September 15th, 2016
Buying a used car is somewhat less of a crapshoot than it was at one time. You can get detailed information on a vehicle's history via the CARFAX report, and a technician can use onboard diagnostics to get a good picture of what's going on under the hood and what problems might be coming up.
It's always a good idea to get a mechanic to look over any prospective purchase, but there are things you can get a look at yourself before you spend the money for a professional inspection. These are things which will give you a pretty good idea of the kind of use and maintenance a vehicle has seen before you got it.
-- Put your head against a fender and sight down the side of the vehicle with one eye. Look out for ripples or ...[more]
July 14th, 2016
You go out to your car, start it up, pull out of your parking space and see a puddle of...something...where you were parked a moment ago. This is never a good feeling. What could it be?
Fortunately, some automotive fluids are dyed different colors to make this a little easier to narrow down.
Does it appear to be water? Were you recently running your A/C? Chances are that's just condensation from the A/C system, which drips out through a rubber tube and is perfectly normal. No worries there.
For years, antifreeze was dyed a bright green to make it easy to identify. Today, other antifreeze formulations can be colored pink or orange, but it's still not hard to figure out -- antifreeze has a swe ...[more]
June 30th, 2016
Believe it or not, the A/C system in your vehicle is fairly simple in principle and design. Like your refrigerator, it operates on a cycle of compression and expansion of a gas, known as refrigerant. The compressor turns the gas into a liquid, and as the gas evaporates it provides cooling. Like your refrigerator, its main components are:
- Thermostatic expansion valve
The good news is most automotive A/C systems have become very robust and reliable compared to cars from a generation ago. Most of the time, poor performance is due to low refrigerant levels due to lea ...[more]
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