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105
votes
9answers
46k views

Why is plexiglass not used for car windows?

Back in 2014 someone broke the right side window of my VW Golf. I was in a hurry and short on cash so I "temporarily" cut a 4 or 5mm thick piece of plexiglass ($8), bent it with hot air and placed it ...
97
votes
17answers
238k views

Does Downshifting (Engine Braking) Cause Extra Wear and Tear?

Does the act of downshifting to slow your vehicle down have any negative side affects? I don't downshift more than one or two gears at a time and I let out on the clutch slow enough that I don't rev ...
84
votes
11answers
92k 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 ...
84
votes
14answers
23k views

Why don't we rotate tyres but you rotate tires?

Is planning a regular rotation of new tyres over their lifespan a good or bad plan? From many posts I've seen here and elsewhere on the web, motorists in the USA seem to see rotating tires as a task ...
77
votes
10answers
43k views

What are the benefits of premium (high octane) petrol?

Here in the UK it's common for petrol (gas) stations to offer both regular and "premium" unleaded petrol. The premium stuff is (naturally) more expensive, and I've often wondered what the actual ...
75
votes
21answers
64k views

How can I keep stray cats off my car?

We have a lot of stray cats in my neighborhood and they possess an uncanny ability to know when a car has been cleaned for them to sit on and enjoy. Needless to say, the dirty, dusty paw marks they ...
72
votes
16answers
479k views

Should I resurface or replace my rotors everytime I replace brake pads?

I have heard it is proper practice to replace or resurface your brake rotors every time your do a brake pad replacement. Does this need to be done every single time or is it overkill? Maybe it is ...
68
votes
6answers
353k views

Why does my A/C blow foul smelling air when it first turns on?

Most of the time when I first turn on the A/C in our 2008 Toyota Sienna, the air that blows out has a very distinct chemical - nasty smell. After a while it seems to go away. I'm not sure if I just ...
67
votes
14answers
29k views

Are classic cars safe?

Are classic cars safe? I am interested to know the differences between modern vehicles and vehicles of old from the 1960s. In the event of an accident, how does a classic vehicle compare to a modern ...
61
votes
6answers
265k views

How long does it take for gas to go bad?

Approximately how long does it take for unleaded gasoline in the tank and fuel lines to become unusable in a car that is not being used? What causes this, and what can be done to prevent or remedy ...
60
votes
9answers
733k views

What actually happens when there is not enough oil in a car engine?

When a car is topped up with oil, it clear to most people that you are supposed to fill it to the recommended amount as specified by the manufacturer (normally on a dip stick). What exactly are all ...
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)?
57
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
52
votes
22answers
169k views

Effective way to clean inside of windshield?

The inside of my windshield has a thin layer of grime. When the light hits it a certain way, it drastically reduces my visibility. I have used glass cleaner with clean microfiber car cloths and ...
51
votes
6answers
8k views

What is the most efficient method of getting your car unstuck from snow?

If your car is stuck in snow and you don't have any chains, what can be done to get it out? This can be an unnerving problem to have and it happens pretty easily with normal driving on ice. You wind ...
50
votes
6answers
45k 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 ...
49
votes
6answers
14k views

Why don't rally cars have airbags?

Why don't rally cars have airbags? Other competition cars, including Ken Block's don't have airbags either. Is it just for weight reduction, are they redundant or is there another (major) reason?
48
votes
4answers
79k views

Reviving a vehicle that has been idle for a long time

Some related topics: How to maintain a sometimes-used vehicle? How long does it take for gas to go bad? The first related topic addresses preparing a vehicle for long-term disuse, and maintaining ...
46
votes
14answers
11k views

How do I save myself from a sinking vehicle?

Every year in Arizona there are monsoon storms and somebody inevitably get's killed in a car that is sinking in water. It appears the primary issue is getting free from the vehicle. After that, ...
42
votes
4answers
108k views

How far can I drive with 1 gallon too much oil?

I have way too much oil in my Acura TSX. Do I need to take care of it without turning it on or can I drive it to a service station? If I need to do it in place, I don't have the ramps or a pan or ...
41
votes
3answers
20k views

Jump starting a dead battery: Connect black wire to negative pole of battery or grounded metal?

Most of the advice I've seen for jump starting cars instructs to connect the black wire to a bare piece of metal on the car with the dead battery. However, I've always just hooked up both poles to the ...
40
votes
14answers
21k views

Why don't people hand pump their tires?

My bicycle tires go to 60 psi, and I can easily fill them up from nothing with less than 10 pumps. My car tires are at 32 psi, so shouldn't they be even easier? Yet I have never heard of anyone hand ...
40
votes
7answers
592k 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 ...
40
votes
3answers
78k views

Is there a way to put Prius with dead battery into neutral?

I own a 2010 Prius. It has a dead battery, front facing forward in my garage. I do not have long enough jumper cables. I’ve searched the Internet. Did Toyota really create a car that cannot be put ...
38
votes
7answers
15k views

Is tire rotation important?

I just bought new tires for my car and included was free tire rotation every 7,500 miles for the life of the tires. I have heard many things about tire rotation, including: it's a worthless practice,...
37
votes
5answers
58k views

What are the benefits of a lightweight flywheel and why aren't they lightweight already?

This previous question explains what a flywheel does and why it is needed. That explanation means that the flywheel needs a certain amount of mass to do its job. However, an "upgrade" for many cars (...
37
votes
9answers
32k views

How do I remove a destroyed lug nut?

