of your plugs. Again, go one by one to not mess up the order. Once you are done, start up your car. It should run like normal. If it is rough, turn off the car and push down on all the wires to make sure they are firmly seated on the plugs. Confirm that the wires are running to the correct spark plug by checking are firing order diagram. 

There you have it! You’re done. See? I told you it wasn’t that bad. If you are more of a visual learner, check out the video below. What to see more stuff like this? Make sure you head on over and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for some exclusive content! Thanks for stopping by. 




Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ultimate Tune-Up

how to tune up yoru car clean throttle body clean maf run like new the random automotive














It’s an unfortunate fact of a car’s life that when it gets old, it gets worst. Sometimes it’s obvious when something breaks, but other times it’s harder to tell when it simply doesn’t run the way it used to. For a couple bucks, and few minutes of your time, you can make your car run almost like new again.

You don’t need any advanced mechanical skills. All you need to do is buy some specific cleaners, a couple tools (that you probably have most of already), and just a few minutes of your time. Yes, you can make your car run so much better that cheaply, and in about 30 minutes. Here’s how…

First off, if you’re new to vehicles and not exactly sure where parts are, check out The Random Automotive’s guide: Car Basics – What’s Under the Hood.

Fuel System/Injector Cleaner

As time goes on, deposits can build up in your fuel system, including your fuel injectors. Fuel injectors are what spray the correct amount of gas into your engine, which is then ignited by the spark plugs. Injectors are expensive, so it is best to take care of them. Taking care of them also allows your engine to receive the correct amount of fuel that it needs.

At any auto parts store, or even Walmart, you can find a fuel system cleaner. I picked Gumout, but a very popular brand is also Seafoam. Seafoam takes bit more effort, so take note of that. Follow all instructions on the bottle. Basically what it comes down to is to run your gas tank to nearly empty, empty the correct amount of cleaner into your gas tank, and then fill up. It should help break up carbon deposits in your engine, and clean your injectors.

Change your Air Filter

For you to live, you have to breathe. Your car is no different. Your engine pulls in air through its intake system, that air is mixed with the fuel from your injectors, and your sparkplugs ignite the mixture. The first part of the intake system is your air filter.

This is generally located in your airbox. You can check your manual or online to find out where it is in your vehicle. If your filter is brown and covered in leaves, it’s time to change it. It’s only a couple bucks at your local auto parts store, and it’s simply a matter of pulling the old one out and putting the new one in. Your car needs clean air, like you.


Clean your Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF)

Now things get a bit more “mechanical,” but are still very easy. Your mass airflow sensor is located after your air filter in your intake tube. It’s made of some electronic components that read and measure the air coming in. Based off those readings, it will tell the engine how to run: how much fuel, idle speed, and so on. So, if this gets dirty, you could get false readings, and your car may not run as well.

For a couple bucks, you can pick up some MAF cleaner. Locate your sensor in your intake tube. Normally it either splits your tube into two pieces, or is something that is stuck into it. It generally is the only thing directly past your air filter that has an electric connector going to it. Pop that connector off, then unscrew or unclamp it, and carefully remove it. Follow the directions on the can, but you generally spray it down and reinstall it. Be careful not to touch or damage the diodes on the MAF, or your car may not run correctly.

This will make a world of difference, especially if you’ve never done this before to your car.

how to tune up yoru car clean throttle body clean maf run like new the random automotive
how to tune up yoru car clean throttle body clean maf run like new the random automotive

Clean your Throttle Body

This is one of the more advanced things we’ll be doing, but it will help a lot. Your throttle body controls how much air actually enters the engine. Inside the body of the throttle body itself is a valve or two that open and close to control the flow of air. Over time, carbon and other grim will form on and around it. This can cause your car to sputter or stall at idle or in park. 

Like everything else, you can pick up throttle body cleaner for a couple bucks. Do not use carburetor cleaner. Unclamp and pull back or remove your intake hose from the throttle body. This will expose the valve. Spray your cleaner onto an old cotton t-shirt. Begin gently wiping down the inside of the housing and the valve. You’ll need to clean the behind and the backside of the valve. Gently push the bottom of the valve to open it. Use your other hand to clean the backside and the rest of the housing behind it. Don’t push too aggressively. Most newer throttle bodies are electronically controlled, and you don't want to damage the motor.

how to tune up yoru car clean throttle body clean maf run like new the random automotive
how to tune up yoru car clean throttle body clean maf run like new the random automotive

Change your Sparkplugs

Sparkplugs are what is responsible for the combustion of your engine. Check your manual as to when they need to be replaced. Replacing them could be simple, or a major pain in the ass depending on where they are located. Make sure you can access each plug before you begin. You will need your new plugs, a ratchet, and sparkplug socket.

It's a simple as removing your spark plug wire, unscrewing the old plug, putting the new one in, and reinstalling your wire. The biggest thing to make sure of is that you’re putting the wire back on the plug you took it off of. If you don’t, it could mess up your car’s firing order. To make it easy, just replace one at a time.

how to tune up yoru car clean throttle body clean maf run like new the random automotive

So there you have it! For about $20 (minus the cost of the sparkplugs) and about thirty minutes of your time, you can make your car run almost like new again! Going to a shop to do this would probably cost you over $100. Take care of your car, and it will take care of you! 

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Rotting in Style - 1980 Camaro Z28 Barn Find!

abandoned 1980 camaro z28 barn find atlanta 350 t-tops red random automotive rotting in style














As always, it’s been a while. Christmas was my first day off in 113 days before having a day off. Since then, I’ve only had about two. Anyway… Since you know I like abandoned cars, you should have guessed I like abandoned buildings too. I love the broken glass, the rust, and decay.  


Now, two years ago in was in Atlanta on business. When I’m in a new area, or somewhere I’m only every now and then, I step out of my hotel, pick a direction, and walk. And that is how I found this. You ready? A 1980 Camaro Z28 barn find!

abandoned 1980 camaro z28 barn find atlanta 350 t-tops red random automotive rotting in style

abandoned 1980 camaro z28 barn find atlanta 350 t-tops red random automotive rotting in style

I only had my phone, so excuse the quality of the pictures and videos. I only got the driver side and rear driver side. The building was locked and the only way in was through a half broken window that was right on the edge of a 15 foot drop into bushes that I was already half standing on anyway trying to hold onto the window frame while avoiding the broken glass. It wasn’t exactly fun, but it was entertaining. Does that make sense? 

It was also right on a street, and there were some guys down the road working at another building. I’m a Ford guy, so if this was a Mustang, I’d risk the lacerations. However, it was really sweet to see a barn find. I also figured I had to show it, since you guys have really seemed to like abandoned Camaros in the past.  


This car came with a 350 that made 190 horsepower, which will cause me to say again that I love 80s cars for looks, hate them for the lack of power. Here are some other fun facts about this car:  

Facts
45,137 Z28s made in 1980
¼ mile at 16.4 sec @ 86 mph
Factory color “red orange” with a tan interior 

So there you have it. A really nice barn find. Now, you have friends that like Camaros, right? Share this post and video with them! Make sure you head on over and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for some exclusive content! Thanks for stopping by.




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