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The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread

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Should I be worried about dropping my wife's car off at the dealer.. or having her take it down... for radiator and transmission service...

and they don't do anything? How would I know if they changed the trans fluid? (Honda you can only do 2 quarts at a time) How do I know if they've flushed/replaced coolant?

I don't think you should be worried. I don't view women any differently than I view men who come into the shop, both can be equally as ignorant when it comes to cars.

If you have suspiscion that they might be shady, or you just plain don't trust them you could try this. With the transmissin fluid, take a sample of the fluid, use something white that won't absorb the fluid (like a nice piece from the China cabnet). Get dip the stick and get a few dabs of ATF on the dish, enough to clearly make out the color. Take a picture, make sure it's nice an bright so you can make out the color in the picture. When they are done, repeat this process and see what color difference there is. In the end it should be nice and pink. If it's pink before, it doesn't really need to be flushed in the first place. As far as the coolant, you don't really have much to go on as far as sampling like that, unless the coolant is really nasty.

Some Hondas don't have transmission cooler lines, which are used to peform the flush. They do have to drain and refill the transmission because there is no other way to do it. If you Honda has cooler lines, it should be flushable. If they can't flush it, it may not look "perfect" afterwords, but it should be noticably better.

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That is what I wanted to hear. Good idea for the thread and thanks for the info.

So you are an advocate for the full transmission flush and not just a drain and add?(I know you can't get it all out, but I think most of it)

I much perfer a flush over a drain and fill. Reason being, the flush gets 100% of the fluid out, and with a great cleaner pre-flush much of the dirt as well. My main issue with a drain and fill is that it doesn't remove all of the transmission fluid.

Transmission fluid is a detergent, meaning one of it's purposes is to clean. Anyone remember the old "fix" of adding a drop of ATF into the combustion chamber when changing spark plugs to clean the combustion chamber and help seal the piston rings? ATF being a detergent is the reason that one worked.

When you don't replace 100% of the ATF, you have a couple of quarts of old fluid beaing cleaned with the new fluid. If that fluid was pretty dark to begin with, the fluid will be back to the same within several thousand miles.

The only case I would even think of recommending a drain and fill over a flush would be if a vehicle had transmission problems and the fluid was black. Likely that car will need a transmission anyhow, but that would be the least entrusive route to take given the circumstances.

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2 questions... is the fuel injector service bs? especially if you've been using Techron every 5k or so?

Also, talk to me about changing coolant. Honda manual says 100k... Honda dealer told me 50k. Dealer claims manual is BS, written to satisfy the EPA. WTF. (they also said the same about transmission fluid intervals, etc.)

also, tell me about radiator flushes

The fuel injection service is not bs but it is oversold. It's good to do once in awhile, though, as it does do a pretty good job busting up all that carbon that builds up over time. I would say, though, that the need for it is going to be heavily based on driving conditions. If you do a lot of stop and go, yeah it's going to be helpful to do that every, say, 30k miles. If, however, you are frequently running the engine at full operating temperatures for extended periods of time and letting it stretch its legs a little bit, you probably don't need it.

As far as coolant, I don't go by mileage, I go based on the condition of the coolant and how dirty the coolant/cooling system is. In general, radiator flushes done with the stupid machine are pretty worthless. Personally, I don't bother selling them or the stupid power steering flush because I think they're just ways to get money out of your pocket into mine. That doesn't fly with me. If I'm working on a car and I think it's time the coolant's going to be changed, I'm going to do a full on flush of the whole system, not just change a quarter or a third of it with the machine for a quick buck. I like to run the car, with the return line disconnected and a hose in the coolant bottle, for a good half hour. That really gets all that crap out of there.

Also, just as a note, be very careful about mixing coolants. I've seen engines nearly ruined because people mixed coolant types. When you do that, the newer style long life coolants break down into a brown sludge that just clogs up EVERYTHING. Many times you will never get it all out of the cooling system.

Why do you try to sell extra services? ;)

He's right, to make more money. Personally, I probably cost myself just a little bit by avoiding the services I feel unnecessary even though they're technically "recommended" (by the company selling the product to us, anyways). I'm a HUGE stickler for not trying to sell anything to a customer that the car doesn't actually need or isn't truly preventative maintenance. I stay away from all those BG and MOC flushes and crap. About the only flush I routinely sell is a brake fluid flush because brake fluid absolutely should be changed every two years regardless of mileage.

At the same time, though, it's not like if I'm doing an oil change on a car and I notice things wrong with it that I'm not going to try and sell that work. It varies greatly from shop to shop and tech to tech on what their standards are.

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I have recently been putting fully syntheic oil for my oil changes. Is it really worth it putting that over regular oil

This really a loaded question, so I'll try and explain.

First of all, I'll let everyone know, I just bought a new car. I plan on changing the oil at approx. 1,000-2,000 miles to Mobil 1. I plan on continuing my use of Mobil 1 for the life of the vehicle. To me it's worth it.

