Usually bad news. A deep rapping noise from the engine is usually "rod knock," a condition brought on by extreme bearing wear or damage. If the rod bearings are worn or loose enough to make a dull, hammering noise, you're driving on borrowed time. Sooner or later one of the bearings will fail, and when it does one of two things will happen: the bearing will seize and lock up the engine, or it will attempt to seize and break a rod. Either way your engine will suffer major damage and have to be rebuilt or replaced.

Bearing noise is not unusual in high mileage engines as well as those that have been neglected and have not had the oil and filter changed regularly. It can also be caused by low oil pressure, using too light a viscosity oil, oil breakdown, dirty oil or dirt in the crankcase, excessive blowby from worn rings and/or cylinders (gasoline dilutes and thins the oil), incorrect engine assembly (bearings too loose), loose or broken connecting rod bolts, or abusive driving.

Bearing wear can be checked by dropping the oil pan and inspecting the rod and main bearings. If the bearings are badly worn, damaged or loose, replacing the bearings may buy you some time. But if the bearings are badly worn or damaged, the crankshaft will probably have to be resurfaced -- which means a complete engine overhaul or replacing the engine is the vehicle is worth the expense.

Entire article: http://www.aa1car.com
by Larry Carley c2007



A clicking or tapping noise that gets louder when you rev the engine is probably "tappet" or upper valve noise caused by one of several things such as low oil pressure, excessive valve lash, or worn or damaged parts.

First, check the engine dipstick to see if the oil level is low. If low, add oil to bring it back up to the full mark. Is the engine still noisy? Check your oil pressure. A low gauge reading (or oil warning light) would indicate a serious internal engine problem that is preventing normal oil pressure from reaching the upper valve components. The cause might be a worn or damaged oil pump, a clogged oil pump pickup screen or a plugged up oil filter. Using too thick a viscosity of motor oil during cold weather can also slow down the flow of oil to the upper valvetrain, causing noise and wear.

Entire article: http://www.aa1car.com
by Larry Carley c2007



The cause here may be Spark Knock (Detonation) caused by an inoperative EGR valve, overadvanced ignition timing, engine overheating, carbon buildup in the combustion chambers, or low octane fuel.

Entire Article: http://www.aa1car.co
by Larry Carley c2007



Rotate Your Tires

Rotate your tires approximately every 5,000 miles

Winter Tire Maintenance Tips

The most critical times to check your tire pressures is in the fall and early winter months. Temperatures can result in air loss and affect tire performance and treadwear. Check your air pressures,this is also a good time to get an alignment.

Problem: Engine Smoke

Engien smoke means trouble! An engine in good running condition should not produce any smoke in its exhaust. Steam is normal, and may appear to be white smoke on a cold morning. But any other type of smoke in the exhaust means something is wrong.

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Possible Causes:

BLUE SMOKE: Bad news because it means the engine is burning oil. The underlying cause may be worn or broken piston rings, worn or damaged cylinders, worn valve guide or valve guide seals.

WHITE SMOKE: More bad news because it means the engine is burning coolant or transmission fluid. If the smoke is coolant, the cause if probably a leaky head gasket or a crack in the cylinder head. If the smoke is transmission fluid, the engine is sucking transmission fluid through a vacuum hose to the transmission.

BLACK SMOKE: Normal for older diesel engines when first started, but you should not see any visible black smoke with a gasoline engine. If you do, it means the air/fuel mixture is too rich possibly because of a stuck automatic choke on an older engine with a carburetor, a leaky fuel injector, too much fuel pressure, or clogged air filter.


BLUE SMOKE: Usually smells like burned toast. Check the oil level on the dipstick to see if the oil is low (add oil as needed to bring it back up to the full mark. DO NOT let the engine oil level get too low or serious engine damager will result!. Do a compression check or leak down test to diagnose worn pistons or rings.

WHITE SMOKE: May have a slightly sweet smell if coolant, a burned smell if transmission fluid. Check the coolant level and the transmission fluid level. If the coolant is low and/or the engine has been overheating, pressure test the cooling system to see if it holds pressure. If it does not, the head gasket is probably leaking and needs to be replaced. If only the transmission fluid level is low, add the required type of transmission fluid to bring it back up to the full mark, and inspect the vacuum hose from the transmission for fluid inside. If it is passing fluid, replace the vacuum modulator valve on the transmission.

BLACK SMOKE: Check the automatic choke if the engine is an older one with a carburetor. Check fuel pressure if the engine is a newer one with fuel injection. Also inspect the air filter.


Repairs will depend on what is causing the smoke. If the engine is burning oil (blue smoke), it will probably need rings and valve guide seals, which means overhauling the engine. If the engine is burning coolant (white smoke), the cylinder head will have to come off to replace the head gasket. If the engine is blowing black smoke, adjusting the automatic choke on the carburetor, or replacing the leaky fuel injector or defective fuel pressure regulator, or a clogged air filter may be required.

Entire Article: http://www.aa1car.com

How do I save Gas?


