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The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread

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I have a question. I took my car to a quicky lube the other day and now my check engine light is on. WTH?
Did they put any oil back in it?:silly: (inside joke)

I see a real mechanic in your future,but ya might try taking it back first.

Have you filled up gas since then?...make sure the gas cap is tight.

That's exactly what I'd do. Some places will add fuel injector cleaner to your gas tank after an oil change, but if the gas cap isn't securely on a sensor could detect it and manifest with a check engine light. Its happened to me a few times.

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I have a question. I took my car to a quicky lube the other day and now my check engine light is on. WTH?

What kind of car do you have?

It's probably not related, but it would be helpful. Year, make, model?

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my 2001 300M is taking on water when it rains. I took it to the dealer and they suggested a new drivers side door gasket. Well, 6 months later, when it starts raining (california) I have about a good 1/4 inch puddle of water on the floorboards.

The odd thing is, it's only wet in the middle and not on the sides where it might come from the doorjam. I thought that maybe there is a defect underneath the car which is allowing water to get in when it's driven, but, I get water appearing on the floorboard, when the car is stationary too, so I am baffled.

So far it's only happening on the drivers side, no where else. any suggestions?

My first thought is that the windshield is leaking. Get a water hose and spray down the windshield at specific points. Wait a few minutes to see if the carpet starts to get wet. If not, move to another location. If not, another location... etc.

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I own a 2004 KIA Optima, and was wondering if I should change the transmission fluid or not. I bought the car used at 44000 miles and it currently has about 83k miles. I'm not sure if the fluid was ever changed before I bought the car.

My transmission slightly slips at times, even more so when it's cold outside. I am asking this because I heard changing the transmission fluid and filter can be risky. Any insights are greatly appreciated.

The transmission fluid should be flushed. It sounds like you could have early warning signs of transmission failure... that or the fluid could be a bit low.

Transmission fluid should be replaced on every car when it is poor enough condition to do so. Since you are already having problems with the shifting of the transmission, it could certainly lead to failure (flushing it)... it could also help things. You won't know until after the flush is done whether it will help, hurt or make no difference.

Not flushing it will most certainly lead to transmission failure, so if the flush worsens things, it would only be accelerating the inevitable.

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SS,

Drove through a lake yesterday by mistake (looked like a shallow puddle) and took some water into my engine through the Intake in my wheelwell.

Car does crank, but billows of white smoke and then it stutters and stalls out.

Am I cooked or what?

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SS,

Drove through a lake yesterday by mistake (looked like a shallow puddle) and took some water into my engine through the Intake in my wheelwell.

Car does crank, but billows of white smoke and then it stutters and stalls out.

Am I cooked or what?

Mmm... could be trouble.

I'd pull the spark plugs and take a look at them. If they look bad (deposits, white, black, whatever), replace them. Hell, I'd probably replace them just to be on the safe side.

With the spark plugs removed, crank the car for several revolutions. Hopefully, this should push any moisture out of the engine.

With the new spark plugs in, try starting it up. If it doesn't start, you're going to need to take it into the shop. I'd be prepared for expensive news about the state of your car.

Ingesting water into the intake will cause hydrolock. This is basically where the combustion chamber becomes filled with water and the compression stroke can't occur... because water isn't compressible. There are four strokes to any auto engine. Stroke #1, intake... the piston moves down and draws in the air/fuel mixture. Stroke #2, compression... the piston moves back up and the air/fuel mixture is compressed into a small space. Stroke #3, power... the spark plug fires, causing combustion of the air/fuel mixture, forcing the piston back down. Stroke #4, exhaust... the piston moves back up and forces the burnt air/fuel mixture out of the engine.

It's the compression stroke that you are worried about. That's when all the damage happens. Could be the head gasket got blown out by water, could be that the piston broke because it couldn't compress, lots of possibilities.

I'd start with the easiest thing. Pull the spark plugs, clear it out by cranking it. Put new plugs in and try to start it.

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The transmission fluid should be flushed. It sounds like you could have early warning signs of transmission failure... that or the fluid could be a bit low.

Transmission fluid should be replaced on every car when it is poor enough condition to do so. Since you are already having problems with the shifting of the transmission, it could certainly lead to failure (flushing it)... it could also help things. You won't know until after the flush is done whether it will help, hurt or make no difference.

Not flushing it will most certainly lead to transmission failure, so if the flush worsens things, it would only be accelerating the inevitable.

You obviously know quite a bit about servicing vehicles so I don't want to step on your toes too much SS.

I'm not a big fan of flushing transmissions, especially on older vehicles unless the owner is prepared to replace all the seals. Drain, check fluid color and inspect the magnets in the pan will give you a good idea of what is going on.

You can always do a poor mans flush, which will be cheaper although more work for you. You're paying for 2x the volume of your tranny in fluid plus labor. Drain and refill, drive for 500 miles, and drain and refill again. The most important thing is knowing the exact type of tranny fluid your car requires. Friction modifiers vary between brands and manufacturers.

My only recommendation would be to get a couple of mason jars and fill the first jar with drain #1 and the second with drain #2. Compare them after the second has settled overnight on the workbench and look for sediment in the bottom of the jars. It's probably overkill, but it helps you understand the vehicle.

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I've got a 92 Oldsmobile Silhouette Minivan.

And it has a slow, but steady leak in the Power Steering Fluid.

I'm trying some Power Steering Stop Leak.

