What is a Feeler Gauge?

What is a Feeler Gauge?
By: J. Dillinger

I have seen a few of these around but never knew the purpose of them. Let’s break down what a feeler gauge is.

Feeler gauges are used to measure the gaps in widths between 2 objects. Feeler gauges are made of different thicknesses and lengths. There are two types of units that the feeler gauge uses to measure, the imperial (thousandths of an inch) and metric (millimeter). Feeler gauges are made out of either blades or wire. The wire feeler gauges are used to measure spark plugs.

The most common Feeler gauges are made from high-quality carbon steel and have a very smooth finish. Blade Feeler gauges can also come in an assortment of stainless steel, brass and plastic. However, metal feeler gauges are easier to maintain and have a better wear resistance.

To use a feeler gauge make sure you examine them before each use. Do this by spreading them out making sure they rust-free, but slightly oiled for easy movement. Select one of the smaller blades or wires and try inserting it into the space. If it slips out easy choose the next side up. When both sides of the gauge touch the gap and it moves with gentle pressure, then you’ve found the correct feeler gauge for that gap.

Blade Feeler Gauge

A blade feeler gauge can also be called a flat feeler gauge. A set generally comes in a holder and contains a series of blades with different thicknesses that are stamped for easy identification. A blade feeler gauge is generally flexible and can be used to reach hard places.

Blade Feeler Gauge Example (KDT161)

Blade Feeler Gauge Example (KDT161)

Wire Feeler Gauge

The wire feeler gauge is a series of round wires with different thicknesses in a holder usually bent into a U shape and are less flexible than the Blade Feeler Gauge. These wire feeler gauges are more frequently used in the automotive industry.

Wire Feeler Gauge Example (KDT2327)

Wire Feeler Gauge Example (KDT2327)

In case you need a combo unit, there are a few manufacturers that make blade/wire feeler gauge sets. Sometimes having one tool is better than having to keep track of two!

Combo Feeler Gauge Example (KDT164)

Combo Feeler Gauge Example (KDT164)

To see the entire feeler gauge category, click HERE!

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Sources: Wikipedia, Cdxtextbook.com, Wisegeek.com

It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here!

The hot summer weather is blowing in quick! As important as it is to prepare your vehicle for winter, it is just as important to prepare it for the hot summer temperatures. Below I have listed a few tips to get your vehicle in tip-top shape for this summer season.

sun

 

 

 

  • Check your tire pressure – If your tires are under-inflated, this will cause the tire to bulge which will add pressure to the sidewalls of the tire. After enough heat and pressure has affected the tire, BOOM! It will eventually blow. Also, n over-inflated tire makes less contact with the surface of the road and can cause you to hydroplane during the spring and summer storms.
    See what tire pressure gauges are in stock HERE!

Did you know?? – Tire pressure changes with rising temperatures, approximately one to two PSI for every 10 degree increase in outside air temperature.

tire

 

 

  • Check your oil and oil filter – ROAD TRIP!!! Wait! Before you leave, make sure you check your oil and oil filter in the vehicle. Long distance drives mixed with hot temperatures can lead to an overheated engine.
    Need to change the oil? Drain Pans make your job easier!

Did you know?? – Oil keeps hardworking engine parts running clean, smooth and cool.

oil

 

 

 

  • De-winterize – Check all the fluids in your vehicle and check for leaks. If you are in extreme snow climates and have snow tires, take them off. Snow tires cause extra weight to the vehicle and are not fuel efficient. Also, clean the undercarriage of the vehicle from salt on the roads.
    Can’t see under your car? These inspection mirrors will help!

Did you know?? – The salt that is used to melt ice and snow on roads can get caked on the underside of your car and begin to eat away at the metal.

dewinterize

 

 

  • Check hoses, belts and filters – It is very important to keep the engine cool when driving in the summer heat. Check all of your hoses and belts for cracks, leaks or loose connections. Also, change your air filter if it is clogged with salt or other road debris.

