FAQs for Mobile Mechanics
Check Engine Light (CEL) or Service Engine Soon Light (SES)
This is an orange or yellow light in the dash area that is the on board computers way of talking to you, the driver and the technician. Dash lights mimic traffic lights in color. A red light means STOP RIGHT NOW! A yellow or orange light means caution, you can continue to drive, but pay attention to smells, vibrations and to your gauges.
Cooling systems, overheating, leaks & electric cooling fans.
The coolant and water mix is pumped through the engine by the water pump. The job of the liquid is to pick up the heat and carry it to the radiator so it can be dissipated. The water pump can't pump foam, so they put anti-foaming agents in the coolant. We know that every car that overheats, does so because of the lack of coolant (because of a leak) or because of a restriction of the flow (closed thermostat, plugged radiator, or a water pump that's not pumping because of a drive belt that broke or an impeller that's come loose).
When and why should I tune up my car?
Most all of the American cars since 1981 are very sophisticated. On board computers control the timing and delivery of spark and fuel depending on the conditions (uphill or downhill, cold or hot). Many '88 through '92 cars owners manuals recommend the plugs be replaced at 30,000 mile intervals. I believe sooner is better. I change the plugs in my own cars every 20,000 to 25,000 miles. Statistics show that the loss of one mile per gallon over a years period of time will equal between $80 and $150. So, again, we are back to, "you can pay me now...."
What About Engine, Transmission & Fuel Additives?
No maintenance book could be complete without some discussion on additives. The most popular question I am asked is to give my opinion on PTFE oil additives. Well, I think they stink. I think they are worthless and my view is shared by most everyone who knows anything about oil.
I can't do noises, I can't tell you how to find them. You or someone you hire, must find the noise before you can fix it. If it is an engine noise, it could be a bad lifter, a broken valve spring, a bad rocker, a loose valve guide, a bad oil pump or a bad oil pump pressure relief valve, a bad cam bearing, a bad crank or main bearing can all cause noises in the valve train. But some very unusual noises can be caused by bad harmonic balancers, broken flexplates, bad waterpumps and alternators bearings, bad fan clutches, blower motors, A/C compressors and believe it or not, paper stuck in the grill.
How will I know when I need shocks & struts?
Shocks or struts are bad for many different reasons. They are bad and need to be replaced when they are:
- Leaking oil
- There are symptoms that are directly attributable to the deterioration of the shock or strut like knocking, banging,squeaking or rattling.