Monday, April 20, 2015

Your Car 101 (Series) - Tint: Comparing Lifetime Warranties, Apples to Apples.

Ah tint.  After tinting for many many many years now, the market has proven to be competitive.  The last question of most phone calls end in "...and does it come with the lifetime warranty?"

The problem is, the average person does not understand that a lifetime warranty does not mean it's a quality tint.  Tint shops generally do not tell you, it's a limited lifetime warranty and not an unlimited lifetime warranty, which is usually assumed.

Here's where the fine print comes in.  Limited lifetime warranty usually means that the warranty is only honored to the original purchaser of the product.  In other words, if you buy a vehicle with a lifetime warranty tint, the warranty is not transferable and that warranty is null and void to you.  You see, tint manufacturers are taking a risk.  They are betting on you selling your vehicle before the tint encounters any issues.  Some are taking a higher risk by using cheaper products.  Some are not and use higher quality components.

Sure, but your'e covered if you were the one that paid for the tint originally, right?  Well, sure.  But that's also depends on how the shop handles the situation.  Most tint manufacturers will reimburse shops for the film, but not the labor to remove or re-install the new tint.  Therefore, some shops may pass this extra expense on to you, the consumer.

The other part of the warranty usually states it does not cover abuse, neglect, mishandling, or abuse of the film.  That can be tricky and is open to loose interpretations by the tint manufacturer.

Also, some tint manufacturer have multiple lines of tint, each with its own set of warranty guidelines.  Be sure to pick the one that meets your expectations.

So the next time you shop around for tint, research not only the recommendations you're getting on the shop itself, but also on the brand and series of film they carry.  You might find you aren't getting what your expecting.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Your Car 101 (Series) - What does it mean when they say my vehicle has a misfire?

If your car is running alone in almost a jerking motion, then you may hear from the mechanic that your car has a misfire.  Or maybe you have a check engine code reader that is displaying Cylinder engine misfire.  What does that truly mean?

So basically, whether your car is a 3, 4, 6, or 8 cylinder (or more), there is a specific sequence in which each cylinder operates.  Why?  By alternating when the cylinders produce power, it allows the car to move forward in what feels like a seamless motion.  Let's back up a bit and look at what happens in each cylinder. Each cylinder goes through 4 stages, also called a cycle in the car world.

In the 1st cycle, the intake valve opens, and air enters the cylinder.  Also, fuel is sprayed as a fine mist and the rod moves down to fill the cylinder.

In the 2nd, the rod in a natural motion moves up, compressing the air and fuel mixture.

In the third, the spark plug ignites the air/fuel mixture, shoving the rod down, and producing the power that moves the car.

And lastly, the rod then moves back up, pushing the spent fuel out of the cylinder as the exhaust valve opens.

Image Credit to

All of these events have to work in the perfect sequence in all cylinders.  If all cylinders ran at the same time, then your car would have 100% power during the third stage without any additional power until stage 3 came around again.  Imagine sprinting for 1 minute and taking 3 minutes to slow to a stop then hit a full sprint again. That would be hard on your body, just as it would be bad for the car.  Not to mention a very uncomfortable drive.  The goal is to alternate the cylinders so that it would be closer to a 4 minute jogging period, evening the power throughout the drive.

Now back to the misfire.  When your issue is labeled as a misfire, one of the components caused the third stage to not happen.  Either air or fuel or spark isn't making it into the cylinder.  This could be caused by a number of things, including but not limited to a clogged fuel injector, bad spark plug, or even a severed spark plug wire.  Through this, the mechanic can run through a process of elimination and isolate the problem at hand.