What to Do If Your Car’s Overheating

Car Coolant System

How do I know that my Car is Overheating?

Temperature Gauge:

You’ll notice the needle on your dashboard engine temperature gauge (that’s the one marked with H for hot and C for cold) creeping up.

Plastic or Rubber Smell:

Plastic parts and rubber hoses in your engine bay may give off smells under intense heat.

Bubbling Sound:

A Bubbling sound coming from the engine bay might be a sign of hot, expanding coolant overflowing from the radiator to the coolant tank.

Ticking Sound:

A ticking sound from the engine could indicate that your oil is low, but can also be a sign that your oil is thinned out from overheating.

Steam:

If steam is starting to come out from under your hood, you most likely have an overheating problem.

What Should I do?

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What’s That Leak Under my Car?

Car Fluid Leak Identification Chart
Click to enlarge

You go out to your car in the morning or at the end of the work day, and there are drops of liquid, or worse yet, a big puddle, underneath it.  You wonder what’s leaking and how bad is it? You don’t necessarily need to call a mechanic or have the car towed off the bat. With a little knowledge and some testing you can figure out what the fluid is what to do about it.

First you’ll want to capture the leaks. It will be hard to get a good look at them on dark pavement, so put down a piece of butcher paper, newspaper, cardboard or aluminum foil underneath your car to catch the leaks. Park the car somewhere flat and level, and weigh down your drip catcher so it doesn’t get blown away by the wind. Once you’ve caught some of the fluid, it’s time to identify it. To do this, you’ll have to use your senses of sight, touch, and maybe even smell.

Identify where the leak is coming from

The first clue you’re going to use to identify your leak is where it’s coming from. If you have a rear wheel drive vehicle (common for pickup trucks, some sports cars, and most classics), a leak coming from the rear of the car is most likely differential fluid. A leak in the rear could also be coming from the gas tank.

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2017 1A Auto Charity Car Show & Fundraiser

It’s almost time for 1A Auto’s annual charity car show in Pepperell, MA. We started doing this car show back in 2009 to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of America and the North Middlesex Athletic Boosters.

We wanted to give back to our local community and a great national cause. The North Middlesex Athletic Boosters award scholarships to our local high school students and support athletic programs. The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America connects people with multiple sclerosis with products and services that help improve their lives. Multiple sclerosis affects about 400,000 people in the US and 2.5 million people worldwide.

With our love of all things automotive, we thought, what better way to raise funds – and have a little fun – than a car show. The show’s been growing ever since. Last year, was our biggest year yet, with over 225 cars. We plan to build the event into New England’s biggest car show.

Join Us!

When: Sunday, July 23rd at 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Where: Pepperell Town Field, 4 Hollis Street, Pepperell Massachusetts

Price:  $10 per vehicle
$20 for Vendors
Free For Spectators

Rain or Shine.

Pets are welcome

Check out Facebook for full details and see what people are saying!

Last year we spotted a lot of awesome cars like this GTO Judge:
GTO Judge
These Beetles:

volkswagen beetles

This GTR:

Nissan GT-R

And this crazy contraption:

custom truck with two front ends

If you’ve got a sweet ride to show off, we’d love to have you join us.  All makes and models are welcome. And if you just want to check out the show, kids are welcome and entrance is free. It’s sure to be a great time.

Why You Should Rotate Your Tires

What is tire rotation?

To start, tire rotation is when you change the location of each tire.  You keep the same tires and just move them around.  This helps extend the life of each tire.

Why should I rotate my tires?

The short answer is that your tires wear at different rates.  Relocating tires that experience more wear to spots where they’ll experience less wear (and vice versa) can give you the maximum life out of each tire.  That’s better than letting an individual tire wear out quickly, requiring you to replace it more often.

Why do tires wear at different rates?

