Car Self-Maintenance

paninaro

Kingfisher
Had a Jiffy-Lube once tell me that my power steering fluid was OK. Which must have been in some philosophical sense, as the car did not have power steering.

I do not trust quick lube places, but even dealerships are not much better. Besides not tightening the drain plug all the way once, and not replacing the fill cap once, have also had such places not install the air filter cover properly. I do not like people messing with engine air filters as when they check them (to try to sell a new one) they are in a hurry and it is easy for them to put it back together wrong, or leave hoses disconnected.

Quick lube places lure you in with the low price of an oil change, then find all this other stuff "wrong" with your car and charge big money for that. That's how they make most of their profits. The people working there are usually poorly trained, so decent chance they will mess something up because they are incompetent.

At car dealerships, a lot of the techs get paid by the job, not by the hour, so they'll get paid $20 for an oil change and so on. While they are well-trained, that encourages them to rush through a job and on to the next one -- raising the chances for mistakes.

I've found the best option if you can't do the work yourself is to find a local mechanic who runs his own shop, who is trustworthy. He takes pride in his work and also has the skills to do it right.
 
Well, looks like the battery will be next on my list. Drove to the grocery store tonight, then put my groceries in and tried to start the car. Completely dead. I boosted it with the portable booster in my trunk, and drove for about two more minutes...until it died again. Boosted again and thankfully that got it into my driveway at home, but it was so dead that I couldn’t even use the power locks on the doors. I’ve never had a problem with the battery before and I don’t see how it could possibly be related to the other stuff I’ve been doing, unless it’s just an incredibly poorly-timed coincidence. The internet tells me the problem could be either the battery or the alternator.

I said I wanted to learn car maintenance. Guess I should be careful what I wish for, but by the time this is fixed I’ll know more than I do at the moment.
 

Kona

Crow
Gold Member
Start the Yota and let it run for a minute. Go and pull the negative battery cable off the battery. If the car dies, you sir have a bad alternator. You can also turn on the headlights and step on the gas with the car in park. . If the headlights flicker you may have a bad alternator.

A part of me thinks you didn't connect the battery cables properly, so check that too. Or somebody put a banana in your muffler. People are crazy. Take a look.

Aloha!
 
Well, looks like the battery will be next on my list. Drove to the grocery store tonight, then put my groceries in and tried to start the car. Completely dead. I boosted it with the portable booster in my trunk, and drove for about two more minutes...until it died again. Boosted again and thankfully that got it into my driveway at home, but it was so dead that I couldn’t even use the power locks on the doors. I’ve never had a problem with the battery before and I don’t see how it could possibly be related to the other stuff I’ve been doing, unless it’s just an incredibly poorly-timed coincidence. The internet tells me the problem could be either the battery or the alternator.

I said I wanted to learn car maintenance. Guess I should be careful what I wish for, but by the time this is fixed I’ll know more than I do at the moment.

Car batteries have a finite life span. 6 years, 8 years is really pushing it. Repeatedly going flat will shorten the life span more rapidly.
 
Start the Yota and let it run for a minute. Go and pull the negative battery cable off the battery. If the car dies, you sir have a bad alternator. You can also turn on the headlights and step on the gas with the car in park. . If the headlights flicker you may have a bad alternator.

A part of me thinks you didn't connect the battery cables properly, so check that too. Or somebody put a banana in your muffler. People are crazy. Take a look.

Aloha!

You were right. After my headlight operation I hand-tightened the battery connectors because I didn’t have any wrenches at the time. Just screwed them in more snugly with a wrench and it’s working fine. It’s definitely time for a new battery either way, this one may even be the original from 2007.
 
You were right. After my headlight operation I hand-tightened the battery connectors because I didn’t have any wrenches at the time. Just screwed them in more snugly with a wrench and it’s working fine. It’s definitely time for a new battery either way, this one may even be the original from 2007.

If your car took a while to figure out how to drive properly last time taking the battery out, and if you have a jump box with a 12 volt cigarette lighter outlet, you can get a device that plugs into that and then plugs into the ODBC port and keeps the module under power while the battery is changed. An example is here: https://www.tooltopia.com/Solar-SOLESA30 By the way, that seller is usually as good or better on prices than Amazon, and I have gotten free shipping from them before.

