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21
votes
1answer
14k 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?
21
votes
3answers
1k views

What are good features to look for in an OBD-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 OBD-II reader to be able to find out for ...
20
votes
5answers
174k views

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

Update: I actually don't even have the car anymore. But I did immediately change this tire at the time. It's my rear right tire. It has a significant bulge in the sidewall. Here are two pictures ...
20
votes
11answers
35k views

Need I press clutch pedal while starting my car in neutral?

As I know, clutch pressing and neutral gear both disengage the engine from wheels. So will it matter if I do not press the clutch if I start in neutral?
20
votes
8answers
20k views

When the handbrake is not working, is it safe to fully depend on putting car into park instead?

I have an old Toyota in which the handbrake wire is broken. I have been using the car for few months now and I don't really want to spend more money on it. I now put the car in park and that is it and ...
20
votes
2answers
27k views

What is the small metal square attached to the wheel or tire?

I found that this small metal square labelled "1/4 FE" had come off my car's wheel yesterday. I am wondering what it could be, and whether it's important to put it back on.
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
3answers
6k views

Should I replace fuses as a part of regular maintenance?

I've been having a few problems that might be electrical in my car. Seeing as mechanics always want to replace parts first, I'm having to diagnose this problem myself. It seems like replacing all ...
20
votes
4answers
53k views

Can a weak battery destroy an alternator?

I've heard a story that a weak vehicle battery can destroy an alternator or cause an alternator to fail early. Is this true, or is it largely fiction?
20
votes
6answers
6k views

What is regenerative braking and why don't we use it?

I know that many electric cars use regenerative braking to enable the car to become more efficient by converting what would otherwise be lost heat energy in to a more useful, reusable form of energy. ...
20
votes
12answers
66k views

What is the purpose of plastic engine covers?

I have a 2010 Toyota Corolla. What is the purpose of the large plastic cover that stretches over my valve cover? Does it have a particular function? Are they just for looks? Or are they designed by ...
20
votes
5answers
12k views

Should I really keep my gas tank at least half full?

I've seen a number of sources that state you should keep your car's gas tank at least half full, some of which saying it's only important in winter. Some examples: http://www.osceolagarage.com/why-...
20
votes
8answers
36k views

Will fitting a physically bigger battery reduce the working life of the alternator?

I have fitted a much larger 12v battery to a car. I modified the clamp and battery tray to make it fit securely, it's almost twice the size of the original and has a much higher CCA rating. It works ...
20
votes
6answers
212k views

I drove with my Parking Brake on for 30 mins: should I be worried?

Yesterday, I was driving my car for about 30 minutes on the highway at speeds of up to 60 mph. I felt my brakes weren't really working and looked down to notice my emergency brake had been on the ...
20
votes
5answers
22k views

Why do Harley Davidson engines suffer from such poor performance?

The modern Harley Davidson engine has very poor power output. Even when highly modified a 130HP engine can cost tens of thousands of US Dollars. Here are specs on one of the modern engines. Harley-...
20
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
90k views

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

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 valve mechanism that ...
20
votes
2answers
53k 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
4k views

Are oils from the skin a problem with turn signal bulbs?

I'm aware that headlight bulbs are very sensitive (reduced lifespan) if you touch them with bare hands during install. Does the same apply to lower wattage bulbs like turn signals (and dome lights)? ...
20
votes
3answers
12k 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?
20
votes
3answers
12k views

Is it worth switching to full synthetic or blend oil in my older car/truck?

I have an older (enter vehicle here) that has 100k miles on it. Would I see any benefit switching to full synthetic or synthetic blend oil? Is it worth the extra cost in an older vehicle? For ...
20
votes
2answers
352 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 clarify,...
19
votes
6answers
122k views

Is it Safe to Drive With Low Engine Coolant?

I have a 2001 Chevy Malibu and have replaced the engine coolant in it twice in the last six months after the low coolant warning light came on, and the light has recently come on again. The climate ...
19
votes
6answers
28k views

Why do car starter motors draw so much current?