If that doesn't work, what's the worst case scenario I could be looking at repair-wise, dollar-wise, depending on where the leak is coming from ?

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If that doesn't work, what's the worst case scenario I could be looking at repair-wise, dollar-wise, depending on where the leak is coming from ?

$10,000 :silly:

Depends on whats leaking,usually the pressure hose which a guess would be 300 or so at a dealership installed.

normal garage or DIY much less.Though I just bought one on a Hyundai @$250 just for the part.

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$10,000 :silly:

Depends on whats leaking,usually the pressure hose which a guess would be 300 or so at a dealership installed.

normal garage or DIY much less.Though I just bought one on a Hyundai @$250 just for the part.

Note to self - don't take it to a dealer :)

would a DIY be easy for a novice ?

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Note to self - don't take it to a dealer :)

would a DIY be easy for a novice ?

Messy but not too difficult providing you can reach the connections

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Hey twa, it appears that the Stop Leaked actually worked.

Now I have a new problem - I overfilled the PS resorvoir.

I was a little excessive because I didn't expect the Stop Leak to work too well, so I loaded it up. Now it's way above the maximum.

How can I remove the excess PS fluid ?

I'm afraid if I try to drive it like it is, when it heats up, the pressure might cause another leak. But I don't know of a drainage opening anywhere. I'm afraid if I just try to scoop it out with an object, it might contaminate the fluid from any elements on the scoop.

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vacuum bulb or simply insert a piece of hose then cover the open end with your finger and withdraw.

Or you can siphon it with your mouth if ya are adventurous

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My first thought is that the windshield is leaking. Get a water hose and spray down the windshield at specific points. Wait a few minutes to see if the carpet starts to get wet. If not, move to another location. If not, another location... etc.

Done that. At the time it appeared to be coming in very slowly from the door gasket. So I took it in to the dealer and they replaced the gasket for around 200.

However, this rainy season(6-8 months removed from the repair) it is still leaking, this time I don't know where it's coming from. I haven't gone through the hasssle of tearing the carpet back again to see if it's still coming in the same place.

I would doubt it, since the rear driverside carpet is wet as well as the front.

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Mmm... could be trouble.

I dodged a huge bullet.

Big aftermarket intercooler saved the engine. We drained about a 1/3 gallon from the intake manifold, and over 1 gallon from the intercooler. Took everything apart and let it dry of thoroughly, new plugs and four oil changes later, she is running!

I'm still worried there may be some water left in the engine but a little moisture will work it's way out of there soon I think.

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I would doubt it, since the rear driverside carpet is wet as well as the front.

It migrates to the rear as it is generally lower,likely in the front still.

No easy solution,hose and backtrack it

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Does the Lemon Law apply to a car that you buy from a private owner ?

Lemon Laws are for new vehicles.

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No ,not if it is sold as is

Otherwise it depends on the contract

You could of course sue if they knowingly committed fraud,but that's a tough road.

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I've got a 92 Oldsmobile Silhouette

And it has a slow, but steady leak in the Power Steering Fluid.

what's the worst case scenario I could be looking at repair-wise, dollar-wise, depending on where the leak is coming from ?

$10,000 :silly:

Depends on whats leaking,usually the pressure hose which a guess would be 300 or so at a dealership installed.

normal garage or DIY much less.Though I just bought one on a Hyundai @$250 just for the part.

This is basically just a rubber hose, right ?

A couple hundred just for a hose ?

TWA, check out this link - according to this, I can get it online for as little as $9

http://www.partstrain.com/store/?PN=4294942591&N=0&VN=+4294966242+4294965871+4294967234&Nr=AND%28year:1992,make:Oldsmobile,model:Silhouette,universal:0%29

(eventually the Stop Leak gave out, and I located the leaking hose)

Edited by Mickalino

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This is basically just a rubber hose, right ?

A couple hundred just for a hose ?

Korean's gotta eat too;)

Glad to hear ya got it handled

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question about my gf's 91 Ford Explorer (yes amazing this piece of **** still runs)..

not sure if its radiator issue or transmission. Been running decent considering the age and mileage- I drove it about 45 miles today and as soon as I pulled back into the driveway, the check engine light comes on, smoke starts coming out from the hood. Green fluid leaking all out the bottom- So is that just anti freeze and I have a radiator leak or is that the transmission (which I can't believe hasn't gone out by now).

also, best thing to soak up the fluid so I don't kill the neighborhood animals?:evilg:

Edit: adding that during further inspection, I can't see that anything leaked from the radiator, although the entire coolant box is empty. There also appears to be the greenish liquid near the top of the engine, not far from where you would add the oil. I wonder if there is a hose that broke...possible?

Edit #2-just remembered, that about 25 miles before I got home, at an idle I could hear a whining noise- not sure if that is related. Could this be the water pump that went out?

Edited by ljs

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Kitty litter or ya can buy a absorbent at a parts store which is about the same thing

The whine is likely a split in a hose since ya have coolant up top

If you are planning DIY fill it up with water(after it cools) and let it run awhile(till reaches operating temp) then shut it off,shouldn't be hard to find what with it spraying hot water and steam;)

The heater hoses(smaller hoses) are notorious for going bad.

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I agree with twa.

Kitty litter works well. Probably a hose leaking, likely a smaller heater hose. Shouldn't be too hard to find after looking around really well.

Most hoses aren't too difficult to replace.

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