The Car Geek: October 2005

The Car Geek

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bluetooth Hack on Toyota Prius Proven False

Today’s cars are increasingly becoming more computer-based than mechanical. One of the most advanced vehicles today is the Toyota Prius, currently the best selling hybrid gasoline-electric car in the market. Priuses also use a Bluetooth system similar to some models of the high-end Lexus brand. Toyota uses Bluetooth technology to transfer phone book information from a cell phone to the car’s built in phone. Because of this, there have been recent reports that suggest the possibility of remotely hacking the computer system of certain cars using a Bluetooth-enabled phone.

F-Secure, a Finnish security firm tried to prove or disprove these reports by attempting to hack a 2005 Toyota Prius using Bluetooth test phones and PCs at their underground facility. However, F-Secure, despite repeated attempts only managed a minor Bluetooth hack. A corrupted phone name froze the onboard display but otherwise the Prius Bluetooth system remained more stable. F-Secure had to reboot their test systems while the Prius’ Bluetooth system just kept going.

At one point the F-Secure team believed they have succeeded hacking the car’s system when the car’s doors locked, warning lights lit up and the onboard computer registered a serious failure. However, the problem had nothing to do with Bluetooth but simply a low battery. These reports on alleged virus infections on Bluetooth enabled vehicles have been circulating for some time now although there have been no details of actual infections published yet.

Read more and explore the marvel of the automobile from the best online automotive information resource, Auto Parts Inner. The site offers an in-depth look into the automotive with detailed animations, definitions and explanations. Auto Parts Inner also offers high quality auto parts including Toyota parts, engine parts, exhaust parts, bumpers, headlights, spoilers, even accessories like floor mats, body kits and others.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Must-Have Automotive Tools Every Car Owner Needs

All cars require regular maintenance to keep it in good working condition for as long as possible. However, as a car grows older its maintenance becomes progressively more important. Both minor and major automotive problems will increase in frequency. This translates to higher maintenance costs through regular trips to auto shops, the purchase of replacement parts and other expenses.
However, some slight auto problems can be fixed at home using the proper tools and knowledge. This will allow you to save money as well as learn more about your car and its maintenance. Here are some must-have auto tools that every car owner needs to have in their trunk or garage.
  1. Jack and jack stands - Since most car jobs require the car to be elevated, a jack and jack stands are tools every car owner must have in handy. Jack and jack stands help make every part of the car accessible and will be very useful in simple procedures such as rotating tires and changing oil. You don’t have to go to auto shops and pay to have these done. Drivers should also have jack, jack stands and a spare tire in the trunk as a preparation for the unfortunate event of a flat tire.
  2. Oil wrench - Changing the oil every 3,000 miles is one of the most vital car maintenance practices. Oil change is actually a very simple procedure and any driver can do it by themselves. However, the proper tools and knowledge is necessary. An oil change would be impossible without an oil wrench to allow you to change the oil easily.
  3. Vice grips - A pair of solid vice grips is indispensable in any car. It helps you to tighten and loosen parts, bolts, nuts and numerous other applications. Vice grips give you more leverage in tightening and loosening these parts.
  4. 3/8-inch Socket Set - The automobile is a complicated machine and most important auto parts are inaccessible without the proper tools. A socket set will help you loosen and tighten those inaccessible bolts. Extensions will help you attain the best angles for torque.

There are other small yet important household tools that you may find useful when doing repair and maintenance jobs in your car. Funnels, rags and buckets will prove useful when changing oil. Screw drivers, spray lubricant and fasteners will make working on screws, bolts and nuts easier. Having these tools and having the proper knowledge to use them and do the job by yourself will definitely do wonders in your car maintenance expenses. For minor problems and jobs, you don’t have to pay your mechanic to have it done. You can do some research on the every aspect of the automobile. Resources such as Auto Parts Inner provide a very informative and enlightening view of the automobile and of various automotive systems.

Meanwhile, another important aspect of maintaining your car is ensuring that every part is still in quality condition. Replace damaged and worn out parts at the first sign of trouble. Defective parts will have a negative effect on the other parts around it, so it is better to have them replaced as soon as possible. Auto Parts Inner also offers high quality auto accessories and replacement parts such as Volvo parts, Pontiac parts and GM parts to name a few. You can be sure that auto parts from Auto Parts Inner meet the highest standards in the auto parts industry.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Keep Your Car Cool

Your car's cooling system plays an important role in keeping your ride comfortable and enjoyable. Unfortunately, not a lot of people pay attention to the cooling system, except of course, when it's too hot, or too cold, or when it starts "fooling around". The result of snubbing your car's cooling system is often "crisis repairs" - and expensive ones at that. The Automotive Cooling System Institute offers the following advice to keep the car's cool, including yours:

