30
votes
4answers
28k views

Reviving a vehicle that has been idle for a long time.

Some related topics: How to maintain a sometimes-used vehicle? How long does it take for gas to go bad? The first related topic addresses preparing a vehicle for long-term disuse, and maintaining ...
41
votes
5answers
148k views

Why does my A/C blow foul smelling air when it first turns on?

Most of the time when I first turn on the A/C in our 2008 Toyota Sienna, the air that blows out has a very distinct chemical - nasty smell. After a while it seems to go away. I'm not sure if I just ...
19
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I test my car battery?

My car still starts fine but when I turn off the car (just the motor . . the key is still in and "on") I noticed the headlights dim to almost off. It's and older car and the headlights don't turn off ...
61
votes
17answers
96k views

Does Downshifting (Engine Braking) Cause Extra Wear and Tear?

Does the act of downshifting to slow your vehicle down have any negative side affects? I don't downshift more than one or two gears at a time and I let out on the clutch slow enough that I don't rev ...
58
votes
9answers
24k views

What are the benefits of premium (high octane) petrol?

Here in the UK it's common for petrol (gas) stations to offer both regular and "premium" unleaded petrol. The premium stuff is (naturally) more expensive, and I've often wondered what the actual ...
25
votes
4answers
44k views

How far can I drive with 1 gallon too much oil?

I have way too much oil in my Acura TSX. Do I need to take care of it without turning it on or can I drive it to a service station? If I need to do it in place, I don't have the ramps or a pan or ...
9
votes
11answers
26k views

Can coasting in neutral damage an automatic transmission?

When I drove a manual transmission, I got in the habit of shifting to neutral on long, shallow grades to save fuel. Now I'm driving an automatic (specifically, a recent Corolla) and still doing it. ...
11
votes
4answers
22k views

Engine power specification at different rpm?

Car companies advertise power of an engine at different rpms. Car 1: 80 PS at 6000 rpm Car 2: 85 PS at 6500 rpm What does the power at different rpm mean? Does it mean Car 1 has better power than ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

Will engine braking damage my transmission? How can I tell?

I drive a manual transmission '08 Honda Fit. On my daily 17 mile commute to work, there are three long hills that I can coast down, each about a half mile long. Going down these hills, I've done two ...
19
votes
3answers
6k views

Static vs. Effective compression: Why does higher effective compression not require higher octane gas?

Background I've been trying to do a lot of research on boost lately because I'm planning on running a moderate turbo setup on my daily/light-duty-autox car in the future. I'm trying to get into the ...
19
votes
7answers
111k views

Running with straight water as coolant in the summer. Is it fine?

I grew up flushing the coolant twice yearly. In the Spring, you drain the antifreeze and fill with straight water for the summer. In the Fall, you drain the water and put in a 50/50 antifreeze/water ...
9
votes
2answers
6k views

Lugging the Engine (Manual Transmission)

So...lugging the engine obviously isn't something that is good. But why? For example when you feather a clutch to get the car moving, it lugs for a quick moment when you hit the catch point (When ...
8
votes
4answers
207 views

How can I tell if I have bad cats?

No, not that cat! Catalytic converters - or "cats" - have a nasty habit of failing with age. What are the symptoms associated with a cat that's gone bad? Are there any tests that could ...
8
votes
1answer
45k views

I lost my Mercedes smart key, how do I get a new one?

If I lose a Mercedes smart key fob, how do I get a replacement? Is there anything I should do to prevent the old key from being used if it was stolen?
46
votes
8answers
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)?
12
votes
1answer
3k views

how to optimize fuel consumption by changing the rear differential ratio?

Is it possible to improve the fuel consumption (decrease it) in my van by changing the rear differential ratio? I would like to optimize it for low-speed driving about 40 km/h (25 mph). Is it true ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Squeaky Brakes: How much of a concern are they?