If you want to replace the battery, you can just take it to the auto store and they will do it for you. You have to return the old battery (for the core change) so easiest just to have them do it in the parking lot.
 

redbeard

Hummingbird
Moderator
I have a bit of rust on the roof of my car. Other than that, it's in fantastic condition, so I'd like to salvage it for as long as possible.

Is there anything I can do (personally) about the rust? I got a quote from a local auto shop and they said it'd be $300-$600 to repaint the roof.
 

EndlessGravity

Kingfisher
I have a bit of rust on the roof of my car. Other than that, it's in fantastic condition, so I'd like to salvage it for as long as possible.

Is there anything I can do (personally) about the rust? I got a quote from a local auto shop and they said it'd be $300-$600 to repaint the roof.

Is there any non-cosmetic reason you need to fix it?

If not, I've always let rust go. However, I've included a link below to DIY rust removal below. I can't speak to it and I'd be very skeptical of how safe or effective this stuff is (same as all those fuel cleaner, leak sealers,etc).

 

redbeard

Hummingbird
Moderator
Is there any non-cosmetic reason you need to fix it?

If not, I've always let rust go. However, I've included a link below to DIY rust removal below. I can't speak to it and I'd be very skeptical of how safe or effective this stuff is (same as all those fuel cleaner, leak sealers,etc).

Honestly I just want to make sure this car can last. I've got it paid off and it runs impeccably. I don't live in a very humid area so I doubt the rust will get worse, but I've heard it can rust through and damage the roof, which could be a big problem.
 

Thomas More

Hummingbird
Is there any non-cosmetic reason you need to fix it?

If not, I've always let rust go. However, I've included a link below to DIY rust removal below. I can't speak to it and I'd be very skeptical of how safe or effective this stuff is (same as all those fuel cleaner, leak sealers,etc).

I had some peeling clear coat to start with, then I scraped the side of my truck against a concrete barrier, so I wanted to repair the damage and get the whole thing painted.

Most body shops that specialize in collision repairs paid by insurance had very high rates, and basically told me I didn't want them. Multiple people told me to go to Maaco.

I went to the Maaco at Colfax and York in Denver. They fixed the damage and did a really nice paint job for barely a quarter of what I was hearing from the regular collision shops.
 
I have a bit of rust on the roof of my car. Other than that, it's in fantastic condition, so I'd like to salvage it for as long as possible.

Is there anything I can do (personally) about the rust? I got a quote from a local auto shop and they said it'd be $300-$600 to repaint the roof.
If you get the paint color code (usually in a sticker inside the door, where the tire pressure and other info is) and take it to a NAPA store or similar place, they will mix up a rattle-can of exact color-match paint for you.

You can take an angle-grinder with a flap wheel to take off the rust, fill and shape with body putty and use the spray can to paint over. It won't win any prizes at Barrett-Jackson but it will keep it nice enough and stop the rust from spreading. Cost about $40 and some of your time.
 

paninaro

Kingfisher
Here's another one for you auto experts - is high octane gas worth it in the long run? I've heard conflicting views.

Cars today have knock sensors to detect low quality gas and adjust the engine accordingly, but you sacrifice output and fuel economy when it does so. Inside your car's fuel filler door, it will list the minimum octane needed for the car. Usually you can stick to that and be fine. Premium cars typically list at least mid-octane there.
 

dicknixon72

Pelican
Cars today have knock sensors to detect low quality gas and adjust the engine accordingly, but you sacrifice output and fuel economy when it does so. Inside your car's fuel filler door, it will list the minimum octane needed for the car. Usually you can stick to that and be fine. Premium cars typically list at least mid-octane there.

Correct. The octane rating is a numerical measure of the fuel's resistance to predetonation (pinging and knocking) before being fully compressed in the compression stroke. All modern cars have these knock sensors to adjust timing of the engine and ignition cycle to avoid damage.

Stick to manufacturer recommendations. If a certain octane level is recommended, do not use less than that. It is simply the cost of owning a car with a high-compression engine.

If your car simply recommends 87 octane, using 'hi-test' or premium fuel is just burning money without benefit.
 
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