Did you know?? – Replacing a dirty or clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%.

belts and hoses

 

  • Replace your wipers – The winter weather is hard on your wipers. You know, when you get impatient waiting for the windshield to defrost so you use your wipers to speed it up? Ya, I’m guilty. Also, it is important for your wipers to work for the spring and summer storms. I would hate to be stuck on the highway when a sudden storm hits without good wipers!

Did you know?? – At night, a storm can decrease visibility by 15 to 20 feet in front of your vehicle.

windshield

 

  • Keep your battery clean – Dead batteries are common in both winter and summer due to the extreme temperatures. You should detach the battery cables and clean the terminals often. Makes sure that your battery is strapped in correctly and is secure. Also, always make sure you are buying the correct battery for your vehicle if it needs to be replaced.

Did you know?? – Summer heat can speed up the chemical reaction inside a battery, causing the battery to be overcharged. This reduces battery life significantly.

battery

 

  • Maintain your AC – Most of the time, the cause of a malfunctioning AC is because of low refrigerant. This could be caused by a leak in the system. It is best to have a professional check out the problem since modern AC systems are so complex.

Did you know?? – The best way to tell if your air conditioner has a problem is if it can’t generate or maintain air temperatures that are 50 degrees Fahrenheit below the outside air temperature.

happysummer

Written by: Cheri Shue
Source: http://www.fleetpro.com/newsletter/?p=943

 

How to Change your Cabin Air Filter

The cabin air filter, a feature found on most late-model vehicles, cleans the air that comes into the interior through the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. It catches dust, pollen and other airborne material that can make riding in a car unpleasant.

Recommendations on when it should be replaced vary by manufacturer — some say every 12,000 or 15,000 miles, others longer — and how often can depend on how much you drive and where. Check the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual. If you drive in heavy traffic in an urban area that has poor air quality, you could need to replace the filter annually or even more often. However, that also could be true in a desert climate where there is a lot of dust.

Follow these steps bellow to change your air filter:

1. Obtain the replacement filter. You can buy one at your nearest dealership or you can shop around at an auto parts store or online.
2. Open the glove compartment all the way and remove the screw on the lower right side. Pull the loop from the arm over and off the cylinder where the screw was. Don’t lose the screw.
670px-Glovebox_filter_1
3. Squeeze the sides of the glove compartment together and pull to move the tabs past the edges, to the front of the dash. Then lift the entire glove compartment off its hinges.

  • Note that when it is too hard to push, instead of pushing both sides, you might want to try to push against the back of the glove box, while pulling on the front. This works, when squeezing the sides does not.

670px-Glovebox_filter_3

4. Remove the plastic cover by squeezing the tabs together. There are tabs on both sides, but the photo just shows one.
670px-Glovebox_filter_4
5. Slide out the old filter by pulling it towards you. Keep it facing up so that you don’t spill the debris.
670px-Glovebox_filter_5
6. Insert the new filter. The arrow that says UP should be pointing up, facing you, as shown in the photo.
670px-Glovebox_filter_6
7. Snap the cover back into place.
670px-Glovebox_filter_7
8. Place the glove compartment container back on its hinges and push it in so the tabs snap back behind the dash. You may have to squeeze the sides again, as you did when you took the glove compartment out.
Glovebox_filter_8
9. Replace the loop and the screw on the lower right.
Sources: WikiHow, Car & Driver










Got Gas?

Gas prices have been outrageous in the recent past.  Luckily, I have seen they have been dropping a bit but with the upcoming holidays I will not be surprised if they go through the roof again.

Here are some helpful tips that can save you gas and money.

Do not accelerate and brake hard – I tell my boyfriend this every time he drives my car. He thinks I’m full of it but anytime you slam on your brakes or floor it you can literally watch your gas tank drop. Go ahead, try it. When you come to a stop or accelerating slowly, fuel economy can actually increase by as much as 20%.

Don’t use your A/C unless you have to – Okay, in the summer time there is NO WAY I’m not using my A/C but on nice cool days it can actually save you some gas by not using it. Using the A/C puts an extra load on the motor causing it to have to use more fuel. On most vehicles, even the defroster you use on cold mornings when you go out to start your car, yea, that uses more gas too.

