Ask the Mechanic

Ask the Mechanic: Discussing vehicle battery maintenance and failure

Before we talk about battery failure, let’s talk about the battery itself. Everything electrical in a vehicle is supplied by current from the battery. The battery is one of the ...

Ask the Mechanic: What benefits are there to having mud and snow tires?

Tires that are marked M & S, also known as all-season tires, provide all-weather performance but may not be suitable for heavy snow driving. In regions with little snow and moder ...

Ask the Mechanic: What’s the function of overdrive?

Let’s start with a basic explanation of the overdrive on/off switch, which in most cases is mounted on the automatic transmission shift lever or on your instrument panel. When y ...

Ask the Mechanic: How do I maintain my car’s heating system?

Maintaining your vehicle’s heating system, for the most part, is a very low maintenance task. Believe it or not, the engine cooling system is the system that requires the maint ...

Ask the Mechanic: Why does my car require premium fuel?

This question is not as complex as one might think. The main reason that a turbo-charged or super-charged engine requires premium grade fuel is for its higher octane value. This ...

In the Driver's Seat: Understanding the alternator’s purpose

The main function of a vehicle’s alternator is to maintain the life of the battery. The alternator, which is driven by a belt, keeps the battery charged. The alternator may beco ...

Ask the Mechanic: How can I improve my car’s fuel economy?

When we talk about fuel economy for our vehicles, the first thing most of us overlook are the condition of our tires. What’s most important with tires is, are they properly infl ...

Ask the Mechanic: What is the function of oil viscosity?

Oil viscosity defines the oil’s resistance to flow. The greater the viscosity, the thicker the oil. For example in 5W-30 oil, the 5W is the actual viscosity grade of the oil in ...

Ask the Mechanic: Understanding the role of a catalytic converter

The average consumer usually doesn’t need to think about their catalytic converter. But for those required to pass a state-mandated emissions test, or smog check, the catalytic c ...

Ask the Mechanic: What does my vehicle’s engine timing belt do?

The purpose of an engine timing belt is to turn both the crankshaft and the camshafts at the same time in relationship with each other. It is very important that the timing belt a ...

Ask the Mechanic: What’s the importance of a vehicle’s water pump?

The function of a water pump on any automobile engine is exactly what the name implies — it pumps water, or hopefully the correct mixture of water and coolant. The primary job ...

Ask the Mechanic: How do I best maintain my air conditioning?

One of the best ways to maintain your air conditioning system is to service your system on an annual basis. In doing so your repair facility can visually inspect and check the p ...

Ask the Mechanic: What’s the difference between a carburetor and fuel injection?

A carburetor and a fuel injection system are quite different, but they both serve the same purpose, which is to deliver fuel to the engine cylinders to form a combustible air/fuel ...

Ask the Mechanic: How does the starter work on my vehicle?

Anyone who drives a car in this century or the last will agree that being able to start your car with the turn of a key is one of the most important parts of modern vehicle design. ...

What can I do to maintain my car’s paint?

When it comes to protecting your vehicle’s paint finish, there are several different steps you can take to keep it looking fresh. First of all, for those of us living in the fo ...