Weekend Project – Replace Your Cars Air Filter – (2014 Dodge Charger & 2011 Lexus ES 350)

Last weekend I gave you some tips on replacing your automobiles cabin filter. The benefit was clean fresh air while driving down the highway. Today I am going to talk about replacing your engine air filter.  The air filter is essential to keeping your engine running well.

What are the benefits of a clean air filter:

  • Increase Fuel Economy:
    There have been many studies to determine what the cost of a dirty filter is on fuel economy, it would be said that a 6% loss per gallon on modern cars.
  • Reduced Emissions:
    A dirty air filter reduces the air flow into the engine and therefore reduces the amount of air available for combustion.  This could cause the fuel / air ratio to be rich (too much fuel) which will cause incomplete combustion creating increased emissions and pollution
  • Increase Engine Life:
    The filter is designed to catch debris, even the smallest particle entering the engine can cause increased wear and significantly reduce the life of the engine.
  • Easy and quick fix:
    As you will see from my experience below, the air filter is usually an easy DIY project that is inexpensive to complete in just a few minutes. Saving you quite a few dollars over having the dealer do the work.

Let’s get working

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Weekend Project – Cabin filter Replacement (2014 Dodge Charger & 2011 Lexus ES350)

The weather is starting to look good here in the north east, time to pack the family into the car for some day trips to the shore. Before you go let’s do some minor maintenance to replace the cabin filter on your vehicle to keep you breathing the freshest of air.

Replace the cabin filter

Back in the early 2000s car manufacturers thought it would be a good idea to filter the air we breath. They began installing filters inside the HVAC ducts of our cars to filter out pollen, dust and other contaminants. Are they effective? Yes, they do work but at the same time you open your door and windows to allow the same dust and pollen in the filter is trying to remove.

If you have one it should be replaced as the manufacture of your vehicle recommends. Automobile dealers can charge upwards of $100 to replace the filters. For many this may sound reasonable, but just know that you can change the filter yourself for under $20.00 and in about 5 minutes.

Where can I find the cabin filter?

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Quick Fix – My bottom freezer door is not sealing on one side.

I have a typical KitchenAid French door refrigerator with a bottom pull out freezer. Its about 10 years old and has been very good at keeping our food fresh. My wife would say that the freezer is on the small side, and I think it could have been a little bigger myself. Fast forward 10 years and it would appear that this exact model is still being made and sold under many different brand names. Unfortunately we are having a freezer door issue.

Freezer Door Issue

Last night I opened the freezer and there was frost building up on the left side. After a quick inspection I noticed the door was not fully closing on the left. There was about 1/8″ gap at the top of the door and the seal.

After an exhausting Google/Youtube  search I kept coming up empty. Search results had shown fixes for some bottom draw freezers, mostly GE models. These units had set screws and adjusters to help align the door, my unit has no such adjustment.

I then started trolling the appliance fix-it sites and message boards and read old posts stating that the freezer draw may need new rails, or the device at the back of the rail that pulls the door firmly closed cold be broken. On my unit when the draw has about 2″ to go mechanisms on the end of the rails pull the door tightly closed.

My Troubleshooting Steps

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Weekend Project – Keep your lawnmower humming with some basic maintenance.

Its that time of year again, the trees are budding, the flowers blooming and the grass is getting tall. If your like most you will probably roll the lawnmower out of the garage, top off the fuel and begin cutting.

Wait, not so fast. There are a few easy maintenance items you can  do yourself to keep your lawnmower humming like new all season long.

Change the oil

This is probably one of the most important maintenance items you can perform at each season. Lawnmowers run in a hostile dusty environment, and the oil can be easily contaminated.  Your lawnmower manufacture will recommend the frequency of oil changes you should preform. I like to do it every spring before the first cut.

My lawnmower is a  Honda walk behind. This unit uses a common fill / drain hole.  The first step is to wipe any dirt off the dipstick, then unscrew and place the dipstick cap on the side.

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Weekend Project – Clean You Central Air Conditioner Condenser Coils

My blog has mainly focused on computers, networking, electronics and an occasional “How To” small project. Today we are going to work on something a bit larger. Every Spring I dismantle my outside central air conditioner condenser units and give the condenser coils a good cleaning. This will help keep the unit running as efficient as possible keeping my house ice cold during the summer months. Also reducing wear and tear on the unit as well as lower my electrical cost too.

Tools you can use:

I completed the entire job with just a few basic tools.

A can of coil cleaner  Nu-Calgon 4171-75 $14.12 at Amazon

I used this specific coil cleaner on my units and it works as designed. The thick foam lifted the dirt and grime for easy removal. The label said its a “self-rinsing” formula using the coils own condensation to wash away the dirt. I still used my hose to wash away the grime. One can was NOT enough for my 2 units.


A good cordless drill similar to this one from DeWalt

Any cordless drill with a decent amount of torque will do just fine.

 


Magnetic socket nut driver, I used a 5/16″ driver like this

The screws on my unit had a 5/16″ head and using the cordless drill saved me a ton of time. You can use a hand driver or a flat edge regular screwdriver as well. The screws on your unit may vary so take a look before you buy any new tools.


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