Questions about general routine maintenance of a vehicle or engine.

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45
votes
7answers
6k 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)?
15
votes
12answers
79k 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. ...
14
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
8k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
26k 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 ...
12
votes
11answers
49k 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
41k 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
12k 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
10k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
400 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Caliper piston will not collapse on Almera 98

I was changing brake pads on a Nissan Almera 98 and I accidentally pumped the brake piston a bit out. I tried putting it back with a C clamp and the old pad but it won't budge. It's completely stuck! ...
9
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
5answers
782 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
5answers
9k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
17k 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
3answers
73 views

What are common cold weather starting issues with cars?

Based upon the current weather in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, I would imagine there are some people suffering from all manner of cold related vehicle issues. What are some of the leading issues ...
8
votes
3answers
5k 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?
8
votes
0answers
74 views

1982 Yamaha Virago - Several things are wrong and i'd like to repair myself

Several things have happened in the past couple days and I would like to know what could possibly be wrong before I take it all apart. Engine dies after letting off the throttle while on the road. ...
7
votes
3answers
824 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?
7
votes
2answers
391 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
3answers
165 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
990 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
245 views

Long term storage of parts

I recently bought some spare parts for my Subaru Forester XT and would like to store them the right way until I need them. Specifically, I have a turbo, injectors, exhaust and intercooler that needs ...
7
votes
1answer
55 views

Frozen windshield wiper fluid on road trip

We are driving in a winter storm and our old wiper fluid is frozen. We picked up some de-icer fluid from a gas station but it has not yet unfrozen the fluid. Any suggestions for an on the road fix? ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

How to maintain power windows to keep them from freezing stuck?

I recently got a car with frameless side windows. Whenever a door handle is touched, the door window is automatically slightly lowered to release it from upper sealing. During winters, temperatures ...
7
votes
1answer
49 views

Dirty air filter seal

Whenever I have had work done in the past that I can't perform myself, timing belt etc every garage I have been too has made a real mess with my air filter. When I check the filter there is always ...
7
votes
1answer
61 views

How to test gas station air compressors before use?

Yesterday I was with my wife and three children in the car, 300 KM from home just after sunset. I pulled into a gas station and as before all long trips, I dialed 31 PSI on the gas station's air ...
7
votes
1answer
53 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. ...
6
votes
5answers
4k views

Viability of using an electric impact driver instead of an air impact wrench

I'm an amateur mechanic, and i'm wondering if i could use an electric impact driver in place of an air driven impact wrench. I don't have a lot of space to use and store an air compressor, so a ...
6
votes
3answers
956 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
326 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?
6
votes
4answers
3k 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
4answers
192 views

Cheap vs Expensive Fuels [closed]

What is the difference between the cheapest fuels in a place like Tesco's and the 'high quality', highly priced competitors? Is there actually any noticeable difference in available power, engine ...
6
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
55 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
739 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
2answers
576 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
2answers
82 views

Commonly required spare parts for quad bike (e.g. Yahama Grizzly)

I run a remote field station in central Africa, and we are purchasing a quad (probably a Yahama Grizzly) to ease access. Given parts and funding are hard to get hold of, I would like to take full ...
6
votes
1answer
819 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
39 views

Honda R8X-S heat seize

I've got a Honda R8X that heat seizes when I'm riding it when it goes over 40mph. The lad I got it off said he had it re-bored and that it was run in. Will I need to re-bore this again or is there ...
6
votes
1answer
69 views

Socket wrench turns loose on top of spark plug

I'm trying to replace the spark plugs of my 2006 Prius, but the deep well 5/8 socket attached to a 2 in extender just turns loose, as if it does not fit in the top of the spark plug. I tried also 3/4 ...
5
votes
2answers
79 views

Removing a car battery - order of wires explanation

Q1: When one removes a car battery, why does one start with the minus wire? Is it because if we remove the plus wire first it may touch the body of the car and close the circuit, causing a ...
5
votes
3answers
169 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 ...
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
2answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
61 views

AirbBag and 4x4 light is on after changing BMW X3 battery. Why?

After I changed my BMW X3 2008 battery at home the 4x4 and AirBag light is on. Any ideas why? Some people claim that changing BMW x3 battery is not straight forward, however, they don't explicitly ...
5
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...