17
votes
2answers
1k views

What possible causes for the “check engine” light can I check for myself?

The "Service Engine Soon" light came on yesterday and isn't going away on its own. The car drives fine, no weird noises, smells, or other symptoms. The manual is not very helpful, just directing me to ...
17
votes
2answers
915 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? ...
17
votes
7answers
65k views

What are the risks of overfilling a small engine with oil?

I recently overfilled a 4 stroke lawnmower engine with oil. It has been run for about 1.5 hours while overfilled. It smokes a lot right after being started but after 30 seconds or so the smoke clears. ...
17
votes
6answers
82k views

Is it safe to drive a car that has a broken suspension spring?

Yesterday I was driving home from work and heard a loud noise which I can only really describe as a "clang". After looking at it today, it looks like the spring for the front left (passenger side) ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the Advantages & Disadvantages of a Boxer engine?

I know that boxer engines are those which have pistons moving in the opposite direction. Also the fact that since they sit low the center of gravity is lower and causes better handling. Why dont ...
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?
17
votes
2answers
940 views

How exactly does a differential work?

I understand that the differential (or "diff") is the thing that allows the drive shaft to transfer its rotational velocity to the front or rear axle in order to move the car. As far as I know, the ...
16
votes
10answers
48k views

How can you tell the oil needs to be changed?

I know oil should be changed every 3000 or 6000 miles (depending on the car and conditions) but I'm not all that great at keeping track and I've let the car go for 10,000 miles before and it still ...
16
votes
2answers
10k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

Why not use gasoline on diesel engines or vice versa?

I've read gasoline engines use sparks to ignite the mixture, but diesel engines use just compression which can't be done in gasoline engines due to high compression ratios which can cause engine ...
16
votes
5answers
43k views

Why should the fuel petcock valve be turned to “Off” position when not using the vehicle?

It’s mentioned in the user manual of my motorbike, that when not using the vehicle, I should turn the petrol tap (the one that has three positions “On”, “Off” and “Reserve”) to “Off” position. I don’t ...
16
votes
6answers
5k views

What damage does a car suffer if not regularly used?

Sometimes I use the car on daily basis, but there are months when I don't use it at all, and it sits parked outside for 5+ weeks, with the battery disconnected. (Main reasons: working from home that ...
16
votes
2answers
982 views

Why do we need to cool air after it leaves a turbocharger?

When we are using a turbocharger to compress the incoming air, the air gets hotter. Usually this hot air is cooled by using intercooler before it is passed to the engine. But what is the reason ...
16
votes
4answers
25k views

Driving in second gear at 65+ mph

I accidentally drove my 2000 Grand Marquis on second gear on the highway. I was going 65 for like 5 minutes and tried to get it to 70mph but the car was shaking, when I realized I put it into regular ...
16
votes
1answer
262 views

5-Stroke Engines - What are these things?

What is a 5 stroke engine? Why aren't they using them in vehicles right now? Is this a new thing or has it been around for a while?
16
votes
4answers
19k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
140 views

What's the most environmentally responsible method of car parts cleaning?

I'll be the first to admit that this one has been hard for me. I clean cylinder heads, axle bearings, calipers, crankcases....the list goes on. I want to be clear here. I am not talking about ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

Will having a radiator full of engine oil do damage to the motor?

I've got one question; I was looking over this car that I was going to buy and there was engine oil in the radiator. I asked the guys why it was in there and he said he didn't have enough coolant to ...
15
votes
11answers
62k views

Wheel stuck or fused to drum

1997 Chevy 1500 My right rear wheel is stuck or fused to the drum. I can get the lugnuts off, but no luck getting the wheel off. I took it to a tire place and they couldn't remove it either, and said ...
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 ...
15
votes
10answers
156k views

How do I loosen stuck lug nuts in order to change a tire?

How do I loosen car tire lug nuts (so that I can change a tire) when they are really really stuck? I have tried turning the provided wrench, even standing and jumping on it. This worked for 4 of the ...
15
votes
2answers
771 views

Difference between OBDII and CAN

What is CAN (controller area network)? What are the differences between an OBD-II protocol and a CAN setup?` How do I use an OBD-II scanner on a vehicle with CAN?
15
votes
4answers
830 views

When does it make sense to replace a camshaft?

Preamble (Rant) I was reviewing this question in which the OP presents a repair quotation that includes replacing the "intake camshaft" to fix an engine that had overheated. To me this ...
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. ...
15
votes
4answers
157k views

What causes an engine to burn oil?

What are the different problems that can cause an engine to burn oil and in general how difficult / expensive is each one to repair? How do you diagnose each potential cause? I found this article ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the proper way to bleed brakes and replace the fluid?

What is the proper way to replace the brake fluid in a car? What tools are required? I want to make sure I do not get any air or bubbles in the system as this is something that needs to be done right ...
15
votes
1answer
350 views

What is the difference between a 180° V4 and a true boxer motor?

Reading this thread which talks about V4 motors, I am wondering what exactly is the difference between a 180° V4 motor you'd find in a Subaru and a true boxer (or horizontally opposed) flat 4 ...
15
votes
4answers
950 views

shifting stops when critically low on gas

I have a 1999 Dodge Dakota. It is a V6, 3.9 Liter, auto transmission. I have a weird problem that no one has been able to answer for me. HOW I CAME TO REALIZE THE PROBLEM: One day I was driving ...
15
votes
5answers
30k views

Is it OK to mix oil of different viscosity in a Wankel engine?

