10
votes
2answers
7k views

2005 Dodge Ram: easy way to diagnose code P0420?

My truck is reporting a code P0420, which apparently is "Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)" which can either be the catalytic converter or the rear O2 sensor. The code came on at ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I find the correct pins in a CAN-BUS connector?

This question might be too technical for this forum, but I'll give it a go. I have a 2012 BMW R1200R motorcycle with CAN-BUS. I'd like to make an Arduino interface to the connector on the bike, but I ...
9
votes
3answers
45k 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
7answers
27k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
8k views

How much power (HP) do the components on the engine belt generally use?

In general, how much power (HP) to the components on the the engine belt actually use? I'm trying to come up with an estimate of how much horsepower an engine wastes on things like the AC compressor, ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What are the benefits to waxing a modern car?

I was taught that waxing a car helped protect the finish by preventing damage from the elements - water, salt, etc.. The first vehicles I owned (a 1981 Impala and a 1978 Thunderbird) developed larges ...
7
votes
1answer
312 views

What does a healthy spark plug look like?

The spark plug pictured here: Has some black carbon on the underside of the ground electrode and has black carbon on the "base" area below the centre electrode (not pictured). Is this normal and ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Engine revs up when braking

Background: 2012 Honda Civic EX, 5-speed automatic, with no mods except a non-stock tire (ran over a large bolt). I keep it maintained per the manufacturer's manual and always see the Honda dealership ...
6
votes
1answer
302 views

Why does an engine's idle RPMs take time to settle from a cold start?

I've noticed my car's (healthy) engine will idle at a slightly higher RPM for a few moments after it's been started from cold/not run for a day. I also noticed that my (somewhat less healthy) other ...
6
votes
1answer
77 views

Oily Sludge in the Intake Manifold

When taking off the throttle body to clean my IAC, I noticed that there was a thick layer of oily sludge coating pretty much everything inside the intake manifold: I have two queastions: How did ...
6
votes
2answers
217 views

How to know if I need new tires?

For the first time in my years of driving, I slid pretty badly the other day. I've slid before a little bit, but this is the first time I slid badly-- I nearly went off the road. Granted, it was ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How should I prevent my battery going flat when I leave my car alone for a month?

I will be leaving my Focus alone for around a month in (scottish) winter weather. Ordinarily I would make sure to take the vehicle out at least once a week to prevent the battery going flat in the ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Heater smells like sulfur

I drive a 2006 Toyota Sienna. When driving with the heater on I often smell sulfur. This is more common when I am driving up a hill, but if I turn the heater off, the smell goes away. What causes this ...
5
votes
3answers
10k views

How to know if timing belt failure will result in immediate engine damage?

I own two cars: a 2003 Acura TL and a 2005 Volvo S60. I've been told that depending on what car you drive, a failed timing belt can result in immediate engine damage. I would like to know (not just ...
5
votes
4answers
220k views

The car won't start, not even click, but everything else works fine in the car

The car has powerful new battery (1 week old). I drove the car and after 4 hours, the car will not start, not even click when you try to start the car? All the lights are ok and they are not dim. What ...
4
votes
1answer
121 views

Is it necessary to have the good car's engine running when jumpstarting

When jump-starting a vehicle, one first connects the positive and negative terminals between the two cars: positive to positive and negative (good battery) to a bolt head on the vehicle with the dead ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Ford Taurus common oil leak area?

On my last oil change, the technician noted some oil around top and side of the engine block and said there is a small leak. The only way to find where it is coming from is doing the whole dye test, ...
4
votes
3answers
19k views

Cost of replacing struts on a 99 camry - and is it doable on our own?

My girlfriend is having a heck of a vexing time with navigating her options for getting the rear struts on her 99 camry replaced. One major chain auto repair store quoted $580-$600 for the job. ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Low beam headlights don't work, High beam headlights do

The vehicle is a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The low beams aren't working. High beams are. The fuse is perfectly fine (tested and swapped out). The bulbs are fine too. A mechanic told me it could be ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

toyota corolla 2001 air duct smell

My 2001 Toyota Corolla recently started smelling very foul whenever the air system was turned on. According to the research I've done online, there is no cabin air filter to change. The glove box ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Does switching to neutral on an automatic transmission improve braking for immediate stopping?

I've been told that when needing to brake quickly, throwing the gear into neutral on an automatic transmission actually allows for better/quicker braking. I understand how things work pretty well but ...
3
votes
4answers
18k views

What precautions are needed when charging a car battery in an apartment?

Suppose a car owner lives in an apartment building and parks his car nearby. He wants to detach the battery, bring it home and charge it with a mains-powered charger indoors. How to properly handle ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I add a second key fob to my 2008 Prius

I have a series II 2008 Toyota Prius. I purchased a second key off of eBay and would like to program it for ignition and remote control.
3
votes
5answers
4k views

2006 Kia Sedona intermittently not starting

What could be causing my (non-)starting issues? Occasionally (once every two weeks or so) when the keys are inserted and turned to the start position, nothing happens. No noise, no dome lights dimming ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Occasional Vibration at specific highway speeds.