A neighbor friend of mine offered to change my brakes on my Pontiac Torrent, well my husband had the proper tool to remove the lug nuts off my car in his truck, and the neighbor along with some other ...
37
votes
3answers
342k 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 ...
37
votes
10answers
65k views

Is it necessary to 'burn in' or 'break in' a new car?

I've just bought a new 2011 plate car. I've heard stories of people 'burning in' engines for the first few hundred or couple thousand miles using methods such as: Not driving above 50 mph. Varying ...
35
votes
11answers
11k views

What is in fossil fuels that we can't mass produce?

Since fuel is made up of different molecule chains, my question is what is the reason we cannot create the same molecule structure and be able to reproduce the same structure in a lab so we don't have ...
35
votes
3answers
8k views

Why are the blades of car radiator fans unevenly spaced?

Fans that look like this: Is it to somehow help the balance of the engine?
35
votes
3answers
7k views

Changing Firing Order in a 4 Cylinder Car

Backstory In motorcycling you can get cams that change the firing order and time from a traditional 1,3,4,2. It's was very common in American road racing in the 1990's to hear 4 Cylinder engines ...
34
votes
12answers
15k views

Does kicking a tire off your car from underneath it while it's held up by a stable jack pose safety threats?

I just had to put a doughnut on my car and I used the typical manufacturer car jack that fits into that little slot of metal near your wheel. After I got all the lug nuts out, I tried pulling the ...
34
votes
6answers
65k views

Why doesn't anyone ever repair an automatic transmission?

I am old enough to have had about four transmission failures spaced over about 40 years and at no time did any mechanic ever offer to “fix” it; the only diagnosis has been a complete rebuild. This is ...
34
votes
2answers
47k views

What's the Purpose of Park on an Automatic Transmission?

When one wants to park a manual transmission (MTX) vehicle, one puts it in neutral, and engages the emergency / parking brake. With an ATX vehicle, the practice I've learned is to put it in Park, and ...
34
votes
1answer
6k views

Why is my car equipped with a battery shutdown timer?

I currently live in Japan where I bought a 1997 Subaru Impreza WRX STi. Since I don't completely speak Japanese, I wasn't able to ask anybody correctly about one thing that the previous owner had ...
33
votes
10answers
16k views

Is it safe to use a hydraulic jack as a stand? If not, why?

"If a jack can lift a load, surely it can withstand the load for extended periods of time?!" I've come across some conflicting ideas regarding this subject: The user guide for my low-profile ...
33
votes
8answers
12k views

Why do manufacturers detune engines?

I was wondering why a manufacturer would detune an engine. An example -- there are many others -- is the Mercedes-Benz OM612 engine. Same engine, lower (peak) power output in the Sprinter than in the ...
33
votes
6answers
29k views

Could a car left sitting for 6 years ever run again?

First time posting, let me know if I'm doing everything right! We've got a '92 Volkswagon Cabriolet, with 175K+ miles on it, that's been sitting in the garage since 2010. Wheels are all flat, and I ...
33
votes
8answers
9k views

Do I really need to wash the outside of my car?

Some people say they wash the outside car every week as it makes the paint nice etc Are there any benefits of washing the outside of my car? Do I really need to wash the exterior of my car every ...
32
votes
7answers
9k views

What is the point of the exhaust?

I was thinking today, what is the actual point of an exhaust? Why can't we just have a pipe going out the front of a car instead of taking all the gases to the back of the car? I can only see ...
32
votes
8answers
12k views

Is it necessary to have the wheels of a car aligned with the body when parked, due to weight on the axle? [duplicate]

My uncle says a driver advised him that whenever the car is parked, the wheels have to be aligned with the body of the car, or else there will be un-necessary weight on (I think) the axle or wheel, ...
32
votes
6answers
26k views

Why is a motorcycle's neutral between first and second gears?

The gear pattern is selected by clicking a lever with your left foot and is typically laid out as follows: 6th gear (if applicable) 5th gear 4th gear 3rd gear 2nd gear NEUTRAL 1st gear What is ...
32
votes
9answers
482k 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 ...
31
votes
11answers
37k views

Spark plug broke off in engine - can I drive the car?

I own a 2004 Volvo XC90 T6 2.9L AWD with 6 cyl. (Twin turbo, with catalytic converter.) While changing the spark plugs, one broke-off (all the ceramic below the threads and possibly the metal finger ...
31
votes
12answers
55k 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 (...
31
votes
3answers
14k views

Difference between FWD/RWD/4WD/Part-Time 4WD/AWD?

I'm curious as to what are the particular difference between the various drive systems available in modern vehicles. FWD and RWD are pretty straightforward - Front Wheel Drive cars put the power to ...
30
votes
8answers
7k views

Why is engine displacement frequently a few CCs below an exact number?

I've noticed that engines are rarely exactly 1.5 liters or exactly 4.0 liters, and I'm okay with that. It makes sense that engines would have some arbitrarily ideal size for specific applications, so ...
30
votes
8answers
341k views

Running with straight water as coolant in the summer. Is it fine?

I grew up flushing the coolant twice yearly. In the Spring, you drain the antifreeze and fill with straight water for the summer. In the Fall, you drain the water and put in a 50/50 antifreeze/water ...
30
votes
2answers
44k 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?

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