Car Gas Tank Replacement – What You Should Know

new gas tank

How do you know if your vehicle needs a gas tank replacement? If it has a leak,  smells of gasoline, or is corroded on the outside or has been sitting for so many years you don’t want to take any chances.

  Well, first off if it’s an antique and barn find, you might want to replace it. When a car sits for a long period of time (newer cars) gas can go bad and clog up the pump, the filter, and the carburetor (older cars) or fuel injectors. 

Fuel Tank Leak

gas tank leak

If it’s been sitting awhile like my wagon had been, the seam that connects the top and bottom part of the tank together may have rusted through and then the fuel leaks/evaporates out of the car. 

You will not see any leak on the ground usually unless it’s a good size hole and gasoline evaporates anyways. Just don’t light a match or smoke cigars/cigarettes near it. (It’s the fumes that burn not the actual fuel which is WHY you don’t smoke at the fuel pumps!)

The Fuel System Parts

If you’re going to replace the gas tank, you should consider buying all these parts at once. This way if they don’t get used, you can return them. 

As always when looking up parts it’s year, make, model and engine size. If you don’t know you can ask the garage or have someone at the dealership run the VIN (vehicle identification number) and it will tell you the engine size. 

You will need …. 

  • Gas tank with seal and ring
  • Gas tank straps
  • Sending unit/fuel pump
  • fuel line clips (sending unit)
  • 2 fuel hoses and clamps (gas neck)
  • Gas neck
  • fuel filter(s) with clips (some cars have more than one)

fuel tank part numberIf that type of vehicle has more than one size tank in it, you will need to find the one you have. I went to the dealer to ask what to look for in order to find the information on it. 

My Ford Taurus wagon (which is 25 years old)  has a number stamped on the tank that they need in order to find the right size.  I had to take that number to the dealer to have them look up the size. 

If someone is doing the work for you, it’s easier to get this stuff ahead of time. I love Rock Auto for this because the parts are spot-on and I find that  they are less expensive.

Yes, you have to pay for shipping, but at least if you plan for the repair, you’ll have everything you need to do it before your scheduled repair. 


    Make sure you run the fuel down towards empty! 


Ask How Long It Will Take

If you have things going on the day that the vehicle is due to be repaired, you may want to find out how long it’s going to take. I usually ask for worse case scenario because sometimes things don’t want to come off, something like a bolt breaks, or the person has a hard time getting the parts in or out.

If its going to be awhile and you have other scheduled things to do, then have someone pick you up at the garage and drop you off when the mechanics/technicians  are done working on the car.


Start Up

The mechanics/technicians at the garage will put fuel in and start the vehicle up and check for leaks. They may have to tighten some bolts if they seem loose or tighten the clamps on the hoses. 

Once everything looks good and there are no leaks you’ll be able to pay them and leave. 

If you bought the parts for someone to put into your car and there are ones that never got used, you should return them. 


I hope this article helped you in some way.  Please feel free to leave a question, comment or suggestion below.  Did you enjoy the article?

Car Oil Change Places – What You Should Know

In the cooler weather I prefer to bring my car to a local oil change place. The good thing is you don’t have to get under the car, you don’t need tools and you don’t need to buy the stuff because it’s included in the price. 

It’s important to know what type of oil is actually in your car. It should be listed in your owner’s manual under oil or specifications

It’s also important to know that they are required by their employer to check all your fluids and the pressure in your tires. They may want to see you something (which is called an upsell) like a new air filter, cabin filter (similar but different and more expensive), or anything else.

If they say you need something specific, have someone you trust that knows how to do that double-check it. If you don’t need it, don’t get it. You are NOT required to spend anymore than you need to. 

Types of Oil

Conventional oil is just the regular stuff that you can buy over the counter.  It needs to be changed between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. 

Synthetic oil varies depending on if your vehicle has the half conventional/half synthetic or completely synthetic oil.  

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Sometimes when you read a bottle oil synthetic oil it will say between 5,000 and 7,500 miles or more depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Also, the automotive industry says that vehicles over 75,000 miles is considered high mileage. There is oil available for these older vehicles. 

