Everyone has run into the problem of hearing mysterious noises coming from their vehicle. From thumps and grinding to squeals and scrubbing, there are a plethora of sounds that can mean trouble is on the horizon and a car repair is in the future. While we may pamper our prized four-wheel possessions, figuring out what it’s trying to tell us can be a challenge. Here are nine common car noises what they mean.
- Noisy Mufflers
For racing enthusiasts, a loud muffler is part of the makeup of a racing machine as it makes its way around the track. Driving through your neighborhood with what sounds like a souped-up engine gone bad due to a faulty muffler, though, is probably not appreciated by your neighbors. The noise may be emanating from a hole in the muffler, which can allow unhealthy fumes to enter the car.
- Squealing Meanies
If a piercing sound like fingernails on a chalkboard occurs when you hit the brake pedal, it’s the brake pad indicator letting you know it is time to schedule an appointment to have the brake pads replaced.
- Rur Rur Rur
When you hear the repetitive “rur” noise that goes on for a while when attempting to start your car, this means the battery is almost on its last leg. It’s losing its get-up-and-go factor. Low fluid levels could be causing the problem, or the car battery could simply be past its warranty date and too old to do the job any longer.
- Squealing Hood
It’s not the hood that’s squealing but what’s under it that is in need of help. When a shrill squeal is present, this is a major situation as it means the serpentine belt is either loose and slipping or it is worn out. Either way, this is a fix that needs to happen immediately because once it breaks, your vehicle will overheat.
- Brake Pedal to the Metal
When you apply the brake, sometimes it emits a heavy metal sound that could compete with a few rock bands for their innovative grating and grinding sounds. This is a sign that the calipers and rotor have come together because the brake pads are worn through. This is a hazardous situation as the brakes will not function the way they should, which puts you and your passengers in danger.
- Failing Hoses
Take a look under the hood of your vehicle and you’ll see a network of hoses. Each hose has a specific job to keep the car running smoothly, comfortably, and safely. When hoses age or when exposed to extreme temperatures for prolonged periods, they can crack. This can lead to a persistent hissing sound like escaping steam.
- Flapping in the Breeze
A flap, flap, flap sound can mean a belt is damaged or frayed and it’s slowly deteriorating, which ultimately leads to a broken and disengaged belt. It may also mean a foreign object is interfering with the functioning of the fan. If the sound is coming from the air conditioner, it could mean something is out of alignment such as the ventilation flap.
- Four on the Floor
If a grinding sound occurs when shifting a manual transmission, this could mean the clutch is out of alignment and needs adjusting or the clutch may need to be replaced.
- Tick or Click
Both ticking or clicking sounds coming from the engine area can be an indicator that the vehicle’s oil level is low. Check the dipstick to verify the level. If a lack of oil isn’t the problem, it could be due to a drop in the system’s oil pressure, a blockage, or the valve train.
Whenever you hear noises in your car, it’s best to have a professional service technician check it out as soon as possible so you aren’t left high and dry and waiting for a tow truck.
When you have to replace a positive battery terminal, there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind. Here are some references and tips that can help you through the process with ease.
Step 1 – Get in Plain Sight
The easiest way to work with a battery terminal in order to replace it is to take it out completely so that you have room to work on it in front of you. You will need to take a look at the battery terminal and see what is going on. The red side is the positive side and is what you are going to be working with.
Step 2 – Get the Right Tools Ready
When working with cars or batteries and parts, you want to make sure that you are using the right tools so that you do not damage anything. A terminal brush, a wrench, and a wire stripper are all essential things to have.
Step 3 – Replace the Actual Terminal
When you are replacing the actual positive battery terminal, you will need to use the wrench to loosen the nut. This way you will be able to turn the terminal. It may take a few tries, but use the wrench to continue turning the terminal and pull it off completely. Be sure to wear gloves and goggles while you are working on this type of job. While you are working, it is important to make sure that all of the wires stay clear of the terminal so that you do not cause any problems.