The only way to reduce internal engine friction is to run a lower viscosity motor oil with a "fuel saving" rating from the American Petroleum Institute (API). Switching from a 10W-30 motor oil to a lighter 5W-30 or 5W-20 motor oil, and/or switching to a synthetic oil may improve fuel economy a few tenths of a percent (every little bit helps). But don't expect a huge improvement.


A dirty air filter that is clogged with debris will restrict airflow into the engine and hurt fuel economy, performance and emissions. Inspect the air filter and replace it if it is dirty. The photo at the top of this page shows an air restriction gauge that indicates when the air filter is dirty and needs to be replaced.

How can you tell if the filter is dirty? Hold it up to a bright light. If the filter element is dark and obstructs most of the light, the filter needs to be replaced.

Stock air filters flow just as much air at low to mid-range engine speed as most aftermarket "performance" air filters. Installing a less restrictive performance filter may improve performance slightly at high engine speed, but for normal driving it probably won't have any measurable impact on fuel economy.


Ignition misfire can waste a lot of fuel and cause a big increase in exhaust emissions. On 1996 and newer vehicles with OBD II, the engine management system is capable of detecting engine misfires and will turn on the Check Engine light and set a diagnostic trouble code (P0300 series) if it detects a misfire problem.

Misfire can be caused by worn or dirty spark plugs, high resistance in spark plug wires, a weak ignition coil, dirty fuel injectors, low fuel pressure (weak pump or dirty fuel filter), or compression problems (burned valves, weak or broken valve springs, leaky head gasket, rounded cam lobes).

Standard spark plugs should be replaced every 45,000 miles, while platinum or iridium tipped long-life spark plugs can typically go 100,000 miles before replacement is needed. Refer to your owners manual for the recommended replacement interval.

Some spark plugs have special electrode configurations that are designed to minimize misfires. These may have a marginal benefit on fuel economy and performance, but don't expect any miracles.


A less restrictive exhaust allows the engine to breathe easier and use less fuel. Replacing a restrictive stock muffler with an aftermarket performance muffler can reduce backpressure and improve performance and fuel economy slightly. But the trade-off is usually a significant increase in exhaust noise.


One way you can maximize fuel economy is to keep you tires properly inflated. Increasing tire pressure reduces rolling resistance, but also adds ride harshness. For most cars, 32 to 34 psi is the maximum recommended inflation pressure for average driving. Refer to your owner's manual or the tire inflation decal in the glove box or door post.

Never exceed the maximum inflation pressure printed on the tire sidewall. Overinflated tires ride rough and increase the risk of tire damage or tire failure!

Underinflated tires, on the other hand, increase rolling resistance and drag. This makes the engine work harder and uses more fuel. Low air pressure also increases flexing of the tire's sidewall, which makes the tire run hot. Driving on a low tire at high speed on a hot day or with an overloaded vehicle increases the risk of tire failure and a sudden blowout. Never drive on tires that contain less than 25 psi of air pressure.

Air pressure should be checked at least once a month, and every week if you do a lot of highway driving. The pressure should be checked BEFORE the vehicle is driven because driving increases the temperature of the tires and the air pressure inside. If a tire is low, use a foot pump or compressor to add air. Then recheck the pressure to make sure it is correct and is not overinflated (this is especially important when using a high pressure hose at a service station). Also, use an accurate gauge. The gauges on many tire inflation machines are out of calibration.

Entire Article: http://www.aa1car.com
by Larry Carley c2007



Every engine requires four basic ingredients to start: sufficient cranking speed, good compression, adequate ignition voltage (with correct timing) and fuel (a relatively rich air/fuel mixture initially). So any time an engine fails to start, you can assume it lacks one of these four essential ingredients. But which one?

To find you, you need to analyze the situation. If the engine won't crank, you are probably dealing with a starter or battery problem. Has the starter been acting up? (unusual noises, slow cranking, etc.). Is this the first time the engine has failed to crank or start, or has it happened before? Have the starter, battery or battery cables been replaced recently? Might be a defective part. Has the battery been running down? Might be a charging problem. Have there been any other electrical problems? The answers to these questions should shed some light on what might be causing the problem.

If an engine cranks but refuses to start, it lacks ignition, fuel or compression. Was it running fine but quit suddenly? The most likely causes here would be a failed fuel pump, ignition module or broken overhead cam timing belt. Has the engine been getting progressively harder to start? If yes, consider the engine's maintenance and repair history.

Entire Article: http://www.aa1car.com
by Larry Carley c2007

Diagnosing A Car Battery That Runs Down

You go to start your car and discover the engine won't crank because the battery is dead. Now what? You get somebody to give you a jump start, or you connect the battery to a charger and charge it up until it has enough juice to start your engine.

The next morning you go to start your car again, and the same thing happens. The battery has run down and the engine won't crank. What's wrong?


A car battery can run down for any of several reasons:

  • You accidentally left the lights on or some other accessory that pulls power from the battery even when the ignition key is off.
  • The battery is not being recharged while the vehicle is being driven (you have a charging problem)
  • There is a key off parasitic electrical drain on the battery because a relay is sticking, a module is not shutting down, or there is a shorted diode in the alternator.
  • Your battery is old and will not hold a charge anymore. The battery needs to be replaced.

Entire Article: http://www.aa1car.com
by Larry Carley c2007