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.
Having problems with your car’s headlights? Millions of car owners around the world are right there with you, shoddy headlamps and all. But if you’ve got questions related to your vehicle headlights, I’ve got answers—and solutions—that should put those problems in your rearview.
Why are my headlights so dim?
You’re in some automotive Twilight Zone episode, sitting between “headlights quit working” and “headlights are too bright” dimensions. Fortunately, getting out of this paranormal predicament is fairly simple. Although bad headlight switches and alternators can cause issues with hazy headlamps, dim headlights are usually caused by either old-bulb filaments or corroded ground wires.
To diagnose your headlight ailment, open your headlamp assembly and inspect the bulb. Notice any gray, brown, or black residue inside? If so, purchase new lights from your dealer or at a headlight store, and replace those suckers.
If your headlight bulbs look clear, check under the hood. Follow your headlight’s wires back to where they connect to the vehicle. With a wrench, unscrew the ground cable from its point of connection. Use a wire brush to scrub away any corrosion or dirt. Reconnect the cables and inspect your light’s brightness.
If neither solution solves your problem, consider taking a trip to your auto service center. They’ll help.
Why are headlights so bright?
If you feel like car headlights are getting brighter each year, you’re not crazy. With LED, halogen, HID, and xenon technology becoming a new norm, high-intensity headlights on the road today can cause temporary blindness, or “road dazzle,” putting other drivers at risk. Continue Reading…
Auto shows rev every car lover’s internal engine, scratching that itch for all things automotive. Luckily, Kansas City car aficionados are in for a treat this year, as there are a number of excellent car shows on tap. Here are a few of my favorites.
Tinkering with the car is a favorite pastime for some individuals. But most of us just want the car to start when we turn on the engine, stop when we hit the brakes, and get us to where we are going with no hassle. Owning a car requires a little more from us if we want to avoid frustrating delays, total dependence on road service, and being stuck in sticky situations. Here are the most important car maintenance skills anyone can and should learn.
Check Tire Pressure
Checking your tire pressure is a critical skill to have. Regular pressure checks are the best way to ensure your tires are running at the optimal PSI and are not leaking air, which would obviously mean a flat tire is in your future. Continue Reading…
Potholes cause approximately $3 billion in vehicle damage per year, but let’s not forget about what curbs can do to tires, rims, and suspensions. One round with a busted curb has the potential to cause some serious damage to your vehicle. We’re talking about misaligned wheels, perforated mufflers, broken tie rods, pierced transmission cases, punctured tires. Do you really want to deal with those problems? I think not!
If you’re concerned about a specific pesky curb damaging your car in Kansas City or a neighboring city, it’s in your best interest to report it pronto. Here’s a HUGE list of official contacts and websites to submit street repair requests in Blue Springs, Sugar Creek, and everywhere in between. Continue Reading…
I heard through the grapevine that you’re considering selling your car to a dealership or private buyer. Congratulations! But although you may be ready to grab a new set of car keys, the real question remains: is your vehicle ready to be sold? To get the most money out of your car, it’s important to understand the factors that go into determining its resale value.
Brand reliability and dependability plays an important role in deciding vehicle resale values. Most people who are looking for a used car opt for brands with great reputations, such as GM, Toyota, and Hyundai. These automakers typically design models that have few technology defects, require little maintenance, and are rarely recalled (see “Recall Rates” section below).
Earlier this month, the White House announced their intention to eliminate electric vehicle incentives and rebates. If you’d planned on buying a new EV soon-ish, this move would all but take $7,500 out of your pocket! Even if the tax credits aren’t immediately shuttered by the government, the phase-out period for tax credits for most EVs – including GM models like the Chevy Bolt and Volt – is looming, which would also prevent you from cashing in on the full, sweet federal EV tax credit.
To put it simply: Now’s the time to buy your electric car. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Today!Continue Reading…
Should you buy a new car? Second only to a home mortgage, a new car is perhaps the biggest purchase you’ll make. But is it worth it when there are millions of quality used cars for sale out there? Let’s go over the benefits of buying a new car vs. a used vehicle.
1. Long Warranties
One of if not the major perks of buying a new car is its manufacturer’s warranty. The majority of new vehicles come with a comprehensive warranty that covers defects for up to 3 years or 50,000 miles. Some auto brands offer even more coverage; Hyundai, for instance, includes an incredible 5-year/60,000 mile warranty combined with a 10-year powertrain warranty. You may also be able to purchase extended warranty coverage through your car dealer.
You’ve got your phone and tunes, a travel mug full of coffee, and (probably) a spare tire in the trunk—but we’re here to talk about your roadside emergency kit. Oh, you don’t have one? Like thousands of other Americans and Kansas Citians, your lack of a car emergency or safety kit is fairly typical. Most drivers don’t even have jumper cables stored in their car, let alone a full emergency kit. You can imagine how problematic that can be, especially in the winter.
Let’s turn your unpreparedness into super-preparedness. Build your roadside kit for winter now using this checklist as a guide. (Printable PDF can be downloaded here.)
A long pair of jumper cables is essential for any emergency car kit. Try to have at least 15-feet of cable to work with—just in case.
You don’t need a fancy medic bag, but your first-aid kit should be well equipped. Include Band-Aids, antiseptic, tweezers, bandages, gauze, super glue, and aspirin. If you have severe allergies, your first-aid kit should also include epinephrine to treat allergic reactions. If you suffer from other common illnesses like diabetes, be sure you have an adequate amount of medications available.