Keep your windows closed – No A/C AND your windows closed?  (It’s getting a little claustrophobic in here.)   Keeping your windows open, especially on the highway, will cause more drag and use up to 10% more gas than if you had them shut.

Don’t sit and idle – I was always told that turning off then starting your car used more gas than keeping on. Not true. If you are going to idle for more than one minute you should actually turn off your car.

Use cruise control – I never hit the highway without using my cruise. If you are going to be traveling a long distance, it’s best to use it to maintain a constant speed. Speeding up and slowing down will use up more of your gas.

Keep your car in good shape –I think it’s been a few years since my car has had one of these…but having a frequent “tune up” on your car and making sure the tires, filters, spark plugs, fluid levels etc. are all in good shape will save  you on gas in the long run.  If the car is not running at tip top shape then it is using extra fuel to make up for the lack.  

I think I will try to start using these gas saving tips from now on. They might not make a HUGE difference but every little bit helps, right?

Written by: Cheri Shue, Guest Blogger
Source: www.gasbuddy.com

 

When Should You Recharge Your Jump Starter?

 

A common question among jump starter owners…When do I recharge it to make sure it’s fully charged and ready to use?

Clore Automotive, a leading jump starter manufacturer, has devised a system to alert you when it’s time to recharge your jump starter.  Believe me…as soon as I found this site, I signed up!  It’s a pain to try and remember when to recharge your jump starter unit and try to remember when the last time was that you recharged it.  You don’t want to get stranded with a dead jump starter…kind of defeats the purpose huh?!?!

Check out the Clore Automotive getincharge page to sign up and receive email alerts quarterly reminding you to recharge your machine.  You’ll love it!

Until next time….Jay

Basic Hand Tools Every Home Mechanic Needs – Part 1

So…is it time to outfit your garage for the necessities in home automotive maintenance or upgrade your current tired/worn out tools to usable ones?  I’ve started to compile a list of basic hand tools that every home mechanic needs.  Whether you are tinkering with an old project or working on your family car, these tools and accessories will definitely come in handy and make it a bit easier to get the job done!

First off is the basic drop light, this drop light comes with a 50’ cord and 26 watts of light.  Coming in with a price tag of $145.22 and a top notch warranty, you can’t go wrong with the Saberlight 80010.

ATD-80010 $145.22

Moving on to the staple of your garage, a mechanic’s tool set.  There are so many tool sets on the market these days and of course most will do just fine.  One example of this set is the KD Tools (aka GearWrench) 80933.  This 216 piece set has so much to offer and comes in a handy carrying case.

KDT-80933 $185.55

Having the right tools in your garage to work on your vehicles efficiently, includes owning a basic code reader.  Code readers come in handy when that pesky check engine light decides to come on.  Generally, the plug to use this is located near the steering column in your car, out of the way.  A good reader that has come in handy at my house is the Innova 3120. As long as you have a car or light truck newer than 1996 (OBDII), then you should be able to use this tool.

INN-3120 $179.65

Rounding out the must-haves for today is a good solid drill/driver kit.   The one in my garage is getting a good workout and is standing up to all of the abuse I can throw at it.  Coming in at just under 5 lbs, the DeWalt DC720KA is my new best friend!

DWT-DC720KA $219.10

With that being said, I think 4 awesome must-have tools will be enough for today.  Stay tuned though and I’ll post more about the other great items that have shown up in my garage lately.

Do you have any of these in your garage already?  If so, I’d love to hear your personal experience with it!!










How to Install an Air Intake Manifold

You don’t need a mechanic to change your air intake manifold!  You got this!!

Alright gear heads, today we’re going to install an air intake manifold. When you install a performance air intake system, you gain a more efficient and powerful engine. A greater amount of oxygen is supplied to your engine’s combustion chamber, generating greater torque and more horsepower. Installing a performance intake also increases your gas mileage, and who doesn’t like having extra money.

The installation job itself is pretty darn simple, but it does take some elbow grease. You most definitely do not need to pay a mechanic to install an air intake system, plus we’re handy people, we’re going to do it ourselves. Follow directions and pay close attention to what is being removed, and from where, so that you can be confident in where to reattach everything when installation is complete.