I recently bought a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee from a dealership. When we bought it, I noticed that the brakes were not working very well, and the dealer fixed them before we finalized, putting in a ...
29
votes
9answers
5k views

What actually happens when there is not enough oil in a car engine?

When a car is topped up with oil, it clear to most people that you are supposed to fill it to the recommended amount as specified by the manufacturer (normally on a dip stick). What exactly are all ...
7
votes
4answers
27k views

Is engine braking harmful? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Does Downshifting (Engine Braking) Cause Extra Wear and Tear? My wife and I have a disagreement about a practice of mine--engine braking. When I'm driving her manual ...
7
votes
3answers
32k views

Oil in coolant - how much trouble am I in?

I have oil in my coolant reservoir. Could it just be the head gasket or is it almost certainly the entire engine or might it be something else entirely? Thanks in advance...
6
votes
3answers
252 views

Rough Low Idle and Engine Shakes, Hesitation and Lack of Power

On a 98 Mazda 626 GF 2L I'm working on the engine seems to shake / wobble for about a second / second and a half when going to WOT from any starting rpm. It also almost sounded like maybe one of the ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What bolt extractor will remove a broken motor mount bolt on a 2004 Subaru WRX?

Things were going slowly but well on my install last night until I sheared off the passenger side motor mount bolt while putting everything back together (at about midnight - sigh). Here are the key ...
3
votes
2answers
84k views

Honda Accord radio anti-theft code not working…what am I doing wrong and what should I do?

I had to remove the battery so I can replace the driver's side low beam headlight. I didn't bother to buy a settings saver because I found the security code in my Honda's packet (I bought this car ...
48
votes
15answers
229k views

Should I resurface or replace my rotors everytime I replace brake pads?

I have heard it is proper practice to replace or resurface your brake rotors every time your do a brake pad replacement. Does this need to be done every single time or is it overkill? Maybe it is ...
9
votes
5answers
835 views

Second hand car - Engine/Tyres/Etc

I am looking into buying a second hand car from a reputable Mercedes-Benz dealer (not just some dodgy salesman by the side of a road lol....). Anyway, there are a few maintenance/mechanical things ...
26
votes
9answers
40k views

Is it necessary to 'burn in' or 'break in' a new car?

I've just bought a new 2011 plate car. I've heard stories of people 'burning in' engines for the first few hundred or couple thousand miles using methods such as: Not driving above 50 mph. Varying ...
17
votes
2answers
910 views

How To Read Car Tires

On my VW Passat B5 tires, there is a marking that reads "195/65R15 91 V". What does this mean? Do I have to get replacement tires with this exact marking on the side of the tire in the future or not? ...
15
votes
8answers
42k views

Battery drains by itself when vehicle is parked (parasitic draw)

A 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee has gone through 3 batteries in the last 3 months. While they have all been replaced by warranties, it'd be nice to get the problem solved permanently. I've tested the ...
5
votes
1answer
836 views

What are some Seafoam Alternatives

I read this procedure for using Sea Foam ( also listed on their website ) to clean the intake manifold, injectors and crankcase. I think this would be useful for my vehicle, however Sea Foam isn't ...
21
votes
8answers
196k views

What is the difference between normal, platinum, iridium plugs?

What is the difference (besides price) between normal, platinum, and iridium spark plugs?
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I get rid of door dings?

Wife parks too close to my white car. Would love to get rid of these door dings as her car is only 3 years old.
37
votes
5answers
99k views

How long does it take for gas to go bad?

Approximately how long does it take for unleaded gasoline in the tank and fuel lines to become unusable in a car that is not being used? What causes this, and what can be done to prevent or remedy ...
7
votes
2answers
9k views

Is it normal for stop distance to be long on brand new brake pads?