Symptom: At certain speeds (70 mph, 40 mph, etc.) there is a noticeable vibration. Vehicle: 1998 GMC Sonoma (2 wheel drive) The vehicle was purchased used and had similar symptoms at the time. ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Should replacing the brake pads make braking feel “softer”?

I've just had the brake pads replaced on my Skoda Fabia- apparently they'd worn very thin. But now when I brake I have to push down much harder on the brake pedal than before. Is this to be expected? ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Slow acceleration, high fuel consumption after spark plug change

I have a 2000 Ford Ranger 4.0 L V6 4x4 model. I recently was having some problems with the truck idling too low when cold and I decided to change the spark plugs. I put in 4 out of the 6 new plugs and ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

92 Civic engine won't start after replacing head gasket

I just replaced the head gasket in my 1992 Civic. Started it up before putting everything back together (just a second since it had no coolant, exhaust wasn't connected, etc.) and it ran fine. But now ...
2
votes
3answers
305 views

Is my mechanic ripping me off?

My 2002 ford focus (built after may 23) died and the AAA and tow guy both said that it needs a new fuel pump. Anyway I went to the mechanic and he said it'll be 350 for the pump and 200 for labor. I ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

turning right causing small vibration and noise

My 2004 Ford Focus makes small grinding and vibrating noises when turning to the right. The problem was much more severe earlier this month. I took it to the shop and had them get me new tires and an ...
2
votes
1answer
9k views

Check Engine Light on '94 Jeep Grand Cherokee

How do I get Check Engine Light codes (ODB-I) from a '94 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and where can I look them up?
1
vote
0answers
922 views

Fuel Consumption and other Fuel related data from basic OBD-II parameters

I want to know how can i obtain the values of Fuel Consumption, Fuel Economy and other fuel related information from basic OBD-II parameters like Vehicle Speed, RPM, TPS etc. I have noticed that not ...
1
vote
1answer
147 views

Volvos with the same parts as the Volvo 440 GL with 2 liter motor?

I have an old Volvo 440 GL (~1994) and I need to find a part to the exhaust system that costs the same amount as the car itself if bought from the Volvo company itself: this is the flange part in the ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

How do I know if I need new brakes?

I recently purchased a car with 135k miles on it and I have no idea when the brakes were last replaced. I've done work on my cars before but never have changed the brakes, so I'm not sure how to tell ...
0
votes
3answers
6k views

Approximately how many hours of labour is involved in a clutch replacement

Because the cost of labour varies dramatically from country to country, region to region, city to city and sometime even suburb to suburb it doesn’t make much sense to ask how much the labour portion ...
0
votes
0answers
83 views

How to Get Basic Car Repair Knowledege [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Getting Started in Auto Repair I'm looking for some teach yourself sources for auto repair. I'd like to start restoring an old car in my dad's garage, but I don't have ...
20
votes
7answers
187k views

what is the difference between DOT3 and DOT4 brake fluids?

What is the difference between DOT3 and DOT4 brake fluids? What could possibly go wrong if I use a (4 times cheaper) DOT3 brake fluid instead of the DOT4 which manufacturer recommends (but allows ...
13
votes
6answers
52k 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) ...
11
votes
1answer
418 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
43k views

Is it possible to harm your car by giving someone a boost?

This post explains why it's a potential hazard to clip to the negative post on the dead battery when giving a boost. But I've also been told that I could damage the electronics in my own car if I give ...
11
votes
2answers
9k views

Why would a new gas cap cause the “check engine” light to shut off?

This happened to a friend of mine: The "check engine" light came on in his truck (Toyota). He replaced the gas cap and the light shut off. Then I also had a "check engine" light come on in my 1994 ...
9
votes
2answers
22k views

Must I Replace All 4 Tires on an All Wheel Drive (AWD) Subarau, when only 1 is damaged?

I have a 2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Wagon. I just destroyed the passenger-side rear tire. The tires have approx. 6/32" tread remaining, per an informal measurement with a coin (I used this guideline ...
9
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
21k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
322 views

How to I stop the 'never-ending' turn signal?

I have an '07 Chevy Malibu, whose turn signal doesn't seem to disengage whenever I make a turn, unless it's more than roughly 160 degrees (a U-turn). What are some of the possible causes and are ...
9
votes
3answers
12k views

How do I safely siphon gas from a tank?

Our 2003 Windstar was recently totaled in an accident (everybody's ok). This happened the day after we filled the tank. Before we hand over the car to the insurance, we'd like to get the fuel out of ...
9
votes
2answers
212 views

Proper Jack Location

In general, where is the best place to put a jack to prevent damage when lifting?
8
votes
2answers
5k views

What are the possible causes of vibrating steering wheel?

What can be the cause of a vibrating steering wheel when driving faster than a specific velocity (let's said 60 mph). How to discriminate one cause from on other ?
8
votes
1answer
215 views

How to fix freezing locks

Does anyone know how to prevent locks on car doors from freezing, this is usually only a problem in older cars. I'm not thinking of solutions like WD-40 that really only work for a few days and then ...
7
votes
3answers
12k views

Can I use lower octane fuel at high elevation?

Here in Colorado, gas stations sell "regular" gasoline which is rated at 85 octane ((M+R)/2). In most of the rest of the US, 87 octane is the lowest grade available. (As noted previously, higher ...

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