Now, I'll try and explain oil.

Oil, as we all know, is a petrolium product. All petrolium products contain sulfur among many other things. All oils contain additive packages such as friction modifiers to help prevent the oil from breaking down and causing a loss of viscosity or lubrication. Conventional oil (non-synthetic and non-semi-synthetic) contains sulfur which, when combined with heat and moisture will create sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid eats through the additive packages, breaks down the oil and causes engine damage eventually. Synthetic oil (Mobil 1 among others) is not something that is synthesized in a lab, contrairy to popular belief. Synthetic oil is petrolium, just like the rest, but has all of the sulfur synthesized out of it. Without the sulfur in the oil, sulfuric acid will not build up as quick (read further) and will last a lot longer without breaking down. I say will not build up "as quick" because sulfur is still introduced into the oiling system from combustion.

All of this means, your engine will be better protected for a longer period of time with a full synthetic oil. Conventional oil still protects, but breaks down much sooner than a synthetic.

My opinion: If your car is new, or fairly new, it would be worthwile to use a synthetic oil. If you have the money, why not afford the extra protection for the most important piece of the vehicle. Not saying, don't use conventional oil, just make sure you don't go 10K miles on conventional oil and expect everything to turn out rosy.

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When you do that, the newer style long life coolants break down into a brown sludge that just clogs up EVERYTHING. Many times you will never get it all out of the cooling system.

You mean they don't make brown coolant?:laugh:

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this is a great thread imo. Hopefully ss will be around for a while so we can randomly bump this when we have questions.

Honestly, I've been thinking of making a thread like this for a couple of days now. The couple of threads I came across asking for mechanical help got me thinking. I don't plan on going anywhere, although I don't normally get on here untill after 8 or so. Gotta work during the days ya konw, upselling all of those oil changes.:silly:

I asked my girl what she thought about this thread before I started it. She thought it was self indulgent. Oh well. My clothes better be clean in the morning is all I'm saying.:laugh:

uh oh, looks like the "ask a ____" threads are making a come back :paranoid:

Would you rather have religious and gay threads all day long? Change of pace my friend. How about "Ask a Poker Player" thread?

Ooh, maybe I should've added "The Official:" in front of my thread title.:silly:

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Now, I'll try and explain oil.

Oil, as we all know, is a petrolium product. All petrolium products contain sulfur among many other things. All oils contain additive packages such as friction modifiers to help prevent the oil from breaking down and causing a loss of viscosity or lubrication. Conventional oil (non-synthetic and non-semi-synthetic) contains sulfur which, when combined with heat and moisture will create sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid eats through the additive packages, breaks down the oil and causes engine damage eventually. Synthetic oil (Mobil 1 among others) is not something that is synthesized in a lab, contrairy to popular belief. Synthetic oil is petrolium, just like the rest, but has all of the sulfur synthesized out of it. Without the sulfur in the oil, sulfuric acid will not build up as quick (read further) and will last a lot longer without breaking down. I say will not build up "as quick" because sulfur is still introduced into the oiling system from combustion.

I've learned a lot already. Are you sure you aren't one of the Car Guys from CarTalk on NPR? :silly:

CarTalk-guys.jpg

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I've learned a lot already. Are you sure you aren't one of the Car Guys from CarTalk on NPR? :silly:

CarTalk-guys.jpg

Yeah, that's me on the right... Don't you love the cool jean jacket?

Anyhow, I'm glad I could help. That's what I wanted when I started this thread. I think generally, people want to know, it's just there is so much information out there. A lot of that information is incorrect and it's hard to get a straight answer out of anyone because of that. It's hard to get on the internet and find out exactly what you want to know about your car.

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The cable spring broke to open my hood in my Jeep and I'm wondering how much it would cost to fix it. The mechanic at the local shop told me it could be up to 200 bucks?? Are you kidding me? Is this true? Would it be cheaper just taking it to the dealership since I wouldn't have to worry about the mechanic at the local shop trying to find the part?

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I skipped my cars 60,000 mile scheduled service. Im now pushing 75,000. Do i need to eventually get it done?

Not at all. You will just burn more fuel and eventually the car will let you know it's had enough and quit. You can get everything done then.

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Not at all. You will just burn more fuel and eventually the car will let you know it's had enough and quit. You can get everything done then.

Are you a mechanic?

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I have a question. I have a 01' F-150. 4.6L SOHC, Automatic, 4x4. It has 85k on it.

I know Ford makes a junk trans for all of their cars. I have talked to people who have only had problems after their flush, so should I ignore it and just drive it until I have a problem, like I am certain I will eventually.

Also, I will usually change my timing chain and redo to heads at 100k, but seeing as I have no faith in my motor, should I ignore that until I have problems as well?