The following directions should serve as a general guide to installing a cold air intake system:

Open your product’s packaging and make certain all necessary installation materials and hardware are accounted for. You don’t want to be stuck without an important part in the middle of an installation.

  1. Turn off your vehicle’s ignition, and disconnect your battery cables. Remove your radiator cover/dust shroud and remove your intake tube. If applicable, you will also need to remove your engine cover. Remove your crank case hose, and disconnect your vehicle’s electrical air flow sensors. Lastly, remove your air box and disconnect the mass air flow sensor from it.
  2. Assemble your intake’s heat shield. This will usually require attaching mounting brackets and rubber trim and then connecting your mass air flow sensor to its underside. Sometimes, you will be required to cut the rubber trim to the proper size. Remember to make absolutely certain you are following your product’s exact directions during this step, as the particular intricacies of each system differ. The most important consideration in this step is that you properly assemble your heat shield exactly as laid out in your product’s instructions. There should be a large tube end available to connect the air filter to the intake tube.
  3. When the heat shield is properly assembled, attach the air filter to the instructed position opposite where the intake tube will be attached (as the filter will feed directly into the tube). Tighten all necessary connectors. At the end of this process, you should have a piece of equipment similar in size to the air box which you previously removed. Your new system will fit into the vacated air box cavity.
  4. Install the heat shield/air filter combo into your engine cavity. Do what is necessary in this process to retain and properly use key components such as splash guards and mounting brackets. The factory mounting positions from which you removed your air box should be used to mount your new heat shield and filter, as your new intake system will be made specifically for your vehicle.
  5. Attach any vent fittings and remaining connective parts to your intake tube. Once ready, connect your intake tube to your heat shield/filter combination on one end and to your engine on the other. This may involve attaching and securing silicone hose ends, one to your throttle body and the other to the far end of the tube itself. However it is managed, this step entails seemlessly connecting your filter and heat shield to your throttle body.
  • Tighten and secure everything: all hose clamps, all gaskets, all bolts and fasteners. When we say tighten, we mean as tight as humanly possible. Under no circumstance is it advisable, or even acceptable, for these connectors to come loose at any moment during vehicle operation.
  • Reattach all vents and sensors unhooked in Step #2, including crank case vent hoses, battery cables, electrical sensors, engine covers, and/or radiator covers.
  • Make sure everything is properly attached and fully tightened. When you have determined this is so, start your engine and listen to that baby purr! It is recommended that every couple hundred miles you check your gaskets, fasteners, and hose clamps to ensure they’ve retained their tightness, at least through the first thousand miles. You can never be too careful, and bad things WILL happen if this system comes undone during operation.

Click Here for a video from K&N with detailed instructions

That is it! You are done. Doesn’t she sound great?

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Waterborne Paint Gun Cleaners

Comparison of the Waterborne Paint Gun Cleaners On The Market Today!

Have you been considering buying a waterborne paint gun cleaner?  It’s a tough decision to make…considering the price of the cleaners on the market.  After researching the top two brands…here is the down and dirty on the waterborne paint gun cleaners offered by Herkules and Uni-Ram.

First up we will look at a couple of Herkules waterborne paint gun cleaners.

G202 Waterborne Paint Gun Cleaner

The G202 Cleans 2 guns & 2 cups automatically in one minute!

The Herkules G202 is fully automatic and Made in the USA!  Herkules is a top brand in the automotive paint gun cleaner industry.  Click here to view their webpage devoted to Waterborne Paint Gun Cleaners.

Next up we will look at the Herkules G375, the Double Tank Paint Gun Washer.

Herkules Waterborne Paint Gun Washer G375

Herkules G375 Double Tank Paint Gun Washer

This waterborne paint gun washer is a beast! You can use both tanks exclusively for solvent cleaning or exclusively for waterborne cleaning, OR the left tank exclusively for waterborne cleaning & the right tank exclusively for solvent cleaning.  This washer has stainless steel tanks and is also Made in the USA!  What more could you ask for??

Moving on to the Uni-Ram washers…which are equally as impressive.