Check the owner’s manual for details. If it isn’t there, call the service department at the dealer with the VIN number and find out what you need to know. 


Oil capacities vary from vehicle to vehicle. My fiance had a 2003 Mercury Sable and the owner’s manual stated that it needed 6 quarts of oil.  The oil change place kept only putting 5 quarts in. 

My 1995 Ford Taurus Wagon requires 5 quarts of oil. I always check my owner’s manual to be sure before I go to get the oil changed. I was a half quart short this last time.

Check the Oil After the Change

This is your CYA  (cover your ass) policy. Once you know how much oil your car is supposed to have pull out of the oil change area and into a parking spot. 

Wait a couple of minutes and then use an old cloth or paper towel and check the oil dipstick (if you still have one of those). 

It has to be at the top of the marked area of the dipstick for it to be full. If it isn’t and especially if you just paid out a bit of cash to have it done. Ask them to fill it the rest of the way. 

I spoke to someone from the auto parts store and customers whom I would deal with when I worked in the parts store,  and they mentioned that they ended up blowing up the engine in their car because there wasn’t enough oil in there once it was changed. (Not that this is true, but you must rely on yourself to double-check the oil after the change.)

Oil Light is ON

If your oil light is on the car, you need at least 2 quarts of oil. You will need to check the oil yourself or ask someone to help you read the dipstick. 

Never assume that the car is fine with the oil light on. It could be some other problem. If you check the oil and it’s up to the top of the line on the stick, then take your car to your local mechanic and have it looked at. 


I hope this article helped you in some way.  Please feel free to leave a question, comment or suggestion below.  Did you enjoy the article?

Different Types of Vehicle Batteries

car battery

battery date stickerHow can you tell if you need a new battery for your vehicle? There are different battery types for different cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs. How they connect and where they are located is just as important as knowing which one you will need.

Make sure you take the plastic caps off the top of the posts, clean them with a special battery terminal cleaner brush as well as the battery connectors and add battery grease to them before connecting it to the car.

If you need to know how old a battery is… sometimes there is a  round sticker on the battery somewhere It would read something like 6/18 which is when it was made not when it was installed in the vehicle. They can also be different colors and even black with white lettering.  Sometimes holes are punched out on the calendar located on the top of the battery. The year would and month would be punched out. It can be hard to see…

Top Mounted Posts

top mount post battery

The top mounted post battery is easy. The posts for this particular battery that connect to the car are on the top of the battery. They are easily accessible.

If you go to one of the auto parts sites such as AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Pep Boys and others and choose a store. Then look up the battery in the search bar, and then add year, make, model and engine size. If you’re not sure take a look at your car registration.

Side Mounted Posts

car batterySide mount posts are usually on GM cars such as Cadillac, GMC, Buick, Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile. They can be a real pain to get to as some are located under the bench seat in the rear of the car and/or under a washer fluid reservoir bucket by the fender under the hood.

My Buick Century had side mounts under the hood and it was in the open where I could change it out. I had to remove the metal tie down first (holds it in place) in order to change it out. It can be a real pain in the neck to get the bolts loose at times.


Top and Side Mounted Posts

top and side mounted batteryThese type of batteries have both top mount posts and side mount posts. They can be more expensive, but if you can’t find the one you’re looking for, this may be the best way to get one and get it installed into the vehicle.

I like having the option of having two posts. First because of I get sick of the side mounted posts and would like to use the top posts, I would have to get new battery connectors and wires.

The top mounted posts have a terminal that goes over the post. The side mounted posts insert into the side of it. One is outside and the other is inside.


Reverse Terminal Top Mounted Postreverse terminal car battery

Some vehicles require a reverse terminal top mount post battery. It’s because the connector wires are reversed on it. So rather than the negative and then positive direction when you look at the battery, it’s positive and then negative instead.



Battery Size

65 series car batteryEach battery has a size that is located on the top of the battery. It’s also where you will find the cold cranking amps and the cranking amps.

