Chilton Editors' Blog

Chilton -- for all automotive enthusiasts, ChiltonDIY online automotive service and repair information, testing, diagnostics, specifications, repair procedures, technical service bulletins (TSBs), recalls, maintenance intervals
  • Under Pressure…Keeping Your Tires Inflated Will Make Them Last Longer and Your Vehicle Will Use Less Fuel Too!

    Even if you have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), as equipped on many newer vehicles, you should check your tire pressures regularly, at least monthly. Most tires lose one pound per square inch (psi) of air per month, assuming the temperature...
  • How to Restore Old Bolts

    f your wheel bolts are original, go to your car, pull one out and take a look at it (just one!): It's a simple threaded iron bolt likely covered in what appears to be a thick layer of dirt and/or grease. Upon closer inspection, the dirt and grease...
  • Oil Change: What is the best maintenance interval?

    By Jim Marotta Update: This article was first published in 2009. Due to advancements in vehicle and oil technologies, newer vehicles may be designed to go longer between oil changes without compromising the vehicle’s engine or sacrificing performance...
  • Color Safe: Why Are All School Buses Yellow? -- The Father of the Modern School Bus

    As students return to school this month from a long summer off, around 30 million of them will do so on a school bus as part of the largest transportation system in the country. And not only is that school bus yellow, but it is the exact same hue of yellow...
  • Getting Ready: 10 Things You Should Do Before You Start to Work on Your Car

    Story and photography by Ryan Lee Price It’s a bright and fresh Saturday morning and there’s no better feeling than being under the hood of a car doing some regular maintenance or tackling that long-procrastinated project. Whether you’re...
  • Replacing Worn Rear Shocks on a 2004 Ford F-150 in 8 Easy Steps

    Story and photography by Ryan Lee Price There are many ways to tell if you need to replace the shocks on your car or truck. They wear out over time and the older they get the higher the likelihood of them failing completely. If your car has excessive...
  • Can You Guess the Tool?

    Can you guess the tool in the photo? Back in the day, I used this little rascal a lot. Photography by Gene Hannon. When disc brakes first came on to the scene, we would overhaul them inhouse. We took things apart and repaired...
  • Tips for Taking On a Car Repair

    Story and photography by Gene Hannon, Jr. Before you start working on your car or truck here are some tips to guide you through the process. First, identify the job at hand. Are you trying to fix something (stop a leak, quiet...
  • 75th Anniversary of the Jeep: One Man Behind the Machine -- Karl K. Probst

    “ As to the riding qualities of the Jeep, a chiropractor should be standard for each car. ” —Charles “Harry” Payne The Jeep is ubiquitous as America itself. It has been to battle, to camp, to the highest mountain and the...
  • Repairing Damaged Bolt Threads

    Story and Photography by Ryan Lee Price Strip a thread? Break off a bolt head? Nothing can halt a project on its heels quicker than a broken bolt or fastener, stripped nut or rounded off capscrew. The weakest point of any design is where two pieces...
  • A Quick and Easy Way to Bleed Brakes

    Story and Photography by Ryan Lee Price One of the most important steps in making the brakes safe and reliable for everyday use is to properly bleed the system. The concept behind bleeding a brake system is to remove any air bubbles left in the lines...
  • Wrenches, Sockets, and More -- Automotive Hand Tool Basics

    Which automotive hand tools do you need? If you buy quality tools, they will last longer than your cars—or even you, but they can pay you back in just a few repair jobs..As you begin to perform maintenance on your car or truck, you might need to buy some...
  • BMW Beginnings: The Crucial Years of BMW’s Infancy

    The story of how BMW began is as confusing as any story about a major company’s initial development (see Cadillac’s early history ), made even more so by the language and business practices of another country. BMW’s emergence involved...
  • Air Pump Ailments – Secondary Air Injection Systems

    Spark-ignition engines produce the largest amount of pollution during a cold start. Until the engine and the catalytic converter reach operating temperature, more fuel is needed, producing larger quantities of carbon monoxide and unburnt hydrocarbons...
  • Gasoline Direct Injection

    A conventional fuel-injected engine supplies all cylinders with a mist-like mixture of air and fuel that is flushed into the cylinders during the intake stroke and ignited by the spark plug. The throttle valve determines how much of the air/fuel mixture...
  • How To Tell If Your Wheel Bearings Are Bad

    You Hear Noise While Driving When a wheel bearing or hub assembly is bad, it will usually make a noise. The noise can vary when you turn, and also with speed. A grinding noise indicates that your wheel bearings are bad, and you should replace...
  • Ford and Lincoln 4-Wheel Air Suspension

    Story and photography by Jim Marotta Ford introduced 4-wheel air suspension (4WAS) in 1995 and has since made it available on all three generations of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. System components: The electric air compressor...
  • Hybrid Battery Service

    Story and Photography by Jim Marotta One of only a few specialized tools necessary to work on a hybrid vehicle -- hybrid electric insulating gloves -- are required for safety when disengaging the battery pack for testing. The biggest obstacle...
  • Why Should I Rotate My Tires? Facts, Fiction, and Benefits

    By Gene Hannon Jr. “How come every time I have service work performed the shop always wants to rotate my tires?” Tires are one of the most critical components on our vehicles and most of us overlook them. If you...
  • What You Need to Know About Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

    By Jim Marotta A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) uses electronics to monitor the air pressure inside automotive tires. The system transmits real-time tire pressure information to the driver of the vehicle using a simple low pressure warning...
  • Which Antifreeze is Right for Your Vehicle?

    Back in the day, no matter which brand you chose, antifreeze was green. The glycol-based formula contained silicates as corrosion inhibitors. You mixed the antifreeze 50/50 with water and poured it in the radiator. As the engine operated, the antifreeze...
  • I Can See Clearly Now: Windshield and Wiper Care

    By Tracy Junker We’ve all been there. It is raining just enough to make a mess of the windshield, but not enough to really clean it. And the wiper blades just make the situation worse! It is easy to forget about wiper blades until we need...
  • Replacing CCFL Dashboard Light Bulbs

    By Gene Hannon Jr. Some dashlights, such as on some Infinitis, have CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp) bulbs, which need to be carefully replaced and soldered. If you determine a CCFL bulb needs replacement , look for a qualified...
  • Basic Vehicle Awareness - 3 Quick Checks

    By Gene Hannon Jr. We count on our vehicles to get us where we want to go safely. Most vehicles are reliable, but extreme weather and busy schedules can mean trouble for your vehicle. Basic vehicle awareness consists of simple little things we...
  • Stuck in the Snow

    By Tracy Junker Before you get stuck in the snow, here are some items to keep in your vehicle and some tips on how to get moving again. What to Carry in your Vehicle Small or collapsible shovel Boots (if you don’t regularly wear...