First up we have the Uni-Ram UM120W which is a manual gun cleaner.  This cleaner features the “GREEN” Water Recovery System and corrosion resistant construction.

UniRam Waterborne Paint Gun Cleaner UM120W

Uni-Ram Waterborne Paint Gun Cleaner UM120W

This machine has a powerful dual-diaphragm pump with a one year warranty on parts and labor and two year warranty on the diaphragm pump.  Check out this machine here.

Finally we are going to spotlight the “two-in-one” Uni-Ram waterborne paint gun cleaner.  This bad boy will get your paint guns clean with a capital C.

Uni-Ram Waterborne Paint Gun Cleaner UG5000W

Uni-Ram Combined Waterborne and Solvent Spraygun Cleaner UG5000W

This is a Dual, Two Tank Model, Right Tank equivalent to a UM120W, Left Tank to a UG4000E.  What more could you ask for??  Check it out here.

So, whether you are looking for a single tank or a dual tank, any of these models would work well for your shop.  Herkules and Uni-Ram are both excellent manufacturers of waterborne paint gun cleaners and you really can’t go wrong with either brand.

Do you own one of these already?  Send us your thoughts on the one you own and you could be featured in our next blog!

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Smartphone Scan Tool, Really?

Yes…you read the title right!  A Smartphone Scan Tool for the everyday person and home mechanic diy-er!

From what I am being told there is this amazing tool that you can buy for under $70.00 that you plug into your car.  You download the FREE app to your Apple or Android device and your smartphone becomes a scan tool.  No, you don’t need to reread that sentence.  It’s true!  Your smartphone becomes a scan tool!  How cool is that?!?!? That’s going to save you some serious cash and headache when a check engine light appears.

The Actron U-Scan Cellular Diagnostic Code Scanner provides do-it-yourselfers the ability to access vehicle diagnostics using their Apple or Android device. (That verbiage is straight from the manufacturer!)

I’m still in shock! This smartphone scan tool has been developed to provide essential information to help you repair your vehicle quickly and easily, while saving money.  Actron, the manufacturer, has even put out a pdf file giving more information about how this “Dongle” works (no I did not make that name up).  You can get that pdf here.

According to Actron, the smartphone scan tool is guaranteed to link to all 1996-Up vehicles. It has a Quick Check feature meaning it will read codes and definitions, erase codes and turn off the check engine light along with monitoring emissions.  On top of that it includes a Vehicle Activity Log that records the history of vehicle tests and diagnostics.  How cool is that!?!?

U-Scan™ Smartphone Scan Tool Vehicle Diagnostics  (ACT-CP9599)

U-Scan™ Smartphone Vehicle Diagnostics
(ACT-CP9599)

Anyone already own this smartphone scan tool that would be willing to give me a review?  I’d love to hear how it performs before I shell out the cash!

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Welders…and other welding equipment!

Happy Monday National Tool followers!  We’ve had several questions about welding supplies and the difference between MIG and TIG welders.  We have a huge selection of welding equipment to fit all of your automotive needs!  From Magnetic Induction Heaters all the way to Welding Helmets…we have what you need!

Easy-MIG™ 180 208/230-Volt AC Input Compact Wire Welder (LEW-K2698-1)

Easy-MIG™ 180 208/230-Volt AC Input Compact Wire Welder (LEW-K2698-1)

Stick/Lift TIG Welding System (VCTW1003203)

Stick/Lift TIG Welding System (VCTW1003203)

MIG vs. TIG Welders (courtesy of Lincoln Electric)

GMAW, commonly known as MIG welding, is an arc welding process which produces the coalescence of metals by heating them with an arc between a continuously fed filler metal electrode and the work.

The TIG process derives the heat for welding from an electric arc established between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and the part to be welded. Filler metal, if used, is manually feed into the weld puddle when TIG welding.

For a list of all MIG Welders available from National Tool, click here.
For a list of all TIG Welders available, click here.

National Tool Warehouse has a HUGE selection of welding equipment to fit most (if not all) of your automotive welding needs…be sure to check out our Welding Category page when you have a few free minutes.

We’d love to hear your stories about how you’ve used your welder you purchased from National Tool.  Email and let us know!

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