My battery is a 65 series battery top mounted battery. It fits my 1995 Ford Taurus Wagon. The part number on the battery tells me what size it is.

It has 650 cold cranking amps (cca) and 812 cranking amps. The last number is is the battery reserve.


Free Battery Testing

free battery testing

There are quite a few auto parts stores that can test your battery for free – IF it is accessible and not under a bench seat or reservoir. They are not allowed to tear your vehicle apart to replace your battery (for their safety and because of insurance reasons).

I would suggest calling them first and finding out if they have that service available and if they have someone available to do it. They don’t always have the staff to handle store transactions and go out and help with battery testing.


Marine Battery

Marine batteries are not just for marine machines such as boat motors. Some diesel trucks use Marine batteries. When the auto parts person looks it up for you in the store, they will tell you that your diesel needs a marine battery.

Do not try to jumpstart a marine battery! They are not designed to be able to be jump started or charged on a normal charger.

Battery Core Charge

The core charge is added to the cost of a battery until you bring the old one back. Doesn’t matter what type of battery it is as long as you return a bad one so you can get your money back for it. It’s considered a recycling charge like soda cans and bottles. In Connecticut I believe the Battery Core Charge is $15. This may differ from state to state.


I hope this article helped you in some way. Did you enjoy the article? Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below.


Fun Accessories for Your Car, Truck, Crossover or SUV

car rear wing

Buying fun accessories for your car, truck, crossover or SUV is like finding parts for it. Whether you are looking for something common sense like vent visors over the windows to keep rain, snow and sleet out but helps to keep the windows clear during those times or a stone guard (bug shield) which keeps the stones and other items from damaging the paint on the front of the vehicle. 

There’s always things for the interior of the car as well. You can buy things such as a cellphone holder, a cigarette ashtray that fits in the cup holder, fancy car air fresheners, a console to put things in, a CD holder for your sun visor, or other such things. 


Exterior Accessories

This is a designer license plate holder.  You can personalize your own license plate holder. If you have a business this is a great way to advertise or maybe you have a saying you use all the time, or even just a great quote. 

You can also find them with sayings such as “CoExist”, team logos from the NFL or NBA or baseball, and other things like Disney characters, Tazmanian Devil, Bugs Bunny, Road Runner and other cartoons or whatever you are looking for. 


Vent Visors are designed to let air in while keeping the snow, sleet and rain outside the car. It helps to keep you dry and also the power switches dry. If they get wet enough, they short out so you will end up replacing them before you should. 

There are two types of vent visors. One is mounted on the outside of the car by double sided tape. Each set comes with instructions and tape. The other one is called an in-channel vent visor as it is installed in the place the window rolls up. 


Bug Shields are also known as Stone Guards. They help to keep the stones, sand and things that damage the paint off of the vehicle while its in motion. Its designed to also reduce the amount of bugs that hit the windshield down to a minimum. 

These items also have to be looked up by year, make and model as the hood sizes all differ from  one vehicle company and one span of years to another. You want it to fit on the vehicle, so you have to look it up properly. 

You can buy these online or order them from your local auto parts store. 


Christmas lights and other decorations can be put on the vehicle. I will sometimes see lighted wreaths on a grill, lights on the cars or trucks, antlers and a red nose at Christmas time, or bunny ears at Easter. You pick and choose what type decoration you want and personalize your vehicle. 

At the time this is being written, it’s almost Easter so you might want to put bunny ears on the vehicle you own. I like to see different things on cars as I drive along. 


Interior Accessories

For those of you who still smoke cigarettes and don’t have an ashtray in the vehicle this is perfect!

It’s a smokeless ashtray. You put it in the cup holder and use it when you smoke. You can empty it out in the proper receptacle when it’s full and use it again without littering (basically throwing the butt out the window).

It’s portable so you can take it with you. 



Floor mats are for any vehicle. They are good for keeping the mud, snow and salt off of the floor in your vehicle.

Salt can eat through the rug and rot the floor out, and wet stuff can make the car moldy if there is no mat to protect it. 

