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The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread

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1997 acura CL

sometimes my brake lights work some times it doesnt. Is it the fuse or electric?

Neither. As already mentioned, it's more than likely the switch near the brake pedal, which would make it a mechanical fault. Hit the plunger with a shot of WD40, or the like, and see if that frees it up.

If not, see if there is any sort of adjustment - elongated holes in the mounting bracket, maybe? - that will move the switch closer (or further away, depending on how it's mounted) to the pedal arm.

Edited by SkinnedAussie

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Question for a friend of mine:

He's looking at a 04 Accord coupe 4 cylinder with a manual transmission and 80k miles. Test drove it today and he says he likes it but the clutch feels really light. Is this just the feel of the clutch in that particular car (he's used to a manual Solara- can't remember the year), or could it indicate a possible problem?

It's probably just the way the clutch feels for that car. If there is any problem with engagement that would be a different story. If the clutch engages high up (almost fully released pedal) then it's a problem with the clutch most likely. If it engages normally (almost fully depressed) then the clutch is fine.

Can anyone recommend a cordless power drill that's powerful enough to be used as a ratchet on cars?

I'm pretty sure there are actual cordless ratchets. You have to break the nut free and then the ratchet does the rest.

If you want something more powerful, there are cordless power impact guns.

What's the difference in the way a car acts, between a starter going bad, and a battery dying ?

If it's gradually becoming harder and harder, and slower and slower to start, could it be the starter, or battery, or possibly something else ?

Sounds like a battery to me. When the starter is going bad, it will not start intermittently. When the starter is going bad and it doesn't start, it will normally give a single click.

A weak battery will result in slow cranking. A weaker battery will result in a rapid clicking noise when it doesn't start. A dead battery will result in nothing when turning the key.

So, rule of thumb:

1) Rapid clicking (no start), slow cranking (does start) or no electrical power... battery.

2) Single click (no start), intermittent no start with single click... starter.

what should i do? just play around with the switch?

You'll probably have to replace it to find out for sure. They are normally pretty cheap and simple enough to replace. Usually just one or two bolts.

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With battery it will be worse before driving,and start easier after a drive,with starter it does not change much

It can be cables or alternator as well

If the battery is old,that is usually the culprit.

Sounds like a battery to me. When the starter is going bad, it will not start intermittently. When the starter is going bad and it doesn't start, it will normally give a single click.

A weak battery will result in slow cranking. A weaker battery will result in a rapid clicking noise when it doesn't start. A dead battery will result in nothing when turning the key.

So, rule of thumb:

1) Rapid clicking (no start), slow cranking (does start) or no electrical power... battery.

2) Single click (no start), intermittent no start with single click... starter.

You'll probably have to replace it to find out for sure. They are normally pretty cheap and simple enough to replace. Usually just one or two bolts.

Thanks, guys. I believe you nailed the culprit.

Edited by Mickalino

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Okay, I'm starting to get fired up. I replaced the engine in my 92 corolla and just posted about the tranny developing a whine. Well that whine was no joke this morning going to work. Car bucked for about 5 seconds on the interstate and then the whine got real loud with some grinding. Transmission is trashed now. I got one coming for $300 but I have alot of questions. The car is a 3 speed transmission and I'm thinking my mechanic and I forgot to fill up the differential fluid? Could this have been lost replacing the engine? And does this particular transmission automatically fill the differential fluid or is it separate? Bad mistake on our part. Someone let me know what we should be doing for proper maintance on this new trans. It's got 70k miles on it. I plan on getting a filter kit for it. Should I replace anything else before it goes in the car?

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On my way home from work last night, I was stopped at a redlight. All of a sudden, I noticed my car had cut off. I look at the dash and I noticed the oil light, as well as the check engine light were on. So anyway, I try and start my car. It wouldn't start. I wait a few seconds and try again. This time it starts up (hesitantly). I then proceed home, which was less than 5 minutes away. On the way home, the car seemed to drive normal. And there were no oil light or check engine lights lit up. I get home, and pull it into the garage. I checked the oil. The oil level appeared normal. Also, I had my oil changed at the dealership about a month or so ago. And I noticed that when they were putting the oil in they must have spilled some, as it was sprayed all over different parts of the engine. Not sure if that matters or not.

