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Using Code Scanners to Diagnose Car Problems

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Car Engine Code Scanner

In a previous article, we told you to never ignore the Check Engine Light (CEL) because doing so could potentially lead to a serious issue that could prove costly to fix. Now, in determining what the problem might be, the first thing your mechanic usually does is plug in a code scanner to “read the codes.”

In most modern cars and trucks, the fuel injection, ignition system and automatic transmission are controlled by computers. These computers collect operating data from the engine and other systems on the car and then send commands to the ignition coils, fuel injectors and other systems. They also store a great deal of this operating data in memory so technicians can get insight into what’s been going on when service is needed.

When the CEL light on your car’s instrument panel goes on, it means that one of the computers (usually the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), which stores all the engine error codes) is receiving data from a sensor that indicates something isn’t working correctly. The PCM also stores a diagnostic code so that a service technician knows where to look for the problem.

Basically, what code scanners do is interface with a car’s “PCM module,” allowing the user to professionally diagnose the problem and solve it quickly. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do the same thing? Well, you can!

Code scanners were very expensive not long ago and mostly intended for use by service technicians. Today, y from as low as $30 for a simple code reader to around $400 for a full-featured machine.

Using a code scan tool is surprisingly simple. To get started, just plug the scan tool into the OBD II connector under the dash of your car. (If you can’t find the connector, consult your owner’s manual. There are also many informative websites and forums that can help you locate it.) After connecting it, turn the car’s key on and follow the scan tool’s onscreen instructions. Eventually you’ll get an option to check for trouble codes, which you should write down.

To interpret the codes, refer to the scan tool’s manual or make a quick search on Google by typing in the model of your car followed by the code number that the scan tool display. There are dozens of that can help you diagnose what the problem might be.

As good as online resources are, they are not always accurate. The ultimate resource is to have your local dealer, like the professionals at Mr. Ed, take a look at your car.

Now that you can cheaply read your car’s codes like a pro, will you?

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Advice

How Can I Take A Registration Off A Vehicle And Retain It?

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The process is a lot more straightforward than you probably thought.

You are now able to transfer a registration number from one vehicle to another or apply to retain it directly through the DVLA website. Once the application is completed, the number plate will be removed instantly and your vehicle will receive its old number plate back or a new one in fitting with its age.

It is also possible to apply via post using a V317 form, which can be sent to the DVLA, Personalised Registration, Swansea SA99 1DS.

How Much Does It Cost?

If you want to apply to retain your number plate it costs £80, and this amount is stated on the V778 Retention Document. This is the only charge that will be taken from you for the process.

However, if you do decide to retain your plate, this certificate lasts for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10 years free of charge.

What Are The Regulations?

  • You have to be the registered keeper of the vehicle that the plate is assigned to
  • The vehicle must be registered with the DVLA
  • The vehicle must be taxed or declared SORN for the last 5 years without gaps
  • The vehicle must have an MOT and be able to move in-case of inspection
  • It cannot be transferred if the plate begins with a Q or QNI
  • You will also need the V5C (log book) for the vehicle with the number plate

Passing the number plate to someone else

If you decide to pass the number plate onto someone else, this can be done by selling your private plate to them or, if you’re feeling generous, simply giving it to them. If you want to sell the plate, it is possible to do so through private companies online, who will advertise for you to their large customer base.

Having looked online ourselves, a company like such as appears to be a great place to start. They will help find a buyer for the plate and have you follow the same process with the DVLA for passing it onto the buyer.

Passing the number plate onto someone else (the grantee) can be done if:

  • You want to sell the number plate
  • You want to retain the number plate until you put it on a vehicle registered in someone else’s name (i.e. the nominee).

In order to do so, you must fill out a V317 form and have it sent to the DVLA to BB be processed and approved. When filling out the form, the registered keeper must fill out sections 2,3 and 9.1. If you want to put a grantee’s details on the document then complete 9.1; if you want to add a nominee, complete 9.2.

If you want to apply through the DVLA website then you simply follow the instructions on screen, this service is available from 7am and 7pm and unlike via postal service, your registration will be removed instantly.

Even though the number plate that has been retained can be assigned to a vehicle registered in the name of the grantee or the nominee, it is only the grantee that has rights to the registration.

What’s Next?

During the application process, the DVLA might ask to inspect your car, and you must oblige. It might take four weeks for the inspection to complete, but if and when your application is approved, you will be sent a new registration certificate for your vehicle and either the old plate or a new one to coincide with the year it was originally registered.

If you requested to retain the number plate in another person’s name (the grantee), the V778 will be sent marked to them at their address.

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Car Accident? Here’s How Fault Is Determined, And The Types Of Claims

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The last thing you want after sustaining damage is to have your insurance company refuse your claim…

Getting into a car accident is certainly not fun, especially if it results in serious injury and/or damage, but it is definitely important to know what to do after you’re involved in one. And what you may have been told by your insurance company may not be the best course of action when trying to get the compensation you deserve from an insurance claim.

After a car accident, the normal course of action would be to first and foremost call the police. You follow this up by getting in touch with your insurance company, filing a police report, ing your insurance adjuster, and having your insurance claim evaluated. Once all of that is done, you get your claim paid.

Unfortunately, things don’t always work out like that. More often than not, car accident insurance claims take forever, and your insurance company may not want to pay out as much as you had hoped, or pay at all!

According to the , “Many car accident victims rely on their insurance agency to honor the agreed-upon terms of their policy. However, in some cases when the insurance company fails to take action quickly or refuses to pay, car accident victims may be left to face serious financial consequences alone.”