Mats can come with the vehicle brand name, camouflage, a team logo, a Disney character, Harley Davidson and other things on them. You may also want to find matching seat covers or steering wheel covers to match if you select that particular floor mat. 


Need more sockets for charging your phone, connecting your GPS, running a computer or anything like that? You can get a multiple socket charger that plugs right into the lighter unit. Its called a splitter. 

This one has multiple plugs and USB ports for your phone, computer, GPS, ect. You just put it into the lighter socket and then you can power or charge those items.



I did mention a CD holder that goes onto your visor in your car, truck, crossover or SUV. These just have elastics that slide over the visor and holds the holder in place. You can put in your audio books, music CDs, and other things.

They also make holders for the registration and insurance cards.



There are many other accessories you can add to your vehicle. Bumper stickers, window shades, advertising stickers, colored lighting and more!

I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I enjoy helping people find the information the info needed to repair it, find the best deal on parts and accessories for it. Did you enjoy the article?

Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below. Thank you!


Brake Pads and Rotors – What You Need to Know


Brakes are another very important working part of your vehicle. For one, by law your braking system has to be working correctly. The insurance company will not cover you if the braking system (and other things) are not properly maintained on your car.

Two, you have to be able to stop for the School Bus, stop signs, stop lights and other traffic situations such as someone cutting you off and stopping, kids running into the road, and someone crossing against a light (crossing on a red light on their side of the road opposite yours).

There are a few different types of brake pads and rotors. The older cars have a combination of pads/rotors/drums for the rear of the car, some just have pads/shoes/drums in the rear, and some have just pads and rotors.

Some vehicles may come with both Drum and Rotor in the rear, such as the Mazda MPV. They have both rotors and drums in the back. I would check to see what you have in the rear before you do the job.

Many working parts go into repairing a braking system. Off the top of my head these are pads, shoes, rotors, drums, brake fluid, gloves, springs, clips, pins, wheel cylinders, and calipers.


Brake Pads

brake padsThese pads come with different pads. They are semi-metallic, organic and ceramic. You would usually choose semi-metallic or organic for normal use.

If you have a High Performance vehicle, you may want to go with ceramic. They can take the heat from friction better and will not wear out so fast (race cars, street-strip, ect).




Some vehicles have to have special tools to remove these. You can always check with a mechanic or someone who knows these cars to get the right tools. Even searching the internet will help you find the right ones (if you are doing them yourself).

Also, be aware that if the new rotor and old one do not match, such as the holes do not line up, or there is a difference in size. Take back the new ones and bring the old one to match up. Not every rotor is made in the USA. (The parts store people are not going to go through every rotor to find those because it’s really time consuming. They have too many rotors in stock to do that.)


Brake Shoes

These are another form of brake pad only larger. They require springs to hold them in place. You can buy a spring kit to use in case one of them breaks so that you can get the new ones on.

I always make sure I have all the parts I need to do the job. You can return the unused one(s) later.




Brake Drum

This is a large metal drum with holes inside it for installing your brake shoes. These are fairly inexpensive unless you have a large SUV or truck.

Drums are not light to pick up. Some of them are fairly heavy because of the size. Just be careful.


Here are 10 Tips to Changing Brakes easier…


This video shows how to change pads and rotors on a vehicle…



Brake drums and shoes video…


I hope you use this as a guide to change your own brakes. Remember to always have chock blocks in front and behind the wheels, work on a LEVEL surface, and make sure you have everything you need to start your project.

I like being able to do things that need to be done on the car. finding the information I need to repair it, find the best deal on parts and accessories for it.

Did you enjoy the article? Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below.


Wiper Blade Replacement – Do It Yourself

winter wipers

Wiper blades on a vehicle are one of the most important parts on it. Without them you cannot see where you are going in rain, snow, sleet, and the mist from fog. It is important that you replace your wiper blades at least every 6 months. They don’t make them like they used to.

Learning how to change the wiper blades yourself will save you time, money and aggravation. There are a few things you must know before you change them out.