Does anyone have an idea of what my problem could be?

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On my way home from work last night, I was stopped at a redlight. All of a sudden, I noticed my car had cut off. I look at the dash and I noticed the oil light, as well as the check engine light were on. So anyway, I try and start my car. It wouldn't start. I wait a few seconds and try again. This time it starts up (hesitantly). I then proceed home, which was less than 5 minutes away. On the way home, the car seemed to drive normal. And there were no oil light or check engine lights lit up. I get home, and pull it into the garage. I checked the oil. The oil level appeared normal. Also, I had my oil changed at the dealership about a month or so ago. And I noticed that when they were putting the oil in they must have spilled some, as it was sprayed all over different parts of the engine. Not sure if that matters or not.

Does anyone have an idea of what my problem could be?

Just to make it easier to diagnose, please list make/model/year of your car. It could be as simple as a shorted ignition wire to a failing oil pump.

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On my way home from work last night, I was stopped at a redlight. All of a sudden, I noticed my car had cut off. I look at the dash and I noticed the oil light, as well as the check engine light were on. So anyway, I try and start my car. It wouldn't start. I wait a few seconds and try again. This time it starts up (hesitantly). I then proceed home, which was less than 5 minutes away. On the way home, the car seemed to drive normal. And there were no oil light or check engine lights lit up. I get home, and pull it into the garage. I checked the oil. The oil level appeared normal. Also, I had my oil changed at the dealership about a month or so ago. And I noticed that when they were putting the oil in they must have spilled some, as it was sprayed all over different parts of the engine. Not sure if that matters or not.

Does anyone have an idea of what my problem could be?

It's a 2002 Nissan Maxima (per PM)

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My impala did that to me one time. just cut out at a stop light and I didn't notice it till I went to pull out. Never did figure out what caused it though as I was never able to get the behavior to duplicate.

(I wondered if it had something to do with the recalled ignition wires that got replaced a few weeks thereafter)

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Spark plugs/wires would be a guess,next would be a vacuum or fuel pump issue

difficult to pin point with little to go on

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All I know is it hasn't happened since i had that part recalled the engine also runs a lot smoother and quieter too.

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Spark plugs/wires would be a guess,next would be a vacuum or fuel pump issue

difficult to pin point with little to go on

What more info do you need?

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What more info do you need?

When were the plugs last changed?..they are relatively cheap to replace

Rather hard to diagnose w/o seeing is what I meant:)

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When were the plugs last changed?..they are relatively cheap to replace

Rather hard to diagnose w/o seeing is what I meant:)

Its actually my gf's car. So im not sure when she last had them changed. But don't the Maximas around that year have those expensive ones that you don't change that often?

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It's a 2002 Nissan Maxima (per PM)

Not saying this is the issue with the car, obviously, but it's something to consider that those Nissans are known to have a few engine harness problems. One of the coolant sensors can leak through the sensor, into the connector and into the wires, corroding the harness. One of my co-workers had this happen on his early 2000s Maxima, had to replace the whole engine harness....not fun or cheap. Obviously I would start by checking the all the normal stuff, filters, plugs, plug wires, ect, just thought I'd throw that one out there.

Btw, anytime the ignition is on and the engine is not running the oil light and check engine light SHOULD be illuminated and aren't a concern. If the engine's running and they're on, that's something to look at but them coming on with the engine off/key on is just a normal check to make sure that the warning light itself is working. Check the spark plugs and (if it has plug wires rather than coil on plug, not sure with that car) spray the plug wires with some soapy water. If they're arcing, the soapy water will cause it to start stumbling and misfiring.

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Not saying this is the issue with the car, obviously, but it's something to consider that those Nissans are known to have a few engine harness problems. One of the coolant sensors can leak through the sensor, into the connector and into the wires, corroding the harness. One of my co-workers had this happen on his early 2000s Maxima, had to replace the whole engine harness....not fun or cheap. Obviously I would start by checking the all the normal stuff, filters, plugs, plug wires, ect, just thought I'd throw that one out there.