Step 4 – Clean it Off
Another important thing that you will need to do before installing the new positive battery terminal is to clean it off. You can use the terminal brush, which you can find at many hardware and automotive stores, to brush everything off. The main reason for this is to make sure there is no corrosion still on the terminal. If there is and you don’t clean it off, it will just continue to get worse from there on and you will find yourself having to replace or fix the terminal and battery again.
Step 5 – Put on New Terminal
Once everything has been cleaned off, you can replace it with a new positive battery terminal. To do this, first check to make sure that the wires do not need to be replaced. If they are frayed or corroded at all, you will want to replace them or if you see that they are coming unhooked, you can use pliers to move them back and secure them. You may need electrical tape to keep everything where it needs to be. Use the wrench again to put on the new terminal and tighten up the bolts. Make sure that you have the red wires going, as you are working on the positive terminal side. Then, once everything is put back together, check to make sure that it is working and in good shape.
China is ready to strengthen economic and trade exchanges with the United States, and carry out cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao said on Wednesday.
“In the next stage, I look forward to our joint efforts with colleagues in the US, in accordance with the recent phone call between the two leaders, to enhance communication and understanding, focus on cooperation, manage differences, and push bilateral economic and trade relations back to the track of cooperation,” Wang said at a news conference.
Wang made the remarks after President Xi Jinping spoke by phone with his US counterpart Joe Biden earlier this month. The two presidents exchanged Chinese Lunar New Year greetings along with views on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues.
As the interests of the two countries are deeply integrated, the minister emphasized that China-US economic and trade ties should be mutually beneficial and cooperation is the only right choice.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade in 2020, China-US trade grew last year. The bilateral goods trade volume amounted to 4.06 trillion yuan ($627.70 billion) last year, up 8.8 percent year-on-year and accounting for 12.6 percent of China’s total imports and exports of goods in 2020, according to the General Administration of Customs.
China is the largest trading partner of the US, and bilateral trade and investment cooperation between the two sides has made positive contributions to their respective economies, said Wang, adding that this fully demonstrates their business cooperation is a positive driving force in bilateral relations and brings tangible benefits to both countries.
His view was shared by Nathan Stoner, vice-president of Cummins Inc, a US-based engine manufacturer. He said that the company’s research and development facility, involving a total investment of $250 million, will become operational in Wuhan, Hubei province, by the end of this year.
China has continuously introduced new policies to optimize its business environment and the Chinese market has already become a powerful driver of the company’s global performance, Stoner said.
The US company sold more than 670,000 engines in China last year, an increase of 24 percent year-on-year, the company’s highest growth since it entered the Chinese market in 1975.
After China and the European Union completed negotiations on their investment agreement late last year, the two sides are carrying out a review of the text and translation of the agreement in accordance with established procedures, and are striving to sign it as soon as possible, said Wang, the commerce minister.
The high-level, balanced and mutually beneficial agreement will create investment opportunities for companies from both sides and build a better business environment, he said, stressing that the agreement is not only beneficial to China and the EU, but also conducive to the recovery and growth of the global economy.
While China is conducting active research on matters related to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the CPTPP, to move forward with reform and opening-up across the board, Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said the government has already had informal contacts with certain members of the CPTPP.
The government also plans to engage with all CPTPP members to communicate at the technical level, so that it can have a more accurate understanding regarding the content of the related documents, he said.
The CPTPP, which took effect on Dec 30, 2018, is a trade agreement between eleven countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Their aggregate gross domestic product accounts for 13 percent of the global economy.
Owning an electric car is different from having a traditional gas-powered vehicle in a lot of ways. You don’t have to wait for the engine to heat up in the morning, and the heater will work as soon as you press the button. Forget about pumping the gas and all that stuff, too. But there are still some winter maintenance tasks you need to complete for your electric car. You won’t have to check the oil, the spark plugs, or the fuel filter. However, there are several winter maintenance tasks you’ll want to complete to keep your electric car running great.
Check the Wiper Blades
Check your wiper blades at least once a year, and replace them if needed. You don’t want to discover your wiper blades are worn out during a rain or snow storm. Examine the blades for signs of wear by looking at them from the side. Your blades should be in a straight, even line. If you see visible gaps or tears in the blades, you need to replace them.
