Thursday, September 30, 2010

OEM versus Aftermarket Car Parts Debate

If you want to get mechanics and people who work on their own cars going in a heated debate, start an argument about whether aftermarket car parts are as good as OEM parts. It may seem like a basic argument, but it is actually fairly convoluted.

Okay, what are OEM parts? "OEM" stands for "original equipment manufacturer". In practical terms, this means the party that made the original part for your car be it the muffler, bumper, clutch or whatever. Isn't this part just the car company selling the car be it Ford, BMW or whomever? Nope. Most car companies outsource much of the car part manufacturing to smaller companies.

This outsourcing is why the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler have such far reaching impacts. Not only does it impact everyone at those companies, but everyone at each independent company that makes parts for GM and Chrysler. If these independent companies lose enough business, they may have to shut down. This is problematic since they also make parts for other brands. This is also why the idea that a Ford is "American made" and a Toyota isn't is mostly hogwash. All the brands are getting a lot of their parts from the same suppliers whether they are in the United States, Canada, Mexico or wherever.

Aftermarket car parts come in two variations. The first is simply a generic form of the OEM part, much like generic pharmaceuticals compared to name brands. The second is an accessory for a car such as cold air intake systems for the engine, racks to carry bikes and so on. There isn't much debate that this second form of aftermarket car parts is fine, but the first variation is the area where contention starts.

OEM parts are almost always more expensive than aftermarket car parts. That being said, the price difference often isn't that large in many cases. This is important because OEM parts are generally better for your car than aftermarket parts. The issue is not the manufacturing process of the aftermarket car supplier, but the simply fact that the OEM part is made using the same molds and manufacturing process of the original part on your car. This means it should fit perfectly whereas the aftermarket part might not be an exact fit.

So, which should you go with? It depends. Aftermarket is definitely the choice when it comes to improving the performance on your car. If you are just looking for a part replacement, OEM parts are going to be slightly better although more expensive. Only you can decide if the price difference makes the aftermarket car parts a better deal.

Dirk Gibson writes for - where you can buy high performance aftermarket car parts at great prices.

Article Source:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bondo Basics

Where would the world be today without the luxury of Bondo. Ever since I can remember, well 20 years or so, it has been all the hype. You have yourself a nice looking muscle car or any car for that matter and the first thing everyone wants to know, even if they don't say it is " how much bondo, looks really nice, hmm how much bondo, bondo bucket?" Well I'm here to say that bondo is an absolute necessity if you are going to have a nice looking, straight paneled ride.

Let's get one thing straight about the use of body fillers (bondo). It is not, and I repeat not for cars that have rust. It is not for cars that have holes in them. That is what you have a welder and patch panels for. If you think bondo will hold or last over a hole of any size you'll be assuredly let down. All those hopes and dreams of having that ugly hole patched will certainly come back and haunt you. If not today, which is sometimes all the longer it takes, give it a year. Moisture will have a field day pushing out the plastic filler and leave you again worse off with a rusty, bubbling, bondo'd up sick looking disgusting scabby eye sore! - geez London "take that bondo" :)

Bondo, or plastic filler, body filler, call it what you want is great stuff, but it is made to smooth out panels. It's a filler in the sense that it fills waves and imperfections in metal. It doesn't take the place of it. It is a cheap and easy replacement for the use of lead. If you have holes you really need metal to patch them, and truthfully it's much quicker to simply cut a piece of metal and tack it in there. It will last if done right for years, especially if you keep it dry and clean. If you live where I do near the great lakes "keep it out of the salt".

All body fillers are basically the same. Some claim to be better than others, but seeing as we're not patching holes anymore with it, I go for the one that sands the easiest. These are known as the light weight body fillers. They usually sand quite easy, and they won't clog up the sand paper nearly as bad as the heavy weight (gold) fillers. I personally stay away from the 'bondo' brand, don't know why really, maybe it's the nightmarish name from my past, but that's neither here nor there, I go with the Evercoat brand. I have had great success over the years and see no need to change. They haven't been able to improve too much on it over the past 15 years.

