Boy, do I get a lot of questions about why my car won’t start. I just went through this problem with my 1969 Lincoln Continental a few days ago, and figured I would detail my process and hopefully help a few of you guys out working on your own cars.
My Lincoln sits a lot and has not been starting very well since I bought it a few months ago. I went to start it and heard the dreaded click-click of the solenoid going, but the starter not turning. I guess it’s time to start diagnosing.
My first suspect was the battery, so I disconnected it and put it on the charger. After a night of charging, I whipped out my battery tester, which is basically a volt meter with a resistor built it to put a load on the battery. I used a model from Harbor Freight.. cheap, but I don’t use it that often and it works.
Well, the battery was marginal, so I replaced it just to be safe. The battery was in the car when I bought it, and was not marked as to when it was installed, so I could not determine the age. When in doubt, replace it !
The next step was to inspect the cables running from the battery to the solenoid, ground cable, and the cable from the solenoid to the starter. The battery cables were in good condition, but the cable from the solenoid to the starter had a huge rip in the insulation and the copper wires were corroded. This will prevent the stater from getting full power, and will make the starter crank slow, if at all. So off to the parts store to get a new cable. $4 later, I was under the car replacing the cable. While I was at the store, I picked up a new starter solenoid for $6 which is just cheap insurance. Since you can not open up the solenoid and inspect it, it’s easier just to replace if you don’t know the age.
After everything was replaced, I got in the car, and the old Lincoln fired right up. The start spun fast, and strong, just like new.
When you are done with all your repairs, it’s a good idea to protect your connectors with a battery terminal grease available at any auto parts store. The grease prevents corrosion and can be found in tube or spray form.
Posted: 28th January 2006 | Author: Kevin Schappell | Category: Electrical
Don’t want to spend tons of money on tools, just to change your oil or do some minor repairs. Snap-On and MAC tools are great for professional mechanics, but expensive for a shade tree mechanic. I usually recommend people buy Craftsman tools if they plan on doing a lot of work on their own vehicle. Craftsman tools are the best quality tools for the money, and include a lifetime guarantee. Shop online at www.sears.com
If you are doing minor repairs or are on a budget, consider tools from Harbor Freight www.harborfreight.com which also generally have a lifetime warranty but are made overseas and not of the quality of Craftsman tools.
No matter what tools you buy, keep them clean and organized and they will reward you with a long useful life.
Posted: 25th January 2006 | Author: Kevin Schappell | Category: DIY Tools
I have been asked many times if it matters where you buy your gasoline. My answer is always this… Stick with a major brand of gasoline, and try to buy your gasoline in an area where there are a lot of gas stations. Why? well if you buy your gasoline in a populated area with many gas stations in the same area, it creates competition, and you are more likely to get a lower price per gallon.
By sticking with a name brand gasoline, you are assured you are getting a quality product with a company to stand behind it. Most major brands of gasolines have a lot of detergents in their gasoline which help your car run cleaner. You will also want to run some fuel injector cleaner through your tank, every month or so, depending on how many miles you drive.
Posted: 24th January 2006 | Author: Kevin Schappell | Category: Car Care, Fuel
When you need to replace your exhaust system due to rust or damage, consider an aftermarket exhaust. If you are concerned about price, often times an aftermarket exhaust can be cheaper than the factory system.
I was working on my father’s 1989 Chevrolet Pickup and needed to replace the muffler and tail pipe. The factory parts were well over $200, and a complete aftermarket exhaust was $180. I went with the aftermarket exhaust DynoMax and ended up with a better sounding exhaust tone and a few bucks in my pocket.
I generally buy my exhaust systems from http://www.summitracing.com They have good prices and quick shipping.
Posted: 24th January 2006 | Author: Kevin Schappell | Category: Exhaust
Your cars cooling system is vulnerable to the cold temperatures in the winter months. Proper maintenance of your cars cooling system can prevent freeze-ups and corrosion problems.
The coolant in your car’s engine is a mixture of water and anti-freeze, a chemical to prevent freezing. Straight water is the best liquid to remove heat from your engine, but will freeze below 32 degrees F, so antifreeze is necessary. Before each winter season you should have your coolant checked by a mechanic for PH and freezing point. It’s a simple test which can be done in a few minutes and can save you repair bills and hassles down the road. You can buy a tester at your local parts store and test the coolant yourself, but you will need to be careful to check the levels when the engine is cold. If the PH or freezing point is off, it’s time to change coolant. A certified mechanic will have the proper equipment to flush and refill your coolant system and properly dispose of the old coolant.
Posted: 19th January 2006 | Author: Kevin Schappell | Category: Car Care