10
votes
4answers
100k views

Reasons for loss of radiator fluid

I've had to top up my car's radiator fluid twice in the last month after discovering that the expansion tank (plastic container where one usually tops up) had completely drained out (roughly a ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How might I fix a dent in a Honda Rebel fuel tank?

In a silly move during an engine overhaul, I dropped my Honda Rebel's fuel tank and put a dent in the top side. Is it possible to pull this dent out? I've heard there is a method using heat and ice ...
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 ...
5
votes
0answers
161 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
64 views

How can I tell when a tire was manufactured?

Unused tires harden and deteriorate quickly in harsh desert climates. When I shop for tires I want to make sure I get ones that are as fresh as possible from the factory without trusting the sales ...
2
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
532 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 ...
50
votes
6answers
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 ...
63
votes
9answers
41k views

Does the amount of fuel in the tank matter?

As long as there is some fuel in the tank, does the fuel level matter? In other words, is it advisable to make sure the tank is mostly full most of the time, or is this just silly? In other words, are ...
38
votes
6answers
8k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
17k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
24k views

Is Start & Stop technology good or bad for my car? (Alfa MiTO)

I was recently in the lucky position to obtain an (almost brand new) Alfa Romeo MiTo, Progression. Like many new cars coming out these days, it has "Start & Stop" technology that turns the engine ...
18
votes
2answers
11k views

Why doesn't the engine stall out when you come to a stop with an automatic transmission?

When you come to a stop with a manual transmission you have to push the clutch in or take it out of gear to keep the engine from stalling out. What keeps the engine from stalling in an automatic ...
14
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
47k views

Does a strut tower bar have any useful effect on chassis stiffness for a car with 100K miles?

Aftermarket strut tower bars are generally considered to be decorative on many brand new cars. However, it seems to be a bit more logical that a chassis with 100K miles would have developed some flex ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I use washing up liquid to wash my car?

I was just wondering, can I use something like Fairy washing up liquid or dish soap (which is added to hot water in a sink or basin to wash plates, dishes and cutlery etc)) in warm water to wash my ...
9
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
92 views

What is the “propane test” and how is it carried out?

This test is often mentioned in the context of figuring out what's wrong with a car engine's operation (misfires, hesitation, poor fuel economy, etc.) What is this test and what does one need to ...
7
votes
5answers
160k views

What is the meaning of BHP and torque in bikes or cars?

BHP = Brake horse power. It says that it is brake horse power but it is generally relates with high pick up (your bikes reaches top speed in lesser time). So what does this actually mean?. Torque = ...
5
votes
2answers
574 views

Writing CAN Messages

I want to know what should I write with the CAN ID to send it to ECU. I am using ELM327 and Raspberry Pi with all connections to OBD-II. Initially for sending general PIDs to the ECU through ELM327 ...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

Engine braking with an automatic transmission

For reference, I've reviewed these three questions: Manually shifting an automatic transmission? Does Downshifting (Engine Braking) Cause Extra Wear and Tear? Is engine braking harmful? I drive a ...
24
votes
3answers
127k views

What does a water like drop coming out of the exhaust of the car signify?

Sometimes while driving in the traffic, I come across a car or two which would be dripping water-like drop from it's exhaust steadily in a break of 4-5 seconds. I tried to ask a couple of people at ...
18
votes
7answers
106k views

Is idling bad for your engine?

If I sit in my car for 30-40 minutes with the AC and the car idling, does that "hurt" the engine, or does it simply waste gas and pollute the air? Would it be better if I turned off the car? A ...
13
votes
2answers
6k views

What happens to a car when it hasn't been driven for 12 years?

I'm hoping that I'll soon be the owner of 2l turbo charged, 4wd hatchback that's been sat in a garage, undriven for over a decade. Trouble is that I won't be able to give it a full inspection until I ...
13
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
83k views

Just HOW urgently should I replace this tire? Is it safe to drive on at all?

It's my rear right tire. It has a significant bulge in the sidewall. Here are two pictures of the bulge (original URL): Do I need to replace it before I ever drive on it again? Should I put on ...
9
votes
3answers
47k views

Does giving gas while releasing the clutch cause unnecessary wear?

I drive a 2013 Ford Fusion SE with manual transmission. I learned to drive a manual as a kid but picked up a lot of bad habits. In particular I tend to naturally ride the clutch. Now, of course in 1st ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

How does the change oil light system work and does it matter what type of oil you use for it to work properly?

I want to know if the methods a vehicle decides when to turn on the oil change light have to do with the qualities of the motor oil used in the last oil change. I have heard that the vehicle's ...
7
votes
3answers
7k views

What is involved to recharge the Air Conditioning System?

