Have that pesky car question that's been bothering you? Or want to know more about how to keep the wheels spinning on your car for years to come?
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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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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.
Winter is super hard on batteries. A battery is a box full of chemicals that produce electrons. The chemical reactions inside of batteries take place more slowly when the battery is cold, so the battery produces fewer electrons. The starter motor therefore has less energy to work with when it tries to start the engine, and this causes the engine to crank slowly.
What can you do to help prevent battery problems? Best answers:
- keep the battery warm by keeping the vehicle in the garage in a parking garage as much as possible,
- use an engine warmer like this one,
- have the battery tested to make sure it has enough cold cranking amps to keep you starting time after time this winter.
Bob Phibbs wrote a great article but he forgot one thing: the emergence and rise of mobile and concierge type businesses. More and more businesses are offering home delivery, office pick-up, and to-your-door services like My Car Doc. More and more companies are finding that it’s easier to work from home or a small office, purchase a delivery vehicle and pay for fuel instead of a large mortgage on a building.
Here’s the link to Bob Phibbs’ article: http://www.retaildoc.com/blog/12-retail-trend-predictions-for-2012/
What are your thoughts on business in 2012?
—John Cannon, www.MyCarDoc.com
Dear My Car Doc,
I’ve heard whispers about Secret Warranties. Is there a secret club I need to be in or a decoder ring I need to order? What is this all about?
—Waiting by the mailbox
Nope, no decoder ring, secret knock, secret handshake, or private club to join….but there ARE secret warranties.
Here’s the scoop: When a part has a high failure rate, a car manufacturer will sometimes notify its dealers that it will pay for certain repairs even after the original warranty expires. However, manufacturers do not notify car owners about these secret warranties, sometimes called goodwill adjustments, service campaigns or other names. To find out about secret warranties or technical service bulletins that might apply to your vehicle, contact the Center for Auto Safety. Call (202) 328-7700 or send a letter with a self- addressed, stamped envelope to: Center for Auto Safety, Suite 410, 2001 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20009-1160. Be sure to list the make, model and year of your car and describe the specific problem you are experiencing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also has information about recalls and technical service bulletins, which you can obtain by calling their hotline at 800-424-9393, or visiting NHTSA’s website.
Dear My Car Doc,
My tires seem to be low all of a sudden. Did my ex have anything to do with this?
—Restraining Order Next?
As the temperatures have dropped, many of you have probably noticed that the your tires seem to be a bit low lately too. Or, if you have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that lights up when your tires are low, that light is probably bugging you a lot more lately, right?
So what gives?
It’s science and it’s cool. Here’s the deal: As temperature drops, the air around us condenses a little. We don’t notice it because it’s all around us. However, the air in our tires is trapped in there. (If it’s not, then you have a leaky tire and THAT’S why your tire is low lol.) So what happens when we trap that air and then drop the temperature? Well, the same thing; as it condenses, the air doesn’t fill up as much space as it used to when the temperature was warmer. This makes the pressure in the tire to go down, which makes the tire to be underinflated.
Think about it like this: blow up a balloon, then put it in the freezer. Take it out a day later and what happened to that balloon? It’s much smaller with barely any air in it now (or so it seems). So what happened to the air you put in there? It’s still there, just under a lot less pressure when it’s 20 degrees in that balloon instead of the 98 degree air you blew into it.
So what do we do? That part is pretty simple. Just monitor your tire pressure. Every ten degrees or so, you should recheck your tire pressure and add a little as necessary. This doesn’t mean every time Paul Poteet says we have a cold spell coming you should rush to add air, but take it on average. If it’s in the 40s this week and the 30s next week and the 20s the week after (ugh!), then you should check it out in a week or two to make sure you’re still safe.
And that’s all there is to it, nothing fancy, nothing expensive but something to watch to keep you safe and make sure your four wheeled friends can handle the road they way they’re meant to. This has been another Auto 101 Tip from My Car Doc.