You might think they would wear out at the same rate, since they go the same distance over the same roads.  Well, actually, they don’t necessarily all go the same distance.  In a turn, the outside wheel covers more distance.  Since we drive on the right hand side in the United States, left hand turns take longer.  That means our left tires cover more distance than the right ones, so they wear faster.  If you live somewhere where driving on the left side is the norm, your right wheels will wear faster.

The other factor affecting tire wear is the weight on top of the tires.  The engine is the heaviest thing in your car, and in the vast majority of cars, it’s located at the front.  That means the front tires get pushed harder against the road than the rear tires.  That also wears them faster.

The front wheels also have the duty of steering.  When steering, the tires turn across the ground, which scrapes off some of the rubber surface.  That also speeds up the wear on the front tires.

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Why Hasn’t Civic Mileage Improved in 20 Years?

If you look at the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel mileage estimates for the 1994 Honda Civic and the 2014 Civic, you’ll see very little improvement.  To make sure we’re comparing apples to apples, let’s look at base-level sedans with a four-speed automatic.  You’ll see that when the 1994 was released, it tested at 29 miles per gallon in city driving, 36 mpg in highway driving, and 32 mpg combined.  The 2014 tested at 29 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 33 mpg combined.  With 20 years of technological innovation and rising gas prices, the Civic only gets one more mile per gallon of gas.  How can that be?

Certainly the car has gotten heavier over the years, and more technology has been added which can mean more drain on the fuel.  But actually, if we dig in a bit deeper, we’ll discover that the Civic has made a bigger improvement than you might think at first.  The problem is that in the above comparison, we weren’t really comparing apples to apples, because in 2008, the EPA changed the way fuel mileage is calculated.  The Civic has gotten better, but the test has gotten harder.

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Why Is My Power Steering Making Noise This Winter?

Whining or squealing noises from your power steering system are common problems in cold weather.  What causes this?  Is your power steering simply fed up with the bad weather?  I know I do a lot of whining and squealing through January and February.  Actually, though, these noises can indicate problems with your power steering.  Fortunately, these problems are usually pretty easy to fix.

First of all, how do you know if the problem is with your power steering?  Well, simply put, you’ll notice the sound gets worse when you’re turning.  The sound could be coming either from your belt slipping on the power steering pulley, or from the power steering pump itself.

Your serpentine belt or accessory belt is made of rubber, which becomes less pliable when it’s cold.  The stiffer belt has a harder time getting a good grip on the pulleys, and the belt might slip over the pulley a bit.  That will cause a squealing noise.  Now, that’s somewhat typical in cold weather, and will be worse the colder it is.  It may not represent a huge problem, but you might want to check your belt anyway.  Belts get stiffer with age anyway, so a newer belt might keep its pliability better in the cold.  If your belt looks stiff or cracked, you should probably replace it with a new one.

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Why Your Gas Mileage Gets Worse in Winter & What to Do About It

poor gas mileage in winter

Cold weather can take a real toll on your gas mileage.  As I pointed out in an earlier post about winter gas prices, gas companies sell a different fuel blend in the winter, which produces less power.  That’s not the whole story, though.  There are a number of other reasons why you have to gas up more once it gets cold out.

The Impact of Frigid Temperature on Your Auto

The first is that your engine has to work harder in the cold.  First of all, the oil that lubricates your engine gets thicker when it’s cold, which means there’s more friction on the moving engine parts.  You also probably use more electric accessories during the winter.  Think of your heating fan, lights, defrosters, windshield wipers, and all the other parts that draw on the battery.  You run a lot of these more often in the winter.  That drains the battery (which already drains more easily in cold conditions) and means the alternator has to work harder.

The grip of your tires also contributes to your fuel use.  As tires roll, they actually flex a bit to make a contact patch with the road.  That helps you get more grip.  Rubber gets stiffer in the cold, so it doesn’t flex as well.  That means they’ll have a smaller contact patch on the road and less grip.  That means you have to use more power just to get going.  If your wheels slip, then you’re really wasting power.  The engine’s pushing but you aren’t getting anywhere.

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