Questions about general routine maintenance of a vehicle or engine.

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36
votes
7answers
4k views

What to check when buying a used car?

I'm looking to buy a used car. What do you think I should check (mechanically) before buying it (especially if it's diesel)?
12
votes
1answer
6k views

Is Anti-Seize a lubricant, abrasive, or both?

I'll flesh my personal bias at the outset - being a heavy diesel mechanic for a time, and mechanically inclined my entire life, I use Anti-Seize wherever I can. If it has threads and it's not part of ...
10
votes
1answer
5k views

How can I repair cracks in leather seat?

The leather on the side of the driver's seat has some minor cracks. I am using conditioner to help prevent this in the other seats but these cracks already exist. Is there a product or patch of some ...
10
votes
3answers
351 views

Any recommendations on vehicle maintenance software for the DIYer?

I currently use a combination of Car Minder for the iPhone - it's only $2.99 but limited functionality - and Excel spreadsheets. Ideally I'm looking for something that will track all service for up ...
9
votes
9answers
13k views

Should I pull my wipers away from the windshield when parked during a winter storm?

When we are expecting snow storm and the vehicle is parked, do we pull out the wipers so they don’t touch the glass to avoid the freezing to the windshield? Or would that hurt the springs in the wiper ...
9
votes
8answers
45k views

Is Prestone “All Makes/All Models” coolant *really* compatible with all models?

My car's manual says to use the blue Honda coolant: Always use Honda All Season Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2 [MSDS]. This coolant is pre-mixed with 50 percent antifreeze and 50 percent water. ...
9
votes
5answers
6k views

How to improve fuel economy in high-mileage car?

I'm driving an 2003 Acura TL 3.2 with 177K miles on it. I bought the car with 110K miles on it. It seems to me that the car is not getting the same fuel economy that it did when I acquired it. I ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I select the right oil for my car?

I can give you my cars make and model and the conditions that I drive in, but I'm looking for a general guide to selecting the right oil for a car. I'm not really knowledgable when it comes to cars so ...
8
votes
6answers
7k views

Is it okay to leave a car for 5 months without driving it?

I need to travel to the east coast and work from there for a duration of 5 months. I can leave my car in covered parking here and ask a friend to start the car for a few minutes every week. What ...
8
votes
5answers
507 views

Should I buy a car or get my current one repaired?

I am in a bit of confusion on what I should do. If this is not the right place for such a question, I apologize and I will gladly kick myself out - just let me know. I have a Honda Accord EX 2000 for ...
8
votes
7answers
6k views

Most important preventive maintenance for high-mileage car?

My 2001 Chevrolet Prizm (a NUMMI) is about to hit 125,00 miles. I bought a little over 5 years ago, at which time it had ~79,000 miles on it. I bought it from a used car dealer that seemed to have ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

Is this what is making my car sound like a racecar?

Recently, my car (2000 Mercury Grand Marquis) started sounding like a racecar: the engine became very loud. There's clearly something going wrong with the exhaust system. I'm trying to understand ...
7
votes
2answers
245 views

Keeping an old car alive?

So I drive a '97 Subaru Legacy with about 200,000 miles on it. Still runs like a charm, never gives me any trouble. Had the brakes, rotors, and calipers all replaced recently, tightened the power ...
7
votes
2answers
511 views

Do I need to go to a dealer for a simple maintenance?

I just bought a 2012 CRV. Now, it's time for an oil change. I already moved so the dealer is too far away from my house (may need half day off) and there is no other public transportation to go there. ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Good template for keeping maintenance records?

I'm looking for ideas on templates to use to record service for multiple vehicles. Excel is preferred format, but open to all in interest of gathering ideas. Anyone have any templates?
7
votes
2answers
658 views

What material should I look for in an oil drain plug gasket?

I've recently purchased my first car (2004 Subaru Legacy), and though I sent it to the shop soon afterward for routine maintenance, I want to learn and do as much as possible myself. 3,000 miles have ...
6
votes
3answers
489 views

Car enthusiast beginner kit

What is a good place to begin building a kit/set up for performing your own service? For ex: oil changes waxing detailing What is the best starting equipment one can start on?
6
votes
5answers
5k views

What is a good car to start with if I want to learn auto repair?