Check the Coolant
Like gasoline-powered cars, electric cars have a coolant system. Check your coolant level, and add coolant to the engine if needed. Coolant is important in winter, just as it is in summer. The engine still needs to avoid overheating, and in winter that engine might be working overtime.
Rotate the Tires
You should actually do this for any type of car, be it electric, hybrid, or a gas-guzzler. Take the time to rotate your tires at the beginning of winter. You’ll have to remove all four tires at once to perform this task, so make sure you do it safely.
Check Fluid Levels
Take a look at all your car’s fluids. There is no oil in an electric car, but you do have brake fluid and windshield wiper fluid in addition to the coolant. Check the level on both of these, and add more if needed.
Driving Electric in Winter
Your electric car will continue to function normally in winter. You won’t notice much difference in how your vehicle drives, but you will notice a difference in battery drain. Your car’s heat draws energy from the battery. In winter when you’re using more battery power to heat the car and drive, you may need to charge your battery more frequently.
Your electric car will have noticeably less range on cold days. On extremely cold days, your range may get as low as 45 miles. To conserve battery power, make sure you use the “Eco Mode” setting if your car has one. Plan your trips carefully, and always charge your battery before you leave home.
You’ll still want to keep an ice scraper in your car to remove ice and frost before you start driving, and it’s a good idea to let the ice melt from the windows before you get out on the road.
Battery drain is going to be your biggest concern during winter. Practice some everyday maintenance to conserve as much battery power as possible. When you charge before you leave your home, go ahead and turn the heater on while the car is still plugged in. You can get the interior toasty warm without losing any battery energy. Turn off your cabin heater, and use seat heaters to stay warm while you drive and conserve even more battery energy.
When you park your car, try to find a sheltered spot. A heated garage is ideal, obviously, but when that’s not available look for a covered area, at least. Any type of weather protection will help shield your car from the cold, which helps reduce battery drain.
Good Winter Maintenance
Practice good winter maintenance on your electric car to keep it in great shape and running well. Electric cars are much easier to maintain than gas-powered vehicles, and they offer a lot of advantages in winter when temperatures drop.
When you’re used to life in an area that sees heavy snowfall, it’s easy to find yourself feeling confident when driving in the snow. Yet every winter, thousands of drivers end up in snow-related car accidents. Whether driving in the snow is an entirely new experience for you or you’ve been doing it for years, it’s always a good idea to read up on a few good tips for safe winter driving, even if it’s just as a refresher.
Change Your Mindset
Driving in the snow is very different from driving on a clean, clear road. Snow creates roads that are wet, icy, and slushy. These conditions can cause cars to slide and, as a result, crash into something or someone. This is why you need to change your mindset whenever you drive in the snow.
The biggest thing to consider is how much slower you need to drive in the winter, from warming up your car to pushing on the gas pedal and even moving your steering wheel. So, always give yourself extra time when you head out.
Prep Your Car
Before you head out to travel in the snow with your car, you should prep it for winter. First of all, switch those summer tires for winter ones, or you won’t be getting far. If you have year-round tires, that’s fine, too. Either way, make sure your tire pressure and tread depth are good to go.
You should also check that you have winter windshield wiper fluid since it’s made specifically for colder weather and won’t freeze. At the same time, check your engine coolant and antifreeze levels and make sure your car always has at least half a tank of gas.
Finally, for those just-in-case emergencies, put together a winter supply box and keep it in the backseat or trunk of your car. A winter supply box should include a first aid kit, blankets, a flashlight, road flares, a bag of sand, snacks, brightly-colored material (for tying to your antenna as a distress signal), and extra gloves. You never know when your car might break down or get stuck, and having these few items on hand could make a big difference.
Accelerate and Decelerate Slowly
It takes a lot more time than normal to get going and slow down when driving on icy or slushy roads. If you want to avoid skids, make sure you apply the gas slowly to accelerate and take your foot off the gas a lot slower when you need to decelerate, too. In fact, you should drive a lot slower in general when the roads are covered in snow. That means you need to take turns slower as well.