Wiper Blade Sizes

Bosch wiper bladesThere are vehicles whose wiper blades are the same size. My 1987 Ford Crown Victoria took 18 inch blades, 2003 Buick Century were 20 inches, and the 1995 Ford Taurus wagon I have takes 20 inches in the front and a 15 inch wiper for the rear glass.

To look up the size for your vehicle, go to the search bar on your computer or phone and type in “year, make, model wiper blade size”. It will come up with listings for your specific vehicle.

The auto parts stores have a computer to look up that information (sometimes it asks for the engine size – which doesn’t matter), and the counter person can help you with that. They can also help you choose the right blade that you would like for your car.

In places like Walmart, they have a computer. You select year, then make, then model and it will show you the size you need.


Types of Wiper Blades

  1. Winter blades which are fully covered by rubber to remove heavy snow, and sleet.
  2. Regular blades which are just wiper blades.


Wiper Arms

The wiper arm is the object where the wiper blade clicks into place or snaps on. These parts have different designs.


  • the Pin type
  • the J hook
  • the snap on


  • The pin type is for older cars such as ones sold in the 60’s, 70’s and some 80’s era cars. They have a pin or post that hold the wiper blades into place. It’s built onto the wiper arm.
  • The J hook is one of the most common wiper arms that are made. Most cars will take a regular size J hook blade. However, if you own a Dodge, Plymouth or Chrysler minivan, Jeep, or one of them; they have a larger J hook (more space between them).
  • Newer vehicles such as Volvo,have a snap on type blade. You have to unclick the snapped blade and then slide it off. You slide the new one on.

*If you buy your wiper blades at an auto parts store and need help installing them, ask if someone has a moment to show you how to do that.


Rear Window Blade

Rear wiper blade

If you own a brand new vehicle, chances are you will have to go to the dealer for the rear window wiper blade replacement. The dealer will not release the specific vehicle wiper blade to the market for 1-2 years.

Older vehicles you can get from the auto parts store or purchase them online. They get dry and nasty and have to be replaced as well.

If you’ve got a good snowstorm blowing and need to see out the rear, you will need a good wiper blade to do that.


Washer Fluid

Stores sell many types of washer fluid for your vehicle. They have the regular blue stuff, bug remover, and de-icer type.

  • Blue fluid says it’s rated to a certain temperature below zero. It still freezes and then you have to wait until the car is warm to be able to use it.
  • Bug Remover is usually green in color and beads up the water from the rain so that the wiper blade doesn’t have to work so hard. It helps to remove the squished bugs on your windshield and keep them from sticking to the glass. If you plan to use this one, put it in the washer reservoir before the bugs come out otherwise you will have to clean the glass off first.
  • De-icer fluid is great in winter and this also beads up the water on the window so that the wiper doesn’t have to work so hard. It also helps to remove the ice build-up on the glass.

*You should always let your car warm up first so that you don’t tear up the wiper blade especially after an ice storm if your car is stored outside.


I like being able to do things that need to be done on the car. finding the information I need to repair it, find the best deal on parts and accessories for it.

Did you enjoy the article? Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below.

How to Prepare for Winter Weather

ice scraper

There are many ways you can prepare in advance for winter weather and the cold that comes with it. You can ask yourself things like should I get new wipers, do I have enough coolant, are my belts and hoses good, will my tires need replacing, and other important things.

Most of us don’t usually hit the store before the cold and winter arrives. You have to have a way to brush the snow and ice off the car, you should have a type of de-icer fluid and rock salt for the ground, gloves for cleaning off the car, and maybe rubber mats for the inside of the car.


1. Wiper Blade Replacement

I replace my wiper blades every 6 months (usually October and April) because they don’t make them like they used to. If you travel a lot you may need to do it more often. It depends on the blade and the type of wiper fluid you’re using.

wiper blades
Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash

Buying wiper blades last minute means you may not get a pair in the size you need because everyone else decides last minute when the blades go back in the stormy weather to go and get new ones. Get a set early and buy a spare pair and put them in the trunk in case you need to replace them.