I just had the brake pads replaced in my car. As I left the shop I noticed coming to a complete stop took longer distance or needed a fair bit more force on the pedal. Is this normal? Will the ...
6
votes
2answers
23k views

Accidentally poured engine oil into the coolant reservoir

My 1990 Mazda 626 leaks oil like a sieve, so I regularly top up the oil. In a moment of stupidity, I opened my radiator cap instead of my oil cap while topping up my engine oil, and poured about ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

I drove with the handbrake on for 1000 metres

I left my handbrake on for about 1000 meter when driving this winter. I smelled something burning when I opened the front door. Since then there is often a burning smell back right wheel after ...
3
votes
0answers
108 views

2002 Dodge Ram 1500 overheating

I have a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 two wheel drive with a 4.7 liter engine. It's been overheating so I replaced the whole cooling system: I replaced the condenser cooling fan because its not coming on ...
2
votes
3answers
822 views

how much water can be safely added to a battery?

My 2008 Jetta SE 2.5L has the battery as follows: ENERTEC EMC // 1J0 915 105 AD // 12V 61 Ah 330A DIN // 540A EN/SAE. It would appear that the battery can no longer hold the starting charge after an ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Mazda 323: Plugged in Coolant Temp Sensor - Now Car won't Start

I recently bought a Manual 97 Mazda Lantis 323 1.8L DOHC 16 Valve BP. I found the following wire unplugged on the drivers side of the engine, next to the water intake from the radiator: It plugs ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Fast Idle and High Fuel Consumption

I just bought a Manual 97 Mazda Lantis 323 1.8L DOHC 16 Valve BP and I was amazed that it went through 1/4 tank gas ( about 12.5 liters or 3.3 gallons ) in one day after about 60 kilometers / 37 miles ...
1
vote
1answer
436 views

How to test and repair brake imbalance?

My 2000 Honda Civic Aerodeck just failed its MOT (roadworthyness test) on Front Brake Imbalance (51%). I changed the pads a few months ago, and had trouble with both calipers on the driver's side of ...
42
votes
5answers
2k views

How to maintain a sometimes-used vehicle?

My daily commute changed from 9 miles to 9 feet when I started working remotely. That means I very rarely drive my car much. After a particularly hectic month, I didn't drive for about 4 weeks and ...
34
votes
6answers
6k views

Why do heavy vehicles almost always use diesel engines?

I have always wondered why heavy vehicles such as large trucks and buses almost always use diesel engines, whereas in light cars there is a choice between diesel and gasoline engines. Engine ...
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 ...
27
votes
3answers
9k views

Jump starting a dead battery: Connect black wire to negative pole of battery or grounded metal?

Most of the advice I've seen for jump starting cars instructs to connect the black wire to a bare piece of metal on the car with the dead battery. However, I've always just hooked up both poles to the ...
17
votes
1answer
4k views

How do I know when to change my spark plug

I ride a Piaggio scooter with a single cylinder engine. Recently I broke down and the engine wouldn't restart. It turned out the spark plug was stuffed. How can I ensure that doesn't happen again?
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How is engine load determined?

I'm struggling to find information on how engine load is defined. Is it really just a fancy word for torque demand? There are three parts to this question: Is there a theoretical equation that is ...
10
votes
2answers
13k views

WHY does an engine stall? (manual transmission)

Before you write off my question as one that's been answered a million times already, I want to clarify. I understand that the engine needs to go a certain rpm and when you try to engage the clutch ...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

How to assess battery charge level and alternator performance?

What diagnostics can be done to to assess battery charge level? I'm interested both in one-off tests like can be done in car service and also continuous monitoring during normal use. Car panels ...
6
votes
4answers
90k views

Is it okay to replace one tire (of four matched tires) with a completely different model of tire?

I have a 2011 Ford Focus, and while the car itself is good quality, I have now ruined two tires in three months by merely driving over a screw. Ford offers no road hazard on their tires, so I am ...
21
votes
8answers
59k views

Will higher octane fuel improve gas mileage?

I've heard from some people that high octane fuel will increase gas mileage. Around here, we have the basic unleaded(87), mid-grade(89), and premium(93 or 91). I've been using the basic 87 unleaded ...

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