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I'm here to help answer your car questions or if you want to know anything about the man behind MCD. :) Every weekday we post a car article at 10 am, an auto tip at 2pm, and fun stuff in between.
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Has your four wheeled friend been a little hot under the collar lately? Chances are, it’s not hormonal or stressed at work. I’m going to give you three quick fixes that may help. One quick tip that may help save your fingers: NEVER TOUCH A HOT ENGINE! You’d be surprised how many people get stranded somewhere, pop the hood & start tinkering around. That’s why they put warning labels on costumes letting you know you can’t fly just because you’re wearing a cape. Just sayin’….
COOLANT LEVEL: That’s right. It could be as simple as checking your coolant level. When adding coolant, make sure it’s diluted 50% water & 50% full strength coolant. You can also purchase coolant that is pre-mixed so that all you have to do is open and pour.
THERMOSTAT: Your car’s cooling system works a LOT like your circulatory system in your body; it’s on a loop. The thermostat is like a gatekeeper in that loop. It’s job is to keep the engine warm in the winter by NOT letting the coolant get through and keep the engine cool in the summer by pouring as much coolant through the system as possible. If the thermostat breaks, most of the time it breaks in the CLOSED position. Not so bad in the winter. In the summer, things tend to get a little steamy.
WATER PUMP: Remember the circulatory system? Your water pump is kind of the like the heart in that system, constantly pumping the coolant through the engine. If the bearings that spin in the water pump go out, the internal mechanism that pumps the fluid can’t um….well…pump the fluid. This means the coolant that is trapped in the engine can’t get to the radiator to cool down so it stays in the engine block getting hotter and hotter. I’m a little teapot short and stout…..
RADIATOR: We all know this big ol’ friend in the front of the engine but it’s kind of mysterious what it’s job is. Let me help. It takes all that coolant from the engine, spreads it out across the front of the car. This lets wind from the fans and from outside blow across the coolant, cooling it off (like you blow across the top of your hot coffee cup!) before allowing it to go back to the thermostat. That’s pretty much all it does. Like a big ol’ waterfall in front of the car. The problem is that radiators have seams like anything else that is put together. When coolant gets hot, the molecules in it start moving around a LOT faster. This creates pressure. Too much pressure and POP! Now your waterfall is cascading onto the pavement instead of into the lower radiator hose.
There are other parts to your system (fans, coolant temperature sensors, reservoirs, et cetera) but in the interest of keeping you interested, we’ll save those for another day. :)
To keep your four wheeled friends healthier longer, call My Car Doc at 317-345-4528
It has happened to everyone: you left your lights on by accident and now you have to get a jumpstart. As simple as it seems, there are people that have never had to do it or simply don’t know how. That’s why I’m here to help!
- After arranging the vehicles nose-to-nose (don’t allow them to touch), lift both hoods.
- You’re going to connect one of the clamps to the BLACK (NEGATIVE) post on the good battery first. This is important because the black post is the ground. If anything goes wrong, you want to be grounded.
- Then connect the other black clamp to the other black post on the dead battery. You can also connect it to an unpainted, stong, solid piece of bare metal like an engine mount or engine block.
- Now, connect the corresponding RED clamps to the RED (POSITIVE) battery terminals. At this point, you should have red to red and black to black.
- Make sure the cables are not in danger of getting caught by any moving parts when the engines start.
- Start the vehicle with the good battery. Allow to run 1-4 minutes.
- Try starting the vehicle w/the dead battery. If the vehicle doesn’t start after 4 minutes of charging, there is probably a secondary issue that needs to be addressed. Do NOT attempt to keep restarting, this could lead to damaging the starter.
- Keep the newly revived car running at least 30 minutes to give the alternator adeuquate time to recharge the battery. This would be an ideal time to have the alternator and battery tested.