Always buy and replace them in pairs. If you don’t, the one you replace looks great and then the other one goes bad shortly thereafter. It’s unnecessary aggravation to replace one and then 2 days later replace the other one. Just do it all at the same time.


2. Does Your Coolant Need Replacing?

You should check your owners manual owners manual in the index under fluids, coolant or maintenance will help you to find the information for that. Calling the service department at the dealer to find out how often your coolant needs to be flushed and replaced. You will need the VIN number of the vehicle to get that information.

Check with the dealership on the type of coolant you need for your vehicle if you can’t find it in the owners manual. It may not be something any garage can replace. The newer cars have different type coolant for each different brand of car. Volkswagen for example has purple coolant and Buick has Dexcool which is orange.


3. Snowbrushes, Cat Litter and Ice Melt

You’ll need a snowbrush and a scraper to clean the snow and ice off the vehicle. (I let my car run a few minutes on interior heat not front defrost and then use De-icer spray to get the ice to melt away.)

A. Snow brushes can be purchased anywhere. Wherever there is an auto parts store or a store with an automotive section, most of them carry these. You can also choose to purchase them online.

B. Cat Litter or Speedy Dry (same thing) is when you are on a surface that you get stuck on because of a lot of mud, snow or ice. Just put the cat litter down around the tires, make sure you take the Traction Control OFF (if you have traction control), put the car in LOW, and then move slowly forward or backward to get out of the place you’re stuck in.

C. Ice Melt works the same way as the cat litter/speedy dry but you ONLY use it on ICE. I use Driveway Heat as it works really fast. When you hear it snap, crackle and pop like cereal, then you know it’s working. Just give it a few minutes to break up. Still put the car in LOW, and move slowly.

4. Windshield Washer Fluid

I use either RainX or Prestone Windshield wash. I like the RainX as it has a wax type substance to help remove the ice from the windshield (after letting the car warm up first). Works good when you’re driving in freezing rain.
These products are also rated for below zero temperatures and will not freeze. Sorry folks but the blue stuff says it rated for below zero and it does freeze.
If you work the washer fluid and the wipers when you first get in the car, you could destroy your wiper blades and then have to buy new ones.

5. Tires

photo by nrjfalcon1 at Pixabay

Make sure you take your tires to a good tire place to get them looked at. You aren’t going to want to purchase brand new tires if yours will make it through the winter and are rated for the weather.

There are snow tires, studded snows (sometimes you have to pay for the studs to be put in) and all season radials. It just depends on what is best for your car and what you are comfortable with.

A. Snow tires have huge treads to move through the snow. Only use these in the winter time as they as designed for mud, snow and slush. Driving them during the warmer weather might cost you less gas mileage.

B. Studded Snow tires are designed for snow and ice. By law, you can only use them during certain times of the year. If you get stopped, you might get a warning to remove them. If you don’t you could receive a ticket. The studs will tear up the roads in warmer weather.

C. All-Season Radial tires are for all seasons of the year. This does not mean it’s meant for all cars. I suggest you talk to your tire guys about them.


Take The Time

Take the time to get these things BEFORE winter arrives. These things will help you to keep organized and get ready for the winter weather. It will save you some serious aggravation in the long run.


I like being able to do things that need to be done on the car. finding the information I need to repair it, find the best deal on parts and accessories for it. Did you enjoy the article? Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below.

How to Change A Tire – What You Should Know

Cooper Evolution Tour All- Season Radial

Changing a tire can be very trying for someone who has never done it before. There are some things you should know and have before you attempt to do this.

For older cars, there is a place in the owners manual that has a section on how to change a tire. It tells you where to find the spare, the jack (to lift the car), where to put the jack, and a tire iron.

Newer cars may not have this information. You should always check when you buy a new car to make sure it has a spare! Dealers will not put a spare in unless you pay for one. Always make sure you have one!


Tire Information


If you have a spare tire, you should make sure that it has enough air in it in case you have to change the normal one out. It’s usually a smaller one called a donut, that holds usually about 60 psi (pounds per square inch. For cars with bigger tires, they may hold more air because it’s larger replacement.). It’s only good for 60 miles. You should only use it long enough to get to the tire store to buy a new one and have it installed.

