Posts Tagged ‘engine’

13
Dec

Can I Roll Back My Odometer?

Ken,

I recently had my car towed for several hundred miles.  The odometer counted all those miles, even though there was no wear on the engine, and I was hoping to get the odometer rolled back to accurately reflect my use of the engine since I plan on selling it soon.  Is there any way to do this?

Alda V., MN

Alda,

Sorry to tell you this, but rolling back your odometer is strictly illegal.  Even attempting to do so can land you a pretty hefty fine.  Prospective buyers may not want to hear that the car needed to be towed, but you could let them know that the odometer doesn’t accurately reflect engine wear.

- Ken the Car Guy

12
Dec

Why Is My Engine Temperature Changing?

Ken,

When I watch my engine temp, it seems like it gets hot, then cools down, and fluctuates like that for a while.  Is that normal, or is there something wrong?

Ben P., IN

Ben,

When the engine temperature fluctuates like that, it could be for a couple of reasons.  It’s possible that there’s not really anything wrong and that the thermostat is simply giving a bad signal.

It’s also possible however that there’s a problem with your cooling system.  Blockages in the coolant lines could be causing this, or the thermostat could be restricting the flow of coolant when it gets a bad reading.

First step to fix this is to get the thermostat checked out.  This is a pretty simple and cheap procedure, and the replacement shouldn’t be very expensive if it’s needed.

- Ken the Car Guy

14
Oct

Is A/C Harder On My Engine?

Ken,

I’ve heard from several people that running the air conditioning is bad for the engine.  Is this true?  Why would it hurt the engine?

-Jeff D., NV

Jeff,

This bit of misinformation has been around for years.  In reality, running the A/C shouldn’t have any effect on your engine.  Your engine has to run anyway while you’re driving, it might as well use some of the power it creates to make your air conditioning work.

Cars are definitely built with A/C in mind, especially nowadays.  If cars were really damaged by running the A/C, there’d be a lot more cars in the junkyard.

- Ken the Car Guy

07
Oct

What’s The Difference Between Diesel And Gas Engines?

Ken,

Aside from using different types of fuel, what is the real difference between diesel and gas engines?

-Eric Y., WA

Eric,

The main difference between the two types of engines is the method of combustion.  Gas engines use spark plugs to ignite the precombined mixture of air and gasoline.

Diesel engines on the other hand, don’t have spark plugs at all.  Instead, they rely on compression to generate enough heat to cause combustion.  Another difference is that the fuel in diesel engines is not premixed as it is in a carburetor in gas engines.  Instead, the fuel is injected directly into the cylinders while the cylinder is under compression.  This caused the vaporized fuel to burn immediately.

- Ken the Car Guy

22
Sep

How Can I Clean My Engine?

Ken,

My engine is a wreck hygienically.  Changing oil and shredded V-belts have left gunk and oil all over the place.  How should I go about cleaning it?

-Katie D, NM

Katie,

A product which is really catching on with car owners is Simple Green.  This product is great for oil, dirt…. pretty much anything under the hood.

To top things off, Simple Green is biodegradable.  It was also used by the air force to clean aircraft, so it’s gotta be good.

Just spray it on your engine, let it sit for a few minutes, and wash it all off within a few minutes.  It’ll clear away nearly all of the gunk in your engine and should make it look like new.

- Ken the Car Guy

13
Sep

How Can I Test My Spark Plugs?

Ken,

A friend recommended I test the spark plugs on my Corolla since the engine won’t run properly.  What can I do to test them?

-Stan B., AZ

Stan,

To test your spark plugs, start by removing them from the engine and taking a look at the tip.  The gap between the body of the plug and the arm needs to be  specific distance in order for the plug to spark.

To test this gap, you’ll need to take a look in your car manual.  Look to see how big the space should be, then head to an auto store and you should be able to find a tool for measuring spark plug gaps.

If your gap is too big or too small, bend the arm until it is the correct distance, clean off the contacts with a wire brush, and your plugs should be good to go.

- Ken the Car Guy

24
Aug

Is My Engine Seized?

Ken,

My car overheated recently and now it won’t start.  A mechanic told me without even looking at it that the engine probably seized up and the car is totaled.  How can I tell if it has seized?

- Ethan S., OR

Ethan,

If the car overheated badly, it is possible that the engine is seized.  One easy way to tell is to use a socket wrench on the crankshaft and try to turn the engine over by hand.  Don’t worry if the wrench is difficult to turn at times, that’s just compression at work.  If you can’t turn the crankshaft over at all, then you probably are looking at a seized engine.

If the engine is still functional, your starter may have blown from the excessive heat, or there might be an electrical problem at work.

- Ken the Car Guy