Questions tagged [maintenance]

Questions about general routine maintenance of a vehicle or engine.

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60
votes
7answers
19k 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)?
25
votes
9answers
252k 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 ...
22
votes
1answer
75k 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 ...
20
votes
15answers
92k 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 ...
20
votes
12answers
184k 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. It ...
19
votes
4answers
178k views

What is a rod knock?

What is a rod knock? What causes a rod knock, how bad is a knocking rod, and how can I tell if a rod is knocking?
19
votes
1answer
20k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
7answers
4k views

How to find a part lost in the snow

How can one go about finding a very small part lost in the snow? — while working on my motorbike, one of the battery leads fell out and I can't find it. Buying a metal detector for the sake of ...
17
votes
5answers
7k views

Smart and effective ways to light up a garage without relying on power outlets?

I am currently renting an garage in an underground parking lot. The garage has no light inside nor electric plugs. The only form of illumination available comes from the few neon lights in the ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Maintenance tips to prolong engine lifespan for short trips

I just sold my car and will soon purchase a new one (probably a used one with 1-2 years on it). I decided on a Volkswagen up! with an EA211 1.0 TSI engine. I have heard from many different people (at ...
16
votes
9answers
103k views

Is an “oil life indicator” a reliable indicator for when to change the oil?

I have a 2014 Honda Pilot with 3600 miles on it. Historically I have always changed oil in my vehicles every 3000 miles, using good quality non-synthetic oil. Now this Honda has an "oil life ...
16
votes
3answers
20k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Standard Practices for Use and Care of Click-Type Torque Wrenches

Torque wrenches, while straightforward in concept, require much different use and care compared to a regular ratchet. This can be confusing to someone who has never used one before. There are several ...
14
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

what tests should I do on a 30 year old car driven 1,000 miles per year?

Car was owned by a grandfather and never used very much. Kept in a garage and never used during cold or rain. Now I want to use the car, but hesitate due to concerns about seals and tires, etc. Can ...
14
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
27k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
22k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

what is the process for replacing 12V car battery?

What is the process for replacing the 12V battery? How would I clean the contacts of the terminals? My OEM battery in 2008 Jetta SE 2.5L appears rather clean, including the terminals, but I recall ...
13
votes
5answers
21k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Tightening Stud Without Bolt Head

What would be the best way to tighten a stud without a bolt head? It essentially looks like this. I need to tighten it to a specific torque(4 of these have nuts tightened on them to hold the tire of ...
12
votes
7answers
17k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
22k views

Are belt conditioners safe?

A service advisor at a vehicle repair shop recommended belt conditioner to help ensure longevity of rubber belts (timing, serpentine, etc.) and as a possible inexpensive fix to various engine noises. ...
12
votes
4answers
504 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I tell if I screwed up my oil change?

I just changed my oil in my 2500 HD Silverado for the first time by myself. I've changed my oil in a 2004 Toyota Camry a handful of times, but I always had a friend supervise me. I need to know common ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the significance of rotating tyres in this pattern?

The Toyota owner manual contains this diagram. For non-directional tyres, what is the significance of swapping tyres in this pattern? Specifically, why is it advised to keep the front tyres on the ...
11
votes
1answer
475 views

Tire Maintenance

I just bought a new car and I have heard three things about tires: They need to be aligned They need to be balanced They need to be rotated Now, what I do not know is how often each needs to be done?...
11
votes
4answers
15k views

What is gained with “performance” spark plug wires?

When heading to the store to pick up a new set of spark plug wires, I found three products at this particular shop: Product #1: Price: Cheap Boots: EPDM Core: Suppression Insulation: EPDM Max Temp: ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

Prevent birds from making nests in wheel well

I've had an unusual issue a few years now, so I thought I would ask for any ideas. There is a pair of robins that seems to think that our van's tire makes a good place for a nest. They are ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Car enthusiast beginner tool kit

What is a good place to begin building a kit/set up for performing your own service? For example: oil changes waxing detailing What are the best tools/equipment to start with?
10
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
9answers
43k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
26k views

Why is the ATF Level checked with the engine running?

I didn't realize until recently that the ATF level is supposed to be checked while the engine is running, unlike the engine oil level which you're supposed to check at least five minutes after ...
10
votes
3answers
188 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 wouldn'...
10
votes
3answers
37k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
8k 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?
10
votes
1answer
190 views

Why use distance to indicate the usage of an engine

I fear that this question might be bordering on opinion based so sorry about that if it is. When looking for cars one of the primary indicators that people seem to use when trying to determine the ...
10
votes
2answers
166 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. ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

What clean, non-sticky lubricant can I use for door hinges?

I cleaned the hinges of my doors and tailgate, the grease had attracted all sorts of dirt and turned black, tar-like and abrasive (metal shiny when I wiped the stuff off). I used a toothbrush, WD-40 ...
9
votes
4answers
548 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?
9
votes
5answers
4k 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
2answers
10k views

Hood Unlatches but Won't Pop Up

Okay, I've got a 1998 Volvo V70 that takes two people to open the hood. When you pull the release on the inside, it unlatches but the hood won't pop open the inch or two until it reaches the safety ...
9
votes
4answers
46k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
348 views

My feet turn black

I left the pedicure salon, started my car and drove less than 3 miles to pick up something from the store, when I stepped out of my car my feet were black... and I don't meant just from dirt, It ...
9
votes
1answer
488 views

How often do you need to run a car?

I have a car that is garaged and not used much. How often should I take it out for a drive and for how long each time? I currently get it serviced every 10,000 KM.
9
votes
3answers
3k 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
6answers
5k views

What is the point of changing coolant if it gets constantly replaced?

I drive a 2016 Scion FRS, and based on the maintenance schedule of the coolant: 1st replacement interval is 11 years/137,500 miles (220,000 km). 2nd replacement interval is 6 years/ 75,000 miles (...
8
votes
5answers
22k 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 ...