You will need the size of the tire you currently have on the car to be able to get a proper size replacement.

This tire is a P205/75R14. P stands for Passenger and the R is for Rim size. So it will fit on a 14 inch rim.



Tire Change Video by Chris Fix



Tighten the Lug Nuts

Do not worry about having an inch/foot pound tool to tighten up your lug nuts (bolts) when you’re first learning how to do this.

Once you lower the car after putting the lug nuts on tight, just make sure you tighten them up to make sure they’re really snug with a regular 4-way lug nut wrench or a socket with the breaker bar.


I like being able to do things that need to be done on the car. finding the information I need to repair it, find the best deal on parts and accessories for it. Did you enjoy the article? Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below.

Auto Parts Stores – Things You Don’t Know About

Free Services

Not everyone works in the auto parts industry. A regular customer who has never been in the automotive industry or is new to owning a car and buying parts for it, isn’t going to know these things about auto parts stores.

Auto parts stores are in business to sell parts, accessories, tools, fluids and more. They can also offer you free services and recommend a garage or dealership. They will sometimes have different discounts from store-to-store, but you should ask if there is any available and what they are.


Free Services

Most auto parts stores I know offer a list of free services. This is a few of the ones that they may have…Free Services

  • Free battery/alternator testing
  • Free battery installation (if accessible – some batteries may be located under a rear seat)
  • Free battery charging
  • Free code reads – check engine light(Generalized)
  • Free wiper blade installation (newer cars may have to go to the dealer for them)
  • Free headlight/bulb replacement (if accessible – new cars may have to go to the dealer)
  • Order online and pick up at the store(check to make sure the part is actually there. If it says one – they will have to physically check for it.) 

There may be more at different stores, so call and check with them before you go to make sure they offer any of these free services. Your time is valuable too.



NAPA to my knowledge accepts military and AAA discounts. They may offer Military as well. Bring your IDs with you to prove this. They may have manufacturers rebates you will need to send in with the receipt.

Advanced Auto Parts – If you go online and sign up, they can send you a coupon for say $20 off your next purchase – usually if you order the parts online. They also give military discounts. They may have manufacturers rebates you will need to send in with the receipt.

Auto Zone – If you spend more than $20 they can give you a rewards card. Once you earn at least $100 ( 5 x $20 ), you get that towards a large purchase. They give military discounts. They may have manufacturers rebates you will need to send in with the receipt.

O’Reilly’s Auto Parts – Offer coupons and promotional ads online/in store.(Make sure it says In Store or Online or In Store/Online to use them properly.) Military discount available. They may have manufacturers rebates you will need to send in with the receipt. They also have a rewards program.

Pep Boys offers online flyers with discount coupons and promo codes (online), as well as products and service. Check to see if they offer any Military or other discounts. Some locations have a garage for oil changes, tires, and other services. You can call your local store for more details.


Price Matching

Most stores will price match off of their own site as it may be cheaper online (you can look it up on your phone to see if it’s lower). Has to be the same part, same warranty, sometimes the same company, BUT not price matching a low end part(cheaper) for a high end(more expensive) part.

They DO NOT price match with eBay or one of those places. Usually it’s a store within a certain mile perimeter (not further away than 20 miles for example).


Part Matching

If you remove a part from the car that needs replacing, if it hasn’t worn off, there is usually a number on it. That is the actual part number of the product that came with the car if it’s the first time replacing it.

You can ask the auto parts employee to check the part number(cross reference) to see if it’s something they have in stock. If the car is old enough, the number may be superseded (replaced with another one) and they may then have to look the car part up by year, make and model or call the dealership parts dept to get the new number. They may need the VIN number to do that (you can look it up on your insurance card).


Build A Relationship

Theodor38 –

If you go into the parts store all the time, you will eventually find someone who is truly helpful and knows the car, product, warranty and more. You enjoy conversing with the person who truly wants to help you get the job done right.