  • Flush dirt, bugs and leaves from front of radiator with a brush and garden hose
  • Inspect the radiator cap. Replace it if the rubber gasket is broken, dried out, or missing.
  • Check the condition and level of coolant. If it is rusty, clean the system and replace with a 50/50 mixture of water and ethylene glycol anti-freeze Inspect radiator and radiator hoses for leaks, cracks or soft, mushy condition. Tighten all clamps. Replace hoses as needed
  • Look for the heater hose running from the engine, through the fire wall, to the heater core under the dash. Replace swollen or cracked hoses. To check the hoses, start the engine and turn on the heater. If after ten minutes the hoses are cool, they could be clogged
  • Inspect all engine belts for wear and cracks. Replace if worn, cracked or glazed. Adjust loose belts. Note: Some engines have a V-ribbed belt that drives some or all of the accessories. If the belt grooves show excessive cracks or "chunking", replace the belt
  • Check the thermostat operation by running the engine for 10-15 minutes. Generally, it's OK if you can feel warm coolant surging through the upper hose. Beware of an engine that runs too hot or too cool. Tighten loose bolts on the thermostat housing at the engine
  • Clean the engine exterior. Excessive oil and dirt will hide leaks, or insulate the engine, causing it to run hot.

Don't take your car's cooling system for granted. If you need replacement for a Honda radiator, a Chevy A/C condenser, or Dodge truck parts, visit trusted online auto parts stores like Auto Parts Inner where you can find premium quality auto parts at prices that won't leave you out in the cold.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

How to Detect a Problem in your Radiator

The radiator is an important part of the engine system that is designed to dissipate the heat which the coolant has absorbed from the engine. If you take a trip down into the bowels of a vehicle's radiator system, you'll see that it is composed of tubes and passages which hold a large amount of water in contact with the atmosphere. In operation, water is pumped from the engine to the receiving tank. There it spreads over the tops of the tubes. The water acts as a coolant preventing the engine from overheating.
Overheating is a common problem in ay vehicle. Here are a few simple steps you can do to determine a problem in your radiator and find a solution:
  • Inspect the radiator overflow when the radiator is cold. Open the radiator cap and check inside the radiator.

  • If the radiator is empty, fill with water or antifreeze and close. Low coolant level is the main cause of overheating.

  • If the water is rusty, flush it our and replace. If this does not solve the problem, you may have to replace your radiator.

  • If the radiator is leaking, empty it and fix up with a commercial radiator sealant. If the leak is severe, you may have to replace your radiator.

  • Inspect the both lower and radiator hoses and make sure they are securely clamped to the radiator and show no signs of leaks.

  • Have your car checked by a professional auto mechanic.
If the radiator is defective and damaged beyond repair, replacement is the only option so that the performance of the engine is not endangered. High quality replacement radiators can be purchased from Auto Parts Inner, the leading source of auto information and top quality auto parts. They have a huge array of auto parts that are guaranteed to serve your needs reliably. Auto Parts Inner is the first choice for radiators, A/C condensers, fuel tanks and other important auto parts.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Rust: Slowly but surely destroying your car's body

Rust is one of the most destructive corrosive forces that inflict damage to all metal parts of your vehicle. Steel is strong and will last virtually forever if it is protected from the elements. However, when the protection is breached, even the slightest scratch or dent can expose you're the metal to the slow, destructive power of rust. Rust damage can go unnoticed until the damage is quite serious. It can literally put a hole right through the metal.

Rust damage can start even from the smallest scratch or dent. These scratches, bumps and dents may happen unnoticed anytime, for instance while parking or turning a sharp curve. Although we can be very careful while driving, these scratches and dents are bound to happen in the lifetime of our cars. The paint cover is also bound to get chipped over time, thus exposing the metal underneath to the elements. In such cases, cover paint chips and scratches immediately. A quick solution until you can get some touchup supplies is to dab a little clear nail polish on the spot.

If your car's paint is showing signs of damage, you can buy touchup paint from your car dealer. There is touchup paint available for all vehicles ever built. Check your car's manual to know the exact paint code for your car. You can also have a scratch repair kit in handy, just in case you need to repair a deep scratch. Otherwise, you can go to your nearest car repair shop and have your vehicle’s scratches and dents repaired.

However, if the damage is substantial, you can always order a replacement for the damaged part. For instance, if your Ford fender has incurred serious damaged due to rust or other causes, you can easily order a replacement fender whose quality matches the original part. Even your BMW bumpers, GMC tailgate, Toyota door handles, or Chevrolet hoods for instance can all be damaged by rust, but you can purchase a replacement part from the leading auto parts stores.

Preventive maintenance is, of course, still easier and more effective than corrective measures. On the other hand, if replacement is the only option, you should buy replacement parts only from a trusted auto parts store like Auto Parts Inner. Aside from offering a plethora of informative articles, animations and pictures on everything about the automotive, Auto Parts Inner also has an online auto part store offering a wide array of replacement and aftermarket parts.