Stopping takes a lot longer in the snow than it does on dry pavement, so make sure to start your stop a lot sooner than you normally would when coming up to a red light or stop sign, or even when signaling to make a turn. If you drive a modern car and feel your brake pedal shuddering, that is the anti-lock braking system doing its job, so don’t panic or take your foot off the brake.
Don’t Stop Fully
If you can avoid making a complete stop, like when making a turn, it will be easier to keep going than to start moving again. This doesn’t mean you should make illegal rolling stops. Instead, only apply it when it’s safe and legal.
Leave Plenty of Space
You will need to leave a lot more space between you and other cars if you need to make any sudden stops. So, make sure you look farther down the road than usual to see if there are any stopped cars or traffic lights up ahead. Since you can’t control other drivers out on the road, this is the best way to ensure that you will be safe and avoid collisions.
Be Careful on Hills
Going up and down hills in the snow can be difficult. You can’t apply extra gas to get up a hill because the tires will start spinning. Instead, make sure you have a bit of a runway on a flat road leading up to the hill. That way, you will have an easier time trying to reach the top. And whatever you do, don’t stop on a hill in the winter because it will be so much more difficult to get going again. When coming down a hill, make sure to take your time as well.
When the weather gets really bad, and you don’t have anywhere super important to be, stay home. Even if you feel confident in your driving abilities, remember that not everyone else out on the road will have the same knowledge and skills for winter driving.
A selection of the spectacular lanterns on display at Shanghai’s Yuyuan Garden. The annual show has been held for the past 26 years and is among the city’s top tourist draws during the Spring Festival period.
Lantern Festival events bring friends and families together across the country in a unique celebration of culture and tradition marked by fascinating and imaginative illuminations, Xing Yi reports from Shanghai.
The Lantern Festival is one of the most important traditional festivals in China. Celebrated on the 15th day of the first lunar month and marking the end of the Chinese lunar new year holiday, it falls on Friday this year.
The Chinese name of the festival, Yuanxiao means the night of the first full moon in the Chinese calendar, and as the character yuan is homophonic to the word reunion, the festival also celebrates the reunion of family.
On the night of the festival, people will observe the moon, have a sumptuous meal, and enjoy time together with family and friends in parks or visit lantern displays with them.
The annual lantern show at Yuyuan Garden, a historical tourist site in Shanghai, started on Jan 28 and will run through February.
The annual celebrations have been held for 26 years and are the city’s top attraction for tourists during Spring Festival. The month-long celebration attracts around 1 million visitors every year.
Each year, the show will feature different themes based on major upcoming events and the latest trends. This year, large lighting installations featuring the ox, the Chinese zodiac animal for the lunar year, have been set up in the main plaza.
Lighting installations depicting Tian’anmen Square in Beijing, the red boat in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, and the Memorial of the First Congress of the Communist Party of China have also been set up on the facade of the Hua Bao Mansion to celebrate the centenary of the Party which takes place on July 1.
Lanterns with the traditional elements of the Yangtze River Delta, such as the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon in Hangzhou’s West Lake, stone bridges and carp balloons, have been installed along the lake under the famous Nine Zigzag Bridge to recreate the scene from the mobile game One Hundred Scenes of Jiangnan, which is popular in China.
Molly dolls, the toy series featuring a blue-eyed girl with curly short hair, created by Hong Kong designer Kenny Wong, have also been made into lanterns and displayed in the shopping mall. The dolls, promoted by toymaker Pop Mart, have become a craze among China’s youngsters in recent years, contributing to the company’s successful initial public offering in December.
The Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai has successfully attracted young people to participate in the celebration of the Chinese traditional festival. Last year, it partnered with Disney to put up Mickey and Minnie Mouse lanterns to celebrate 2020’s animal of the Chinese zodiac.
The traditional food for the festival is yuanxiao or tangyuan, which are similar ball-shaped dessert dumplings, made with glutinous rice flour and stuffed with a variety of fillings.
The difference lies in how they are prepared. In North China, people eat yuanxiao, which is rolled in a basket with solid fillings to become a big and round rice flour ball. In South China, people eat tangyuan, which is made of a glutinous rice wrapper that covers the filling before being kneaded into a round ball.