What is involved to recharge the Air Conditioning System? I believe you need a machine to do it, so I am guessing you can't do it yourself.
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Realistically, how much can I expect to improve cloudy headlights by polishing?

The headlight lenses on my vehicle (a 2001 Ford F-150) are cloudy, and presumably as a result, the headlights are not terribly effective. (I could post a photo if you want.) I bought a polishing kit ...
4
votes
4answers
35k views

What is the proper way to extract a broken sparkplug?

When dealing with a car with aluminum head(s), what is the proper way to extract a broken sparkplug?
17
votes
4answers
41k views

Why does a Turbocharger only produce boost when the engine is under load

As per the Title. Why does a turbocharged car only produce significant boost whilst the engine is under load. Is is something to do with how much exhaust is being produced or is there some kind of ...
17
votes
4answers
21k views

What are the benefits of low profile tires?

I have yet to find anyone that knows of any benefits of low-profile tires. All of the pros that I've asked have said there is no benefit. Naturally, the number of pros that I have available to ask is ...
15
votes
1answer
801 views

How important is time-based servicing vs. distance-based servicing?

For years I have been driving a very old car, and servicing it every 10,000 kilometres even though it took me almost a year to drive that much. Now I have a newer car which I care about more. It's ...
14
votes
2answers
409 views

What is a leak down tester and what can I do with it?

Background There are quite a few head gasket related questions on the site. Coolant or water in the oil, oil in the coolant or water in a radiator, etc. I'm thinking that some instruction on howto ...
14
votes
3answers
522 views

What is valve float and how does it impact engines?

The Wikipedia entry is hard to grok: Valve float is an adverse condition which can occur at high engine speeds when the poppet valves in an internal combustion engine valvetrain do not properly ...
12
votes
1answer
10k views

How does an automatic gearbox know when to change gear

As the title suggests, how does an automatic gearbox know when to change gear, for example, how does the autobox know to shift down when you hit a gradient for example, also how does it know to shift ...
12
votes
12answers
40k views

Couldn't start my Volvo due to Key Error. Called assistance and he fixed it by hitting the key with a screwdriver. What could be the error?

My Volvo S40 (06) would not start when I turned the ignition key. I got a message that was somewhat like "Key Error, please try again". I tried with both my keys so it wasn't the key itself. I think I ...
10
votes
2answers
103 views

Why Have More Than One IAC Type Device On an Engine?

I've had two Mazda's, a 97 323 and 98 626. On both these car's engines there was only a single IAC mounted on top of the throttle body, and no other device for adding air flow on the intake side. ...
10
votes
8answers
1k views

Is shifting to neutral on a decline more fuel efficient than keeping the gear engaged?

I always had the habit of shifting to neutral on long declines and using the brakes to slow down as needed. Intuition made me believe I'd be saving fuel as opposed to keeping a gear engaged. However, ...
8
votes
1answer
178 views

What exactly are fuel trims?

What is meant by the term "fuel trim"? Why are they so important in diagnosing engine operation issues? How do short-term fuel trims differ from long-term fuel trims?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Why would turning on the A/C affect my alternator output voltage?

So yet another chapter unfolds in the A/C gremlin saga of my LS1 Chevy. Backdrop A/C compressor is relatively new (2 years old) One of the belts is squeaking (not sure which one) Recently performed ...
7
votes
2answers
20k views

Engine Size and Fuel Consumption

I have this weird misconception that the engine size is related to the amount of fuel being burned in one cycle(4-stroke engine). I know this is stupid but how does engine size relate to the amount of ...
6
votes
2answers
101 views

Main engine not firing after non-engine-related fixes (replacing fuses and transmission fluid), starter/fan fine

This order of events makes no sense to me, I'm hoping someone here can see some possible link between them that I can't. Car is a 1998 Toyota RAV4 automatic, FWD: I had a car-not-starting problem ...
6
votes
3answers
36k views

Can I reprogram a used Mercedes smart key?

I want a new key for my Mercedes Benz and I've heard that you can get a used smart key for much cheaper than a new one from a licensed Mercedes mechanic. Can I reuse an already programmed Mercedes ...
5
votes
2answers
406 views

How to move car a small distance without tow dolly

How could you move a small car a small distance (like 5 blocks) without a tow dolly or tow straps I have rope but don't have tow straps.
5
votes
2answers
285 views

A/C Temporarily Cures Low, Hiccupping Idle

I have a 99 Nissan Almera 1.6L MTX ( nearly identical to the Sentra sold in the US ) which has developed a problem with low idle, occasional stalling at stop lights, what seems to be misfires and ...
5
votes
1answer
158 views

How does a torque converter work?

I am still in the learning process and I am okay with torque converter but there is something I can't understand very well: Why does the impeller and turbine have vines in opposite directions? Why ...

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