I understand that most car starter motors' power is rated between 0.5kw to 1.5kw. Doesn't that mean that they are supposed to draw 40-120 amps? (500 w / 12 volts etc.. )? Yet when they start, they ...
19
votes
6answers
12k views

Normal to leave nail in tire after a flat?

So today was that epic event of walking out into the parking lot at high noon, sun blazing, and finding out you have a completely flat tire. Skipping over the usual details about changing out a tire ...
19
votes
11answers
182k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
5k views

At what time of day/temperature should I refuel my vehicle?

I mean, should I refuel my vehicle in the morning? The reasoning is simple, in the morning the temperature is low and the density of the fuel would be higher and I get more energy per litre(or ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

Seized nut & bolt - difficult to access

Last year I added crash sliders to my aging Honda CBR 600F (1998) Recently whilst trying to remove the fairing for other work, I found the nut and bolt were "seized". Actually, by using a spanner at ...
19
votes
11answers
200k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
15k views

Can I connect wires by just twisting them together and insulating with tape?

My cousin replaced a instrument panel cluster of a car with another one that is very similar. He did it by cutting the original junction/wires block that come out of the instrument panel and attached ...
19
votes
7answers
5k views

Are manual transmission cars disappearing? [closed]

You don't have to be an expert to notice that over time, the percentage of manual transmission cars has lowered. Automatic cars are not only more popular, but more comfortable, easier to use and ...
19
votes
9answers
72k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Should interior panels be held together with cable ties?

I think I know the answer to my question, but I just wanted to be 100% sure. I recently left my car in to a well known, certified Vauxhall servicing and repairs garage to get a new pedal box. I'll ...
19
votes
4answers
182k 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
6answers
25k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
148k views

When is an engine flush a good idea?

I have heard really mixed opinions about the necessity of engine flushes. My quick research suggested that manufactures do not recommend doing them. In addition, I have heard of extreme cases of blown ...
19
votes
3answers
14k views

What does under-square and over-square mean?

When building an engine, the terms over-square and under-square come up. What do these terms mean? How do they apply to engine building? Which is better for what purpose? Can you give examples ...
19
votes
4answers
92k views

How to dispose of engine coolant?

This question is pretty straight forward... How to properly dispose of engine coolant? Should it be taken to a treatment facility like used engine oil or is it safe to pour down the drain?
19
votes
3answers
49k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
86k views

What does a flywheel do and what is it connected to?

I understand roughly how an engine works and that there is a crankshaft which is able to turn the flywheel using internal combustion. I have just realised that I have got absolutely no idea how the ...
19
votes
8answers
440k views

Steering wheel shakes at high speeds

the steering wheel sometimes shakes at high speeds around 70 miles per hour. It does not always happen. Some day when I am driving at 70, I feel no shakes. some day it shakes badly at the same speed. ...
19
votes
1answer
7k views

What is happening when a two-stroke engine is said to be “four-stroking”?

Many years ago, I was involved in a hobby of building and flying model aircraft. The aircraft used alcohol-fueled 2-stroke engines with glow plug ignitions. When these engines ran rich (and always at ...
19
votes
2answers
10k views

Why did Ducati decide to use the desmodromic valve train rather than a more tradition valve train?

Ducati's use a unique method to open and close their valves. It's called the desmodromic valve train. The desmodromic valve system does not use springs to close the valve, it uses the cam and has a ...
19
votes
4answers
683k views

Will Putting An Extra Quart of Oil In My Car Ruin It?

I put too much motor oil in my car's motor. About a quart - have I ruined my car? I've been driving it. I know I need to get the oil drained. But I'm worried that I've ruined my car which has been ...
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 ...
19
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
256 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
41k 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. ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Vibration at idle, much worse after warm

My car is a 2001 Pontiac Firebird with a V6 (3800 Series II (L36)) and a manual transmission. These are all at a stop: When the car is cold, I don't feel too much vibration when sitting in it. (I ...

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