Btw, anytime the ignition is on and the engine is not running the oil light and check engine light SHOULD be illuminated and aren't a concern. If the engine's running and they're on, that's something to look at but them coming on with the engine off/key on is just a normal check to make sure that the warning light itself is working. Check the spark plugs and (if it has plug wires rather than coil on plug, not sure with that car) spray the plug wires with some soapy water. If they're arcing, the soapy water will cause it to start stumbling and misfiring.

Well supposedly the issue is the cam crank sensor. Gonna cost me a pretty penny.:doh:

Edit: They also found a leak with my radiator. Just great.

Edited by Bubble Screen

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I have a simple question.

I just removed my car battery, and it was in just tight quarters, that the only way I could remove it without taking apart half the engine compartment, was to flip it on it's side. I flipped it and stood it up, with the longest side of the battery going up and down. My question is, does it harm the battery contents to do that, since it contains liquid ?

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Another Q

when my car is stopped and running (like at a red light) every once in a while I feel a subtle lurch in the car. What's up with that?

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Quick question:

I'm about to get my 30,000 mile check up on my 2007 Mustang. Any "scams" (bs stuff I don't need to do) to look out for?

This is what I'm "supposed" to do:

30,000 Mile Service Schedule

* Inspect automatic transmission fluid level (if equipped with underhood dipstick)

* Replace fuel filter

* Replace cabin air filter

* Replace engine air filter

* Perform multi-point inspection

* Inspect and lubricate all non-sealed steering linkage,ball joints,suspension joints,half and drive-shafts and u-joints

* Inspect brake pads/shoes/rotors/drums, brake lines and hoses, and parking brake system

* Inspect complete exhaust system and heat shields

* Inspect engine cooling system and hoses

* Change engine oil and replace oil filter (Up to 5 quarts of oil. Perform at specified mileage interval or every 6 months, whichever occurs first)

* Rotate and inspect tires; check wheel end play and turning noise

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every once in a while I feel a subtle lurch in the car. What's up with that?

Pop your hood and you'll see this

lurch.jpg

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I have a simple question.

I just removed my car battery, and it was in just tight quarters, that the only way I could remove it without taking apart half the engine compartment, was to flip it on it's side. I flipped it and stood it up, with the longest side of the battery going up and down. My question is, does it harm the battery contents to do that, since it contains liquid ?

It shouldn't hurt anything Mick. Just make sure if you get any battery acid (water in the battery) on you to clean it off as soon as possible. If it get's on your clothes, it will probably eat a hole in the clothes.

Another Q

when my car is stopped and running (like at a red light) every once in a while I feel a subtle lurch in the car. What's up with that?

Most likely some sort of ignition misfire.

Does it feel like it skips a beat for a moment or does it feel like the car is lunging forward?

Also, what kind of car was it again?

Quick question:

I'm about to get my 30,000 mile check up on my 2007 Mustang. Any "scams" (bs stuff I don't need to do) to look out for?

This is what I'm "supposed" to do:

30,000 Mile Service Schedule

* Inspect automatic transmission fluid level (if equipped with underhood dipstick)

* Replace fuel filter

* Replace cabin air filter

* Replace engine air filter

* Perform multi-point inspection

* Inspect and lubricate all non-sealed steering linkage,ball joints,suspension joints,half and drive-shafts and u-joints

* Inspect brake pads/shoes/rotors/drums, brake lines and hoses, and parking brake system

* Inspect complete exhaust system and heat shields

* Inspect engine cooling system and hoses

* Change engine oil and replace oil filter (Up to 5 quarts of oil. Perform at specified mileage interval or every 6 months, whichever occurs first)

* Rotate and inspect tires; check wheel end play and turning noise

That sounds about right. I would be surprised if they come back and tell you need one or more of the fluids flushed as well. It's pretty normally for the fluids to be in poor condition at 30K.

Typically the automatic transmission fluid (if it's auto) would need to be flushed. Possibly the power steering fluid as well.

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It shouldn't hurt anything Mick. Just make sure if you get any battery acid (water in the battery) on you to clean it off as soon as possible. If it get's on your clothes, it will probably eat a hole in the clothes.

Thanks Double S.

Just dropped it off at Advance Auto Parts for an overnight charge.

I love those people - free diagnostics, free battery charges, free installations on some things.

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