What’s black, white, and red all over? If you said, “my driveway,” then your car may be leaking…something. But what, exactly, is that hideous pool of liquid?
Don’t go dipping your pinky in a puddle of driveway-goo. There’s an easier way to figure out what your car is leaking; unless you’re colorblind, you can probably identify car fluid drips by eye. In fact, you don’t even need a particularly well-trained eye to get to the bottom of a car leak, as there are only a handful of fluids that could be the culprit.
Dark or Black Fluid Leaks
Brown, amber, or black fluids, especially when sludgy or thick, usually indicate an engine oil leak. (The smoking gun is if soaks into the ground and stains it black.)
Cars can leak oil – this is just a fact. Typically, a little drop of engine oil is not serious enough to warrant a trip to your auto mechanic. Your car’s oil may seep out of your oil filter’s gasket or seal if it’s not fastened well enough. Apply some elbow grease and you should be good to go.
However, drips can be a sign that something is awry under your car. If your car continues to leak oil, you could have a punctured oil pan, faulty oil filter, corroded drain plug, or any number of damaged car parts. A visit to your auto service center or a local oil change shop should set you straight.
Electric cars are a rare breed within the auto world. Unlike “normal” cars, EVs don’t require regular oil changes, nor do they need new spark plugs or yearly emissions inspections. Heck, it’s unusual to even change the brakes on an EV thanks to regenerative braking technology and the electric motor’s ability to stop without any mechanically based friction. They truly are works of art that also reduce auto maintenance costs significantly.
While electric car maintenance is easier and costs less than that of gas-powered vehicles, it doesn’t mean EV owners can forego trips to their local auto service center. Electric vehicles have their own list of auto service demands – some of which are shared with conventional vehicles – and if those demands are not met, you can assume a very costly repair will be right around the corner. Here are 10 of the most vital EV maintenance tasks that should never be skipped.
It’s already plenty nerve-wracking buying a used car. You might wonder if there’s an underlying mechanical problem or worry about the after-effects of a previous accident. Now, with the recent flooding along the Missouri River, there’s one more thing to worry about: whether or not the car you’re considering has been damaged by a flood. It’s an unfortunate reality for some shoppers, as thousands of cars from all over Kansas City have been damaged by water, then cleaned up for sale. How do you spot one of these vehicles?
Signs of Flood Damage in a Used Car or Truck
A few specific signs can indicate an issue with past water damage:
- Water lines or condensation in the lights. Unless the lights were completely replaced, you may be able to detect the faint signs of water lines or condensation on the lens or reflector of the front or rear vehicle lights. These are hard to clean completely.
- Damp, musty carpets & mats (or brand-new carpeting). The carpets can give you a great clue about past water damage. If they were not removed right away and carefully dried, they’ll still smell like dirty water or mold. Check underneath the floor mats for any sign of unusual grime or mud. Obviously, if carpeting was just replaced, you might inquire as to why, as this is not normal.
Who’s down with OBD? Yeah, you know: Me!
When DIY mechanics troubleshoot a car problem, they rely on experience, their guts, and what their code scanners spit out. But what do all those OBD-II codes mean? With help from some friendly Kansas City service technicians at McCarthy, here are 7 of the most uncommon OBD2 diagnostic errors they’ve encountered, plus a list of symptoms, causes, and potential fixes for each.
When you pull into a gas station, you probably fill up with the same type of fuel each time. But have you ever wondered which type is best for your car? Have you ever wondered what those numbers meant? Have you ever wondered what the purpose of life is?
Well, a friend of mine tweeted recently, asking what the difference was between these fuel grades. So, after speaking with the friendly technicians at a friendly Kansas City auto service center, I’m ready to give you some answers to two of those three Qs (you can guess which ones). Here are some of the key differences between 87, 89, 91, and other fuel grades. Continue Reading…
A dealer friend of ours recently recounted a terrifying tale in which the protagonist failed to change his oil over the course of 8 years. We’ll spare you the gory details, but know this: the story didn’t end well for the owner of that poor car.
So, let us ask you: When’s the last time you changed your engine oil? If it was when St Louis still had a pro football team, we’re here to push you into the service center, like, yesterday. You don’t even want to know
what happens to an engine when its oil and filters aren’t changed (but we’ll tell you anyway).
When to Change Your Oil
First, you need to know when to change your oil because “never” is not an acceptable length of time.
Although the traditional rule is to change your oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months, modern vehicles are typically a bit more lenient, requiring you to get an oil change after 5,000-plus miles. While that extended maintenance time is nice, it can also cause unintended consequences—namely forgetfulness camouflaged as peace of mind, leading to a missed oil change here and a skipped oil filter replacement there.
If you’ve noticed that you aren’t getting as far on a tank as usual, there might be a few key reasons to consider. If you’re getting bad gas milage, it means your car is not running as efficiently as it could. Take a look at some of the reasons why you might be guzzling gas, and learn how to get more bang for your buck.
Highway driving. If there isn’t traffic, I find myself charging down the highway. Experts say that most cars get the best gas mileage around 40 to 60 mph. Anything more than that decreases your fuel efficiency. Slow down and keep the gas in your tank!
Idling. It’s not good for your car, and it’s not good for the environment. Whether you’re picking up your kids from school or pulling up at the ATM, turn off the engine. The A/C might be nice at the moment, but it’s killing your gas mileage.
Gasoline type. If you’re using E85 ethanol, it can seriously hurt your gas mileage. Also, if you’re pumping your expensive sports car full of regular gas when it calls for premium, you’re not going to get the fuel economy that the car is supposed to deliver.
Maintenance. A clogged air filter or a malfunctioning oxygen sensor are both killers of fuel economy. Other factors to consider are under-inflated tires and/or suspension that is out of alignment. Keep up with regular maintenance and your gas bill with thank you!