It’s important to know the facts about car accident insurance claims, and it very well could be in your best interest to call a lawyer before ing your insurance company to ensure all your legal bases are covered. Let’s take a deeper look.

Who’s Really at Fault After a Car Accident?

Determining fault in a car accident is critical to your insurance claim. This is due to the responsibility your insurance company will have in the matter. There are a few .

Insurance Adjusters

Insurance adjusters are usually able to determine fault in a car accident. He or she will examine the police report, written statements made by both accident parties, witnesses, etc. to get a clear picture.

While your adjuster and the other driver’s adjuster will do their due diligence to find fault, they may not see eye to eye and things could escalate to legal action.

Your Insurance Company Could Act as Your Legal Representation

If fault can not be agreed upon by the two insurance adjusters, you may be in store for a legal case in court. This can also happen if you are sued by the other driver in a personal injury lawsuit.

In any of these cases, your insurance company can represent you legally, though this may not be the best option. Getting a personal injury lawyer yourself can be the best course of action to avoid serious penalties.

Don’t Be Shocked if Fault is Shared

In some states, fault can be shared by both parties in the car accident. If you have any small part in it, be prepared to share fault and potentially not get your insurance claim paid out in full, or at all. This depends on the type of insurance you have.

What You Need to Know About Property Damage Insurance Claims

When it comes to repairing your car, you will need to get your property damage insurance claim paid out after a car accident. But this can be a bit more difficult than you think. For example, you shouldn’t get any repairs done to your car before the insurance adjuster has inspected the damage. If you do, you may not get compensated fully for your out of pocket car repairs.

If you’re not happy with your insurance company’s damage settlement, you can appeal it. To do this, talk to your insurance agent, request a third-party appraisal, state regulators, and even get an attorney if needed. This may seem like a lot of work, but it is worth it, because you shouldn’t have to pay for pricey damages.

What You Need to Know About Bodily Injury Insurance Claims

In countries like the United States, paying for car repairs out of pocket is nothing compared to paying for medical treatment after a car accident. This makes it vital to get your bodily injury insurance claim paid in full. One of the best ways to do this is to get medical injuries documented early and often.

For instance, go to the hospital immediately after a car accident, or as soon as pain or injuries become present. When dealing with personal injuries after a car accident, it may be best to get a personal injury attorney. They have the expertise to ensure you get compensation for medical costs, as well as get insurance claims paid.

In Conclusion . . .

Car accidents can be costly in a number of ways, and like most people, you depend on the agreement with your insurance provider to cover any agreed-upon costs. From damage to bodily injury, getting the compensation you need to recover and go about your life post accident is essential. Do your due diligence and know exactly what steps to follow after a car accident.

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Advice

Top 5 Basic Maintenance Procedures For Your Caravan

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Caravan home being towed

Following these five basic maintenance procedures will help make sure your caravan is always ready for your next big trip.

If you are considering investing in a caravan, as with all expensive pieces of equipment, maintenance is something that cannot be overlooked. The holiday season really does put any and all caravans through a lot, making the winter months an ideal time for carrying out essential maintenance to ensure that, come next spring, your caravan will be ready to take you and your family to new and exotic locations.

Here are a few of the basics you should look at when maintaining your caravan.

Check Wheel Bearings

A Caravan’s wheel bearings should be checked every year or after 10,000 kms (whichever comes first) and they tend to need replacing more often than in a typical car. Signs of worn wheel bearings include a squeaking sound, and if they do look like they need replacing, simply order a set from your local parts supplier, who would likely be able to fit them too. For instance, if you are in Australia and looking to buy a unit, there are

For instance, if you are in Australia and looking to buy a unit, there are who have an extensive catalogue of new and used caravans for sale. If you already have a caravan, one that is hopefully stored in a secure facility, they might even offer maintenance services.

Check Brakes

Whether they are traditional or electric brakes, your brakes are essential for your safety and should always be working correctly. If they haven’t been used for a while, tow the caravan around the block, gently applying the brakes. This should address the potential issue of sticking due to long periods of inactivity.

The handbrake can sometimes become stuck if left on for long periods, so always check that it is lubricated and firmly in the off position prior to setting off.

Check Tyres

Tyres should be (at least 2mm) and also for bulges or tears in the tyre walls. Tyres that have been sitting idle for the winter can sustain damage, so it is essential that you check them for wear and tear and have them replaced if necessary.

It is always advisable to change the tyres on both sides to maintain an even wear for a more stable ride. Finally, tyres that are more than 5 years old should be replaced even if they look fine, seeing as the rubber can harden and easily deflate under pressure.

Check The Battery

The battery terminals should be disconnected whenever the caravan is not in use and stored in a dry place. If there is corrosion on the battery terminals, clean them off with a wire brush before reconnecting them.  Charge the battery at least a few days before your first outing of the season to ensure that you have all the power you need.

Check Gas Connections

Your mobile home’s gas connections should be checked prior to every trip, and pay particular attention to old piping, which could easily leak.  Test all appliances to make sure they are working properly. If in doubt, it’s best to replace the piping and the connectors for some peace of mind.

If you have a hot water heater, check for corrosion and any adverse effects on the sacrificial anode. Speaking of the anode, make sure it’s replaced every 2 or 3 years even when it’s not damaged.

Ask For Help

You want your caravan to always be ready to transport you and your family to the next exotic location on your list. If you don’t have the time to service it before your next holiday, an online search should bring up the details of a local garage who can give the caravan a close inspection. Just make sure you do the necessary work.

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