People visiting the lantern show in Yuyuan Garden have many food choices. Ningbo Tangtuan, a time-honored restaurant dedicated to making tangyuan, is located inside the Yuyuan Garden shopping mall, along with many other time-honored restaurants, such as Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant, Lu Bo Lang Shanghai cuisine restaurant and Song He Lou noodle shop.
Besides Yuyuan Garden, other famous lantern shows in China include the displays at Nanjing’s Confucius Temple, Jiangsu province, Xi’an City Wall, Shaanxi province and Zigong, Sichuan province.
The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Start of Spring (Chinese: 立春), the first solar term of the year, begins this year on Feb 3 and ends on Feb 17.
Start of Spring lifts the curtain of spring. After that everything turns green and full of vigor; people clearly see that the daytime is becoming longer and the weather is becoming warmer.
Here are nine things you should know about Start of Spring.
As a solar term, Start of Spring had already entered people’s lives in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). At that time, there were eight solar terms. According to some experts, the 24 solar terms were used for the first time in books during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), when the Start of Spring was set as the Spring Festival. In 1913, the first day of the first month of the lunar year was mandated as the Spring Festival.
Spring is the best season for kite-flying. A traditional folk activity, it has a history of more than 2,000 years. It can help build one’s health and prevent diseases. It also has the effect of promoting blood circulation and speeding up metabolism. A breath of fresh air outside can discharge the foul smell accumulated in winter.
- Erecting the egg
In China, it is said that the egg can be set upright on the first day of the Start of Spring, Spring Equinox day and Autumn Equinox day. It is believed that if someone can make the egg stand on the first day of Start of Spring, he will have good luck in the future.
According to astronomers and physicists, setting the egg upright has nothing to do with time, but with mechanics. The most important thing is to shift the egg’s center of gravity to the lowest part of the egg. In this way, the trick is holding the egg until the yolk sinks as much as possible. For this, people should choose an egg about 4 or 5 days old, whose yolk is inclined to sink down.
- Wearing fabric swallows
Wearing fabric swallows is a custom in some regions in Shaanxi. Every Start of Spring, people like to wear a swallow made of colorful silk on their chests. The custom originated during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The swallow is a harbinger of spring and a symbol of prosperity and happiness.
- Biting the spring
- Biting the spring
In many parts of China, people observe the custom of “biting the spring” on the first day of Start of Spring. They eat spring pancakes, spring rolls, or a few mouthfuls of carrots.
This custom in Shaanxi is practiced right before the Start of Spring. The local government hires some skilled artisans and gathers them to build the frame of an ox out of bamboo strips and the legs with wood. Then they paste some paper and paint onto it—and, voila! The image of an ox is complete. It is said that if more red and yellow paper is used, then there will be a good harvest that year; if black paper is pasted, then the year will be poor. When the paper ox is ready, there is a ritual to paint the eyes. After that, people will set up an altar for it and worship it.
- Posting spring calligraphy and paintings
The custom of posting calligraphy and paintings on one’s door in the spring first appeared during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). People would do so to welcome spring and pray for good luck on the first day of Start of Spring.
- Appreciating plum blossoms
Lady and Plum Blossoms, by Hua Yan from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Plums blossom from the 12th lunar month to the second month of the next year. The plum blossom, as it fights against the cold, is the most highly regarded. In China, the plum blossom, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum are praised as the four gentlemen of Chinese flowers.
- Welcoming spring
People in China began holding a special ceremony on the first day of Start of Spring about 3,000 years ago. They made sacrifices to Gou Mang, the god of Spring, who is in charge of agriculture. By the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), greeting spring had become an important folk activity. In Beijing, government officials welcomed spring in the wild field near Dongzhimen (the east gate of Beijing).
Plum trees are in bloom at East Lake Plum Garden in Wuhan, Hubei province, which has been attracting 15,000 tourist visits daily. [Photo by Wang Bin/For chinadaily.com.cn]
More than 20,000 plum trees in more than 340 varieties are in full bloom at the East Lake Plum Garden in Wuhan, Hubei province.
In recent weeks, the garden has attracted around 15,000 tourist visits per day.