I have experimented with most brands and weights over the years and one thing they have in common is how to mix it. The single most greatest factor in mixing bondo is the temperature where you're using it. If it is 60 degrees in the shop it will take 15-20 minutes or longer to set up, if it's 80-85 degrees where you are, you have just enough time to mix it fast and run to get it spread. Mixing is the standard 1 inch ribbon of hardener / golf ball size filler. If it's hot, cut back a tad. If it's cold, DON' T add more for it won't help. That can and usually will create pinholes and gummy bondo that will not sand well. You are forced to let it harden on it's own or put some heat on it. Heat the panel first a little if you can, it will help at least to get it to start setting up. Have patience, if you get on it right away it may let go, or flake off the panel and you'll be starting over. Let it bond to the panel thoroughly. Take your nail or a pocket knife and scratch on it. I usually nurse it awhile till it sets up just enough where I can carve any mess I made out of it spreading it , off. It saves time when it comes to sanding.

They make a plethora of tools to work with bondo, most of them will be trial and error for you, you'll find a system that works for you and have all the confidence you'll ever need in working with body fillers. I'll have to save the sanding techniques for a upcoming article, they need explanations, for they all are good for some things and not so well for others. Stay in touch!

By: London Vande Zande
Article Source:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The ABC's of Carbon Fiber Fenders

There are so many benefits you must be aware of when choosing carbon fiber fenders. Every material that is made out of carbon kevlar has many more benefits than those that are made out of other material. When you choose carbon fiber, be sure to know exactly what you want in order to make the best decision.. Once you are done brushing up a little on the ABC's of Carbon fiber fenders, you'll be prepared to make the most effective purchase possible.

When you're looking for endurance, speed, power and other great features, carbon fiber fenders are the best way to go. This is due to the light weight and durability of this type of hood. Many people also love the fact that these hood's have a sleek look with an endless option when choosing designs. It is all truly left up to you! Did you know that carbon fenders are actually environmentally friendly as well? This is a great truth for earth's well being and prosperous future.

CF fenders are a great way to go when choosing a great and useful hood. The ABC's of these wonderful hoods only grows in presence the longer you have it. During your first trial run after installation, you will notice a huge difference. There will be no mistake made after learning all the facts to make a productive car hood decision. Now that you are prepared to make the best decision when purchasing a new car hood, you have the knowledge to make a great choice.
John Rory has been writing articles about SEIBON Carbon Fiber Hoods for quite some time now. His personal car is an old 92-95 Honda Civic, he also drives a Mitsubishi Eclipse DSM GST and Mazda RX8.

Article Source:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fender Benders and Auto Body Repair

Ok, so you just got in an accident.

Albeit, it was a minor one (fender benders usually are), you now have to worry about how much it's going to cost to fix it, or if you can fix it yourself. Or maybe you're thinking it's such a small dent that you don't even need any auto body repair.

Well, before you consider sticking with it so that you can save money, you might want to take into account that many car experts highly recommend you repair any and all dents immediately. The reasoning behind this is that the exposed metals become more vulnerable to rust damage, and/or your bumper may have come loose in the collision which could cause serious problems for you later on.

Small dents can cost as low as $50 to repair anyways so it's probably worth it in the end, but the price will depend on the make of your car and the dent size.

Can I repair a fender bender myself?

There are ways to fix a fender bender yourself, but this is generally tricky and you may not even end up with a quality repair! One do-it-yourself method is to fill the dent with body filler and then sand it down with sand paper. This might sound easy, but the whole process can end up taking 5 hours or more, especially if you have no auto body repair experience! This method also requires that you complete it in one go, so if you're planning on going this route make sure you set aside a big chunk of time.

Another interesting option is to try pulling the dent out with a backhoe. However, if you don't have a backhoe on hand or know how to operate one this isn't going to be your best option, and it is especially not the safest!

Why you need to call a professional...

More than likely you probably don't want to spend hours of your free time trying to figure out how to sandpaper your own dent, or have a back hoe on hand ready to go. Even if you do, why go through all that hassle when an auto body repair professional is just a phone call away? You can get a free repair estimate online before you go in so that you know what to expect.

Shannon Egan

Article Source: