September 15th, 2016
Buying a used car is somewhat less of a crapshoot than it was at one time. You can get detailed information on a vehicle's history via the CARFAX report, and a technician can use onboard diagnostics to get a good picture of what's going on under the hood and what problems might be coming up.
It's always a good idea to get a mechanic to look over any prospective purchase, but there are things you can get a look at yourself before you spend the money for a professional inspection. These are things which will give you a pretty good idea of the kind of use and maintenance a vehicle has seen before you got it.
-- Put your head against a fender and sight down the side of the vehicle with one eye. Look out for ripples or ...[more]
July 14th, 2016
You go out to your car, start it up, pull out of your parking space and see a puddle of...something...where you were parked a moment ago. This is never a good feeling. What could it be?
Fortunately, some automotive fluids are dyed different colors to make this a little easier to narrow down.
Does it appear to be water? Were you recently running your A/C? Chances are that's just condensation from the A/C system, which drips out through a rubber tube and is perfectly normal. No worries there.
For years, antifreeze was dyed a bright green to make it easy to identify. Today, other antifreeze formulations can be colored pink or orange, but it's still not hard to figure out -- antifreeze has a swe ...[more]
June 30th, 2016
Believe it or not, the A/C system in your vehicle is fairly simple in principle and design. Like your refrigerator, it operates on a cycle of compression and expansion of a gas, known as refrigerant. The compressor turns the gas into a liquid, and as the gas evaporates it provides cooling. Like your refrigerator, its main components are:
- Thermostatic expansion valve
The good news is most automotive A/C systems have become very robust and reliable compared to cars from a generation ago. Most of the time, poor performance is due to low refrigerant levels due to lea ...[more]
May 26th, 2016
At one time, there were only a couple of choices for motor oil. Today, that is no longer the case, and hasn't been for quite some time. Here's a quick breakdown of what you need to consider when it's time for an oil change:
- Viscosity: Viscosity is how thick your oil is, and how it retains its pour properties at various temperatures. In this respect, synthetic oil is far superior. Conventional oils will thicken in cold weather and thin out when very hot, while the viscosity of synthetic is much more uniform. Check your owner's manual -- many newer models require a thinner, lower-viscosity oil, which also helps the engine run more efficiently. Viscosity is expressed as a numerical value -- the lower the number, the thinner the oil. Many are designed to work a ...[more]
Tags: oil change, oil changes, auto service, high mileage car, high mileage engine, preventative maintenance
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