A couple of other "getting started" questions have been closed (as redundant with these questions), so I hope that my question is different and specific enough. I'm interested in learning to repair ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does my car scream on cold start?

My 1988 Subaru XT6 2.7L engine screams at me on a cold start then it will stop and then do it again when I take it out of park, but then it stops. Also, my car is losing antifreeze. Any ideas why?
6
votes
3answers
4k views

How to begin learning engine tuning?

Quite simply, I want to begin tuning and modifying automotive engines for hobby. I have always been fascinated with cars, and I want to become knowledgeable in as many aspects of car tuning as ...
6
votes
2answers
350 views

How to detect a failing car alternator..?

Is there some way we can predict that the car alternator is about to fail in order to avoid a discharged battery situation on the road.. Although it will slow the sound of horn and will dim the ...
6
votes
1answer
363 views

Play in motorcycle chain - how much is ok?

Riding to day I could hear a rhythmic tapping sound. I occurs when I ease off the throttle. I think it is the chain tapping against the plastic chain guard when tension on the chain from accelerating ...
5
votes
3answers
155 views

Where can I go to do basic work on my vehicle?

I live in the middle of a city. I have a tiny parking spot in an underground parking garage (have to fold the mirrors in just to get in!). Doing any maintenance is officially verboten, and it ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Are these repairs necessary, and can I do them myself?

I'm wondering if the maintenance my dealer recently suggested is necessary, and if so, if it's worth it for me (a person who has technical skill but is inexperienced with auto) to undertake on my own ...
5
votes
3answers
230 views

What is the best practice to maintain a bike?

I have an Avenger 180cc bike, I want to maintain the bike without much help from the service center, external help etc. What would be the best practice methods?
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Remove stuck crankshaft bolt on 2003 Acura TL for timing belt change?

A friend is helping me change the timing belt on my 2003 Acura TL 3.2. Yes, I paid for the beer!!! We've successfully removed the upper timing belt covers, drive belt, and serpentine belt. We're ...
5
votes
3answers
145 views

I'm looking to buy a new car and I'm wondering what does more damage on a car: time or miles?

So the title is pretty self explanatory. I'm looking at getting a minivan, and there is a 2011 model with 50k miles, and a 2008 model with like 30k miles. What's better? Is it better to have ...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

What are the audible symptoms of a failing starter motor?

My 2004 Subaru WRX has 110000 miles on the odometer and I'm worried about the original equipment starter motor. Here are the audible symptoms that have me concerned: During the winter, I noticed ...
5
votes
3answers
286 views

Does only traveling short distances hurt my car?

I have an 04 Corolla that travels < 1 mile twice a day. Is this bad for the car? Reading online, I get a lot of mixed answers, so I'm hoping for definitive answer. In freezing temperatures, I ...
5
votes
1answer
138 views

How to know whether a Lexus rx450h qualifies for California Emissions standards?

I'm looking at a 2012 Lexus rx450h but will be moving to one of the states (Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, ...
5
votes
2answers
688 views

Ford Probe '94 heater problem

My Probe's heater has stopped working and only ever blows cold air. In addition to this, I notice the temperature gauge on the dash display is creeping very high. What part (or parts) is likely to be ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

How will I know clutch pads need replacing?

I have a manual shift honda civic. How would I or the motor mechanic know that the clutch pads need replacing? Would they check it during oil change? Certainly you don't open the transmission box to ...
5
votes
2answers
801 views

Changed radiator, now have misfiring?

I have a 1996 Nissan Altima. I had to change my radiator recently because it developed some cracks on the top of the tank and I would have to refill the tank every few days. When I changed the ...
4
votes
3answers
144 views

What checks or service should be performed before a long trip?

Before going on a long trip, say 10 hours a day, times 2 days at highway speeds, what checks or services should I have performed? This car is a 2007 Lexus ES350, but I'm looking for an answer that ...
4
votes
3answers
338 views

How to prioritize repairs?