I have a Mazda RX-8 (with a Wankel rotary engine). Mazda advises North American owners to use 5W-20 oil. The engine was just replaced 200 miles ago by the dealer so it currently has 5W-20 in it. ...
15
votes
6answers
54k views

What is causing this terrible grinding/groaning noise when I come to a slow stop sometimes? (but not always!)

Update 11/9/2013 After a good bit of driving, the noise reoccurred. I took it back to the mechanic and we decided it must be the brake pads. They're pretty worn out, and like I said before, they're ...
15
votes
2answers
70 views

Does (forcefully) overriding the self-canceling damage my indicator levers?

Sometimes I don't want my indicators to self cancel, so I hold the indicator on while turning the wheel, and it makes a cracking/clicking noise. Am I damaging anything if I do this? EDIT: To ...
14
votes
13answers
74k views

How long should I let me car warm up in the winter?

I have been reading mixed reviews about how long to let your car warm up before driving in the winter months. Most of the articles say that the best way to warm it up is to let it idle for 1-2 ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the benefits of a dry sump?

I've heard references to dry sumps, usually in reference to racing engines. But more recently I came across an article about a 'supercar' which stated that it had a dry sump. What are the benefits of ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it ok to use a scissor jack instead of a floor jack?

I need to jack up my car to take out the front driver side tire and change the p/s and alternator belt. I don't own a floor jack but I do have a scissor jack. I was wondering could I just use the ...
14
votes
5answers
9k views

Adding a additional battery to car

I have purchased a brand new Toyota Innova. I need to install a a mac mini, 2 laptops and make this car a mobile office. I need to know if I can install another car battery in parallel, and will ...
14
votes
6answers
30k views

Does a timing chain need maintenance?

Does a timing chain (as opposed to timing belt) need any specific maintenance? In particular I'm talking about a BMW Z4
14
votes
8answers
25k views

My car's coolant temperature reaches almost 100 C / 212 F in a fast pace

Today, after a very hot day, I saw that my coolant was almost reaching 100C/212, I pulled over, stopped and took a look over the hood. The very little water that remained in the coolant tank was all ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

Can a vehicle be harmed with bad inputs via an OBD-2 port?

I bought a cheap (sub $10) ELM 327 Bluetooth clone OBD-2 diagnostic adapter on a local "ebay-style" market where the seller specializes in car diagnostics and has several thousand positive reviews ...
14
votes
5answers
5k views

My Car Squeals When Braking Even Though I've Had My Front Rotors Machined and Back Rotors Replaced and all new brake pads. What could it be?

I own a Toyota Soarer SC300 (1994), 2JZ motor non-turbo 3 litre engine. The engine is probably irrelevant, but provided for prosperity. Anyway, the front rotors were machined and are within the legal ...
14
votes
4answers
35k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

Is downshifting on hills harmful for non-trucks? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Does Downshifting (Engine Braking) Cause Extra Wear and Tear? Since the days of taking drivers ed (many years back). I was told that when you encounter a steep or ...
14
votes
2answers
15k views

Why is my motorcycle losing power when accelerating?

I ride a Honda Rebel 250 motorcycle and over the past few days I find that the bike is losing power when accelerating fast. When I twist the throttle to accelerate quickly (in any gear) I hear the ...
14
votes
7answers
44k views

What causes brakes to pulsate right after rotor and pad replacement?

I have a 2002 Infiniti Q45. I replaced the front rotors and pads on Sunday. It was the first time I've done this on a car, though I have done it countless times on various motorcycles. I was careful ...
14
votes
10answers
163k views

When do brake rotors really need to be replaced?

I need to replace my rear brake pads. A mechanic suggested I also replace my rotors because they are rusted around the edges. The rotors are in fact quite rusted, however, there is no rust on the ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Should a mechanical “click” Torque Wrench be set to zero when not in use?

I have a standard click torque wrench. I was told I should set it to zero when not using it in order to keep the accuracy high. Is this true? Secondly, I have not been doing this since I purchased ...
14
votes
2answers
372 views

Does resting your foot on the clutch wear it out?

Does driving with your foot always resting on the clutch (not pushing) generally wear it down?
14
votes
5answers
8k views

Manual transmission at stop: 1st with clutch in, or neutral with clutch out? -OR- Throwout Bearing wear

When sitting in traffic or at a long red light, is the Best Practice to have the car in 1st gear with your foot on the clutch, or in neutral with your foot off the clutch? Some say that you should be ...
14
votes
5answers
41k views

What causes battery terminal corrosion?

I put a new battery in my car about 8 months ago. After a problem starting a couple days ago, I found that there was massive corrosion under the battery terminals, so I cleaned them out and ...
14
votes
1answer
591 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
3answers
581 views

What are good features to look for in an ODB-II reader

I recently took my car in for the engine light. It turned out to be a minor problem (crack in gas cap let water in). It would be nice to have a low-cost ODB-II reader to be able to find out for ...

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