Questions about general routine maintenance of a vehicle or engine.

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48
votes
7answers
7k 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
3answers
10k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
14k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
16k views

Should I use coca cola or baking soda + water to clean my battery clamps?

The clamps that are attached to the car battery are corroded, I was told either of these liquids will work. Which one is better? Is there a how to guide on the exact steps I need to take? With my ...
7
votes
3answers
907 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?
17
votes
7answers
58k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
17
votes
12answers
53k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
31k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
410 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 ...
17
votes
12answers
90k 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
3answers
20k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
439 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
764 views

What should I look for in a basic motorcycle maintenance toolkit?

I'm looking to do more of my motorcycle maintenance myself, and am wondering what I should be investing in, when it comes to tools/devices. What are the basic tools that I'd need when starting to do ...
6
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
71 views

Can I only get an alignment on new tires or is the salesman just being pushy?

When purchasing new tires, the salesman is quick to recommend getting an alignment as well to prevent premature tire wear. I've even been told that you have to get the alignment done when the tires ...
7
votes
3answers
17k views

What is a rod knock?

What is a rod knock? What causes a rod knock, how bad is a knocking rod, and how can I tell if a rod is knocking?
9
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What are the causes of fluctuating intake manifold vacuum

I have a 2005 Honda CBR600 F4i which suffers from occasional hesitation at low rpm when accelerating. I also get occasional fault codes from the ECU indicating a vacuum leak. Today I connected a ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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
1answer
67 views

Minimum Care of Leather Interior

I have just bought a used Honda Accord with leather seating. I'm not necessarily a car enthusiast, but I would be interested in knowing the minimum I should do to keep the interior in good condition. ...
7
votes
1answer
120 views

What makes a worn car shock spongy and soft?

I'm unfamiliar with car shocks. In motorcycles many rear shocks are charged with nitrogen which acts like a spring. I've seen motorcycle shocks that I've rebuilt have the correct amount of nitrogen ...
5
votes
2answers
78 views

Is it necessary to replace functioning spark plugs?

I have a 2000 Mazda Protege that last had it's spark plugs replaced about 4-6 years ago (about 40k-60k miles). It's a commuter car, but it's a short commute and mild driving conditions; probably 85% ...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

Is coolant testing necessary on modern vehicles?

My father in law continually reminds me to check my antifreeze when it starts getting cold. I get the squeeze tester out and it always shows everything is fine. We drive cars that are always less than ...
3
votes
2answers
281 views

Car sitting for several months: what should I do to keep it running well?

I have a car that's been sitting for several months and I just got it working again. What should I do to ensure that it keeps running well?
3
votes
2answers
345 views

Determining the size/pitch of bolts and nuts before taking things apart

I'm a shade tree mechanic with an old car that's got a fair amount of rust on various fasteners (particularly in the under-regions). When I'm doing maintenance, I often like -- or find the need to -- ...
3
votes
3answers
340 views

What are the critical maintenance items for a new motorcycle?

I have purchased a new motor bike recently. What are the critical maintenance items that I should focus on? For example: Is it true that we should not run new bikes on high rpm for some time? What ...
3
votes
3answers
163 views

Motorcycle Recharge System Checks?

I have a 2007 V-Strom DL1000 motorcycle, whose recharge system is not recharging a new battery. I also have a multi-meter. Could someone share how I can check the recharge system without removing the ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Front End Alignments

I recently had my vehicle in for a front end alignment. They told me all of my shocks were bad, causing all of the problems, and that they would not be able to align the front end with those bad ...
1
vote
1answer
31 views

Car interior rattles on idle

My carb Citroën BX interior rattles on idle. This mostly happens before the engine warms up, as soon as I apply the smallest amount of throttle this disappears, which leads me to apply throttle when ...
1
vote
2answers
710 views

Cream on oil cap? How to maintain a car that drives only short distances in Nordic environment?

My friend needs a car for night-time driving for distances about 15 km to-and-fro for his work. I read that short distances may be problematic to cars because the engine does not get hot enough -- ...