Tech Q & A

We often get asked questions at the shop concerning peoples cars. So we decided to add this as a feature to our site. To let you, the visitor ask us questions about your car. Whether it is a tech question, or just a general information question, feel free to mail us and we would be glad to pass along our answer. Here are a few of the questions we have been asked here, and our answers.

QUESTION: Joey wrote: Hi, I have a 93 Mazda Protege. Lately, I have noticed green liquid dripping under it after driving. What could it be? Thanks.

        ANSWER:   Thanks for the question Joey , the green liquid is coolant from the engine. You should go and have your cooling system "pressure tested" to locate the leak. Most shops are able to this and it takes about 15 min to 1/2 hour. I would advise getting this done as soon as possible because if you run out of coolant the motor may overheat, and can cause expensive damage. Let me know how it goes.

Tech Doug

[p.s. Thanks for the reply. I just took it yesterday to the car dealership and found out that there's a crack in the radiator. They were charging me $290 if they can replace only the leaking part, and up to $500 if they have to replace the whole radiator. I took it to another auto mechanic who charged me $250 to replace the whole radiator. That saved me about $300 since I would have had to rent a car if I went ahead with the dealer. The dealer wanted me to leave the car with them until Tuesday. The auto shop fixed my car in two hours. Now I know better not to go to dealers for major repairs.]

Again, thanks for responding to my question.

(While it is true that there are some car repair outlets that are shady, the majority are fair and good at their jobs. If a job seems too expensive or excessive get a second opinion. Remember, buyer beware.    T.D.)

QUESTION: Marilyn wrote: My 16 year old son just got his license and is delighted with his "new" 1986 Chevy Cavalier which he worked this summer to buy and pay for insurance/gas, etc. The 3rd time he drove it, the engine overheated, spilling out the coolant. I would like him to learn how to do diagnostics on the car--is there anything he can do to check out water pump, causes of overheating, etc. or must we take it to a service station? Thank you. Marilyn (PS--it's too dark out to read the VIN--hope you can help us without it.)

        ANSWER: Dear Marilyn: Thanks for the question. You should have the cooling system "pressure tested" to check the cooling system for leaks. Since that a test that needs special equipment. Low coolant levels will cause a problem with overheating. There are other causes as well (which he can check), such as a stuck thermostat, internally or externally plugged rad and so on. If your son wants to start to understand how the systems in the car work, get him a book on automotive repair fundamentals. This should give him a good start on being able to diagnose some problems with his car.
Tech Doug

QUESTION: Amy Wrote: My sister has a 90 Honda Accord. Recently, the car won't start. It turns over approx 10-15 times, before it actually starts. Now, she is having to hold the ignition switch in the "on" position for the car to stay on and run. It she doesn't, the car immediately turns off. It acts as though it is not catching. Any advice?

        ANSWER: Dear Amy: Thanks for taking the time to write. The problem with your sisters car has to be sngle down to a problem of losing either spark or fuel. It sounds like the car might even be flooded , remove a spark plug and observe if it is wet or not this will give you a good indication.
Tech Doug
(P.S. let me know how it turns out , also if you have spark and fuel you will want to check the timing.)