The garden at East Lake is the biggest plum research center in China, covering an area of more than 53 hectares and features the greatest variety in the world.
The blooming scene has attracted lots of photographers and photo hobbyists to take pictures at the garden, as well as people who are fans of traditional Han clothes and cheongsam to enjoy the early spring in traditional Chinese outfits.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, reservations are required. Tourists must show reservation barcodes at the entrance and have their body temperature checked.
Tang Ziye contributed to the story.
Laba rice porridge.
Chinese people start their preparations for the Spring Festival more than 20 days ahead. The 12th lunar month in Chinese is called la yue, so the eighth day of this lunar month is la yue chu ba, or laba. The day is also known as the Laba Rice Porridge Festival. The Laba this year falls on Jan 20.
Three major customs on Laba are ancestor worship, eating Laba rice porridge and making Laba garlic.
Ancestor worship: At the end of the year, working people get more free time to prepare for the sacrifice to the ancestors. The reason the 12th lunar month is called La Yue has a lot to do with the custom of sacrifice.
First, the worship of ancestors, called “腊” in Chinese, and the sacrifice for the gods, called “蜡”, both frequently took place in the 12th month, which led to the traditional name of the month: la yue. Second, winter is the slack season for farmers so they have time to find things to burn in the sacrifice. The radical of “腊” represents the sacrifice of meat to one’s ancestors (“月” symbolizes meat).
Laba rice porridge.
Laba rice porridge: There are several legends about the origin of porridge eating on Laba: Some claim it is of Buddhist origin; some say the porridge, made of red beans, can exorcize evil from children. Others say the porridge is in memory of a poor couple.
The custom of porridge eating has been well known throughout history, from the royal court to common people.
The most “authentic” porridge was made in northern China, especially Beiping, today’s Beijing.
The main ingredients of the Laba porridge are rice and sticky rice; people also add sugar, red dates, lotus seeds, walnuts, chestnuts, almonds, longans, hazelnuts, raisins, red beans, peanuts, water caltrops, roseleaf and other various materials to make the porridge special.
During the course of owning a vehicle, you may be required to install a new power window switch. This is going to be especially true in used cars where the warranty has already expired. Because of their use, power window switches can fail from time to time. This can be because it gets wet, wires start to corrode, or it simply wears out. Replacing the power window switch is not going to require a costly trip to the repair shop. You can easily install a new one yourself in your own garage with basic tools.
Step 1 – Purchase New Switch
Find the parts number from your user manual. If you do not have the user manual you can always find out this number at the auto parts store. Tell them the make and model of your car, including the trim package, and they will be able to find the part that you need.
Step 2 – Compare Switches
Once you get the switch out to the car, or back home to your garage, compare the switches. Look at what they look like and approximate size. If they seem to be the same thing, then you can move on to installing it. If not, then exchange it for the one that is right.
Step 3 – Pry off Bezel
Using a flat head screwdriver you can pry up the bezel that the switch is in. You do not have to remove the door casing or the handle of the door. You simply pry gently on the power window switch bezel to get at the housing.
Step 4 – Remove from Bezel
Once the bezel comes loose, you will notice some tabs that hold it into place. Press down on the locking tab and it will come loose. Hold up the switch and bezel and look for some tabs that hold the switch to the bezel itself. Pry these with a little pressure from the screwdriver and pop the switch from the bezel.
Step 5 – Remove Rockers from Switch
Once you have the power window switch out of the bezel, remove it from the outlet. This is simply disconnecting it from the wire harness. Remove the rockers from the window switch and make sure that you know which direction they go when transferring to the new switch. Mark the front with a small piece of tape so you know where to place them on the new switch.
Step 6 – Assemble New Switch
With the rockers in hand, you can then install them onto the new switch. Take an extra minute to reassure yourself that you have them facing in the right direction. Remove the tape, if you used any, and then connect the wires back to the switch. Pop back into the bezel holder and slide the assembly back into the hole in the door. Push the assembly back in place and make sure you hear the tab snap. Test out the rockers to see if the switch moves the way that it should.
Step 7 – Test Window
Turn your car on and see if the new power window switch works.