I slipped the chain towing my derby car to the bone yard once, but after putting the correct, thin as piss oil in it, it was fine. I know the new Ford motors have a pin hole to oil the chain and I having always driven older iron, had 10-40 in it. I'm on 5-20 now and haven't had a problem again. That was 20 k ago.

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Are you a mechanic?

I was. I had a garage building hot rods. Used to race trucks and worked in a junkyard for years.

I still have a good customer base whos cars I do all the work on.

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While idleing my car starts make a screaching sound that gets louder and then stops.

Kids think the car is going to explode.

Never happens when moving. Someone said belt:

94 volvo 740

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I was. I had a garage building hot rods. Used to race trucks and worked in a junkyard for years.

I still have a good customer base whos cars I do all the work on.

Well, i dont own a hot rod, truck, or piece of junk. Maybe just let the OP handle the questions. :)

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Well, i dont own a hot rod, truck, or piece of junk. Maybe just let the OP handle the questions. :)

and what next, should I then leave all the religious conversations to Zguy and techboy? Or the political conversations to Chommie and Sarge? No way.

Don't get your car serviced and prove me wrong.

It would also help saying what kind of car you have rookie.

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and what next, should I then leave all the religious conversations to Zguy and techboy? Or the political conversations to Chommie and Sarge? No way.

Don't get your car serviced and prove me wrong.

It would also help saying what kind of car you have rookie.

Goddamn, take it personally. :laugh:

How about this: I think you are kind of a nut, so im not going to take anything you say seriously anyways, and i dont want the OP to see that someone gave an answer to my question (even a very simplistic one) and think that its already been answered. Hows that?

And if you need to know what kind of car i have, why didnt you ask that before you answered? Rookie. :thumbsup:

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Goddamn, take it personally. :laugh:

How about this: I think you are kind of a nut, so im not going to take anything you say seriously anyways, and i dont want the OP to see that someone gave an answer to my question (even a very simplistic one) and think that its already been answered. Hows that?

And if you need to know what kind of car i have, why didnt you ask that before you answered? Rookie. :thumbsup:

Fair enough. But I would think anything about a car would depend on the car, basic info, basic stuff.

So the guy who thinks we should do away with cash thinks I'm kind of a nut, interesting.

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QUESTION:

I have a 2007 Subaru Forrester XT Sport. It has a turbocharger and "requires" premium gas (93). What would happen if i put regular in (87)? My manual says very bad things. However, i read online in a forum that since the late 1980s, there has been a law requiring automakers to make all their cars run on regular gas. Allegedly, if i put 87 in, not only will i be saving money on gas, but i will get better gas mileage due to the turbocharger being shut off (when the sensors detect 87 instead of 93). is this claim true or bogus. it would be GREAT to save some money on gas, even if it comes at the expense of performance.

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And if you need to know what kind of car i have, why didnt you ask that before you answered? Rookie. :thumbsup:

I'm sorry, but as stricly an observer of this thread ( I dont have a car), that was an awesome come back. I'm not choosing sides or anything, but that remark gave me a solid laugh. hilarious!

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I skipped my cars 60,000 mile scheduled service. Im now pushing 75,000. Do i need to eventually get it done?

What all is involved in a 60k service for your vehicle? I'm guessing it's something like air filter, fuel filter and spark plugs. If so, I would get it done. Clogged air filters and old, worn spark plugs can contribute to carbon buildup in the engine and lead to misfires. Also, these are easy things to do. I'm betting you could do them yourself.

QUESTION:

I have a 2007 Subaru Forrester XT Sport. It has a turbocharger and "requires" premium gas (93). What would happen if i put regular in (87)? My manual says very bad things. However, i read online in a forum that since the late 1980s, there has been a law requiring automakers to make all their cars run on regular gas. Allegedly, if i put 87 in, not only will i be saving money on gas, but i will get better gas mileage due to the turbocharger being shut off (when the sensors detect 87 instead of 93). is this claim true or bogus. it would be GREAT to save some money on gas, even if it comes at the expense of performance.

Bad idea on a turbocharged engine. The extra pressure on the engine created by the turbocharger creates the need for the higher octane gas. Not using the proper fuel could cause detonation and misfires which could lead to engine failure in the right conditions. I would definitely stick with 93 if I was you.

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Bad idea on a turbocharged engine. The extra pressure on the engine created by the turbocharger creates the need for the higher octane gas. Not using the proper fuel could cause detonation and misfires which could lead to engine failure in the right conditions. I would definitely stick with 93 if I was you.

my take on these issues is strictly financial... 93 is about 30 cents more expensive than 87. in a 20 gallon tank, that's an extra $6 for the high octane. if you run through 2 tanks per week (a lot in my world... i only fill up twice a month), it's only an extra $625 for that gas. a lot of money, but not that much compared to just about any mech work done on your engine.

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I just paid 650.00 to have a new alternator and battery installed. How big of a sucker am I?

98 ford exploder..

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