When I worked in the auto parts business, and I didn’t have accessibility to the store site(a long time ago) I would go home, research the product, find a site with a phone number and contact information, print it out and bring it in to the customer.

I enjoyed helping people when no one else seemed to be able to help. You, the customer, are the MOST important part of that business.


I like being able to do things that need to be done on the car. finding the information I need to repair it, find the best deal on parts and accessories for it. Did you enjoy the article? Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below.

How to Buy A Car – Do Your Research

Ford Taurus Wagon

When you’re in need of another car, whether a new or used one, make sure you do your research properly or you may find yourself with another money pit or worse.

How to buy your car is as important as doing your research on it. There are some steps I recommend taking before you buy your next vehicle.



What are you using it for?

Ford Taurus Wagon

Do you use it for work to go back and forth, pick up the kids from school, run errands, or move stuff? Do you want a car, crossover, suv or a truck?

I needed another station wagon. Moving is so much easier when you have a wagon. It’s very useful and I needed it to move things, go on trips, grocery shopping, and other reasons.



Your Budget

It’s important to know how much money you need in order to be able to afford your next car. How much do you want to spend?

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
  • Car Cost
  • Insurance
  • Any Repairs (if used car)

My wagon was $500. It was an estate car because the owner had passed away and she had sat on a farm for some time. It had been taken good care of before that.


Get the VIN number

If you are looking at a vehicle you’re interested in, you’ll want the VIN (vehicle identification number). You can use your cellphone to take a picture of it. Most of them are at the bottom of the windshield, and some are other places like the door or on the body frame.


The VIN number will be used to check the service record at a dealership through the Service Dept. You can also go to a dealer online to check the service record and check for any recalls as well.

Make sure you run the VIN number by your insurance agent. You’ll want to know how much money you’ll have to spend to insure the vehicle.


Rental Car Companies Resell Their Cars

Did you know that you could buy a rental car once it’s gone to resell for low miles? Granted they aren’t perfect, but you could get a really nice vehicle from them.Lincoln Nautilus

They have low priced cars and high end ones. You could buy a cheap Nissan or a Lincoln for a good price and low mileage. (High mileage ones are lease vehicles.)

Rentals and Lease cars are also sold through the car auctions.

They do business similar to dealerships. You can use your old vehicle as a trade-in. Find out if there’s any discounts for Military or anything like that. (You don’t ask, how are you going to know?)


Online Car Shopping

Top 7 Mistakes Women Car Buyers Should Avoid
Car Buying Mistakes

If you’re looking for a particular vehicle, make sure you type in the search bar – year, make, model of the vehicle and search the listings separately. You’ll see these cars listed in eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, dealers and other places.

If you do find one, call or email that person and ask them if it’s still available and could you come by to look at it. It’s also important to make sure that the car is solid and not rotting out. Bring someone who knows vehicles or your mechanic if he has a few minutes to spare, to take a look at it.

Do your research to see what people are getting for that particular car. Search NADA (National Automotive Dealer Association), and KBB (Kelly Blue Book), to find out what it’s worth. (Use the KBB one if it’s being sold by a private party and the NADA if it’s a dealer.)


Check Reliability Reviews

Toyota Review


Say you found a 2019 Toyota Camry. You want to know how if it is reliable. Edmunds Car Reviews is a great place to get a good review on a vehicle. I have used this site myself when researching cars. They also have great tools for other car research as well.



Best Time to Buy from a Dealership

I had asked a few dealer sales people when they thought the best time of year was to buy a car with all discounts, lower prices, trade ins and such. They specified that the best time to buy a car was in February for the President’s Sale Events that they have.


Department of Motor Vehicles

The motor vehicle department will charge you tax on your car (most states). Here in Connecticut I found out that it’s .0635 cents on the dollar on the NADA(National Automotive Dealer Association) value of the car.

You have to make sure your car taxes are paid to date(if applicable) or you won’t be able to register the new vehicle.


I like being able to do things that need to be done on the car. finding the information I need to repair it, find the best deal on parts and accessories for it. Did you enjoy the article? Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below.