My car needs some work, but I don't like taking out too much debt and my savings are sort of depleted for the moment, so I need to do a little at a time. How can I prioritize the work that needs to be ...
4
votes
2answers
302 views

Do fast cars need to occasionally be driven fast?

In the broad spectrum of cars, there's higher end models with sport-focused engines. Examples would be an BMW M3, and even more so Ferraris and Koenigseggs etc. Apparently they're more fussy, in that ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How to safely remove stuck threads? (Brakeline from Brakehose)

I have an 81 Chevy pickup C10 that I was replacing the brake hose on. In the process of trying to take the brake line loose from it I started to twist the line when I thought I had finally started to ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I know if my air filter needs replacing?

They say when an air filter is dirty, you should replace it. However, I'm just not sure how "dirty" is dirty? Is there some sort of easy test to determine whether I need to replace it?
4
votes
1answer
128 views

How to remove rust from chromed parts?

My motorcycle (Suzuki GN250) has many chromed parts, some of which are spotted with rust. I've seen several videos on youtube about ways of removing rust (e.g. ...
4
votes
1answer
86 views

Honda dealership questionable maintenance

My 2009 CRV with 59,500 miles and absolutely no problems went in for the 60,000 service. I was called and told that my power steering fluid smelled burned and looked dark. I was told that I needed a ...
4
votes
2answers
200 views

How to remove dipstick tube from 2003 Acura TL?

In the course of changing the timing belt in my 2003 Acura TL, my Hayne's manual says to remove the dipstick tube. The manual says that this is accomplished by removing one bolt. I removed the bolt, ...
4
votes
1answer
139 views

Mileage problem in motor cycle

I am using Honda CD 100 ss 100 cc two wheeler. If I increase the head light bulb watts little bit, will the mileage per liter of fuel reduce? and if so, any relationship?
4
votes
1answer
38 views

When should you replace plastic constructed ramps?

Is there a recommendation on how often you should replace plastic ramps? If the ramps look visibly damaged or warped it would make sense to buy a new pair, but I'm curious if the structural integrity ...
4
votes
1answer
204 views

Motorcycles: Way to maintain shiny chrome on exhaust outlets?

I have a motorcycle that has chromed exhaust pipes. I am worried that there will eventually be discolouration where the pipes join the engine, due to the heat. Is there a way to treat the pipes so ...
3
votes
3answers
102 views

What concerns should I have for having a car in a hot, dry climate?

I live in a hot, dry climate (Arizona, if anyone cares). It is very common in the summer for it to get over 110 F (That's 43 C for those of you metric buffs), usually having tens of days a year over ...
3
votes
2answers
175 views

How can I add tension to a motorcycle chain?

I have 2008 Yamaha Scorpio 225, and the chain is looking a bit loose. I've had a good look around, and I really can't find a way to tighten it. Does anyone have any idea where to look? Is there a ...
3
votes
3answers
146 views

What kind of gasoline additives will help maintain the engine efficiency/life?

Aside from the traditional maintenance of oil changes, and keeping fluid levels correct - what else will help prolong the engine's life? I recall a few years back gasoline additives were the thing to ...
3
votes
1answer
884 views

When I set the air flow to Defrost, it turns on the A/C?

On a 2001 Honda Civic. Having the temp dial to HOT. When I turn the air flow dial from FRONT to Defrost (windshield), it turns on the A/C button and the A/C motor kicks in also. It just started doing ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Is an “oil life indicator” a reliable indicator for when to change the oil?

I have a 2014 Honda Pilot with 3600 miles on it. Historically I have always changed oil in my vehicles every 3000 miles, using good quality non-synthetic oil. Now this Honda has an "oil life ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Durability of automatic transmission boxes versus durability of manual transmission boxes? Their lifetimes?

My friend is against cars with automatic transmission because he thinks that they break easily and that their repairing cost a lot. He thinks that it is impossible to maintain an automatic ...