I have heard of different ways to add antifreeze to a car (some not so clever). Would you please describe the safest way to accomplish this task?
Wanda from Dallas
Start with a cold car. Open the radiator cap and top off the coolant, then start the engine. As the car warms up and the thermostat opens (when the coolant level in the radiator starts to drop), top off the coolant until it is full; then re-install the cap and top off the recovery tank to the proper level. There you have it! You have just properly filled your engine's cooling system. Sometimes a vehicle's cooling system has to be bled after filling the system. There are bleed screws on the thermostat housing of such vehicles. If this is the case, make sure you bleed the system until all air is exhausted. Never open the system cap if the engine is warmed up ... make sure it's cool! You don't want a hot, scalding shower of engine coolant! Good luck.
I own a 2006 Jeep Liberty with 48,000 miles. This obviously is NOT a fuel-efficient vehicle. This little 'cutie' maybe gets 13-15 MPG city driving. YIKES! Are there things I can do to improve gas mileage now that it costs $70 to fill up the tank? My daughter will be using it for college and will have a 25-mile commute with little to no stops to reach the campus. Thanks!
June from Baton Rouge, La.
Try installing a high flow air filter like a K&N filter and practice moderate driving habits. For example, no jackrabbit starts. Drive the speed limit, make sure tires are properly inflated because low tire pressures result in increased rolling resistance, which increases gas consumption. Finally, keep the engine properly tuned so it burns fuel efficiently. In addition (something carmakers are doing that's working) change over the engine, transmission and differentials to synthetic lube. I recommend AMSOIL synthetic lubricants because they are the best on the market. This action will reduce friction drag on these components, so the engine won't have to work as hard and thus it will use less gas. I wish you Safe & Happy Fuel-Efficient Driving!
My Ford F150 pickup failed inspection. The garage said it was due to ''System Monitors Flagging.'' What is a System Monitor and what do they mean by it ''Flagging?''
Sue from Cheektowaga
The term System Monitor on today's cars refers to the self-check monitors in the car's emissions and performance system. When a System Monitors trips (or flags, alerting the system that there's a problem), it means that the system has failed a self-test and the emissions systems are not operating up to snuff. In New York, where an emissions test is performed as part of the inspection, if a System Monitor is tripped (or flags), it will fail inspection. Due to new inspection regulations, garages have to scan the system with a diagnostic computer, track down the cause of the flag, and repair it before the vehicle will pass inspection. Success to you.
My '88 Cadillac Brougham uses a quart of oil every 150 miles. There is no blue smoke coming out of the tail pipe and no oil on the ground under the engine. The car runs well and starts quickly. I use 10 W 30 oil. Is there a quick fix? Maybe some type of oil additive? Thanks,
Ronald from North Jersey
There could be a stuck PCV valve or blocked oil return holes in the cylinder heads causing the oil consumption. Also, if the engine has high mileage, you could have internal engine wear resulting in blowby of the piston rings. I would check the simple things first (PCV valve and rocker arm covers). If all is well then run a compression test to see if engine compression is low. If it is, then the engine probably needs rebuilding or replacing. I wish you success.
Why does the throttle body in my car get ''gummed up'' and cause various operational problems? Where does this ''sticky stuff'' come from? Can it be prevented, and if so, how?
Pepper from Flat Top, W.Va.
Fuel is injected through an electronically controlled injector into the air stream rushing through the throttle body. This constant injection of fuel results in gumming up of the throttle (varnish, a by-product of gasoline, forms on the throttle plates and impedes operation). That is why it is recommended to have the fuel system and throttle body cleaned on a regular maintenance schedule.
I read your articles on AOL and CNN and love your advice! Keep up the great work! I have two cars. One is used everyday and the other usually sits in the garage and is used for special occasions. My question relates to the gas that is stored for some time in the car that sits in the garage. Is it better to run the car with the ''old'' gas until the car is almost out of gas (which may be 2 or 3 months) or add ''fresh'' gas whenever I can? How long can I leave gas in the tank before it ruins the engine? Thanks.
Ron from Chattanooga, Tenn.
Forget about when to run the car with old or new gas. If you're going to let a car sit in the garage with gas in it over time, do like the boatyards do when putting up a boat for winter; pour a bottle of fuel stabilizer in it. This will maintain the octane, keep the gas fresh, and prevent it from separating and dropping varnish into the bottom of the tank.
'Til next time ... Keep Rollin'
Tom Torbjornsen is an automotive expert of 37 years. An automotive journalist in good standing with the IMPA (International Motor Press Association), Torbjornsen is a major contributor to AOL Autos, At Home Portals, and numerous other Web sites. Torbjornsen is the auto expert of record for Channel 4 WIVB TV, Western New York's CBS affiliate. Hear his radio show, AMERICA'S CAR SHOW with Tom Torbjornsen, on XM Satellite Radio Channel 166, Sundays 10 p.m. to midnight. Send your car questions to Tom at www.americascarshow.com.