4 Symptoms of a Bad Oil Control Valve (and VVT Solenoid)

variable valve timing engine

To understand the variable valve timing (VVT) solenoid and associated oil control valve (OCV), it will help to know the history of this device and how it benefits our cars, SUVs and light trucks today. The valves in the engine of your car, SUV or truck operate to control the flow of air, fuel and … Read more

Electronic Throttle Control Light On? (Here’s What it Means)

electronic throttle control light

During the development of the automobile, several different methods to control engine speed were utilized. Hand throttles were initially popular, but this method faded over time. Eventually the engine speed and car speed control became the work of the driver’s right foot. Thus the accelerator pedal (or gas pedal) emerged. It was connected to the … Read more

Bleach in a Gas Tank? (Short and Long Term Effects)

bleach in gas tank

While it’s unlikely that you’ve intentionally poured bleach into your own gas tank, it’s not unheard of for people to try and get back at someone they don’t like by mixing things into their gas tank. But what do you do if you suspect you’re a victim of someone that has bleached your gas tank? … Read more

3 Symptoms of a Bad Starter Motor (and Replacement Cost)

bad starter symptoms

For automobiles, the electric starter is a boon to easily getting on the road. It was invented by Clyde J. Coleman and first patented in 1903. Coleman soon sold his patent rights to Delco which was subsequently absorbed by General Motors. When Delco joined GM, the brilliant engineer, Charles Kettering, came along for the ride. … Read more

How to Reset a Check Engine Light Yourself (3 Methods)

check engine light

Vehicle exhaust emissions have been a contributor to air pollution since the automobile first appeared on the dirt roads of the early 1900s. But it was not until the mid 60’s that efforts were initiated to reduce those emissions. By the mid-90’s, refined improvements to automotive engines and related systems had made major strides in … Read more

6 Symptoms of a Bad Timing Chain (and Replacement Cost) 

bad timing chain

Almost every vehicle with an internal combustion engine uses either a timing chain or timing belt. These are critical components which over the life of a vehicle CAN fail. This article will cover timing chains in particular. See “Symptoms of a Bad Timing Belt” in case your vehicle uses that instead. What is a Timing … Read more

Causes of a Car That Shuts Off While Driving (and What To Do)

car shuts off while driving

Decades ago, my dad taught me a great deal about automobile problem diagnosis and repair. One thing he repeated time and time again: “For an engine to run it must have three things. Fuel, spark and compression. And these three must each happen at the right time”. These three factors apply to conventional gasoline-fueled not … Read more

5 Engine Running Lean Symptoms (and Common Causes)

engine running lean symptoms

While it can be a pretty straightforward process to diagnose an engine that’s running rich, accurately diagnosing an engine that’s running lean can be a little trickier. But just because it’s harder to spot the culprit doesn’t make it any less severe. Failure to address a lean running engine can lead to unrepairable engine damage … Read more

4 Symptoms of a Bad Knock Sensor (and Replacement Cost)

bad knock sensor symptoms

You’re thrumming along a long country road, of course, and you can’t really tell what’s going on in your engine bay. That’s because everything is so quiet nowadays. But you do see a check engine light that wasn’t there before or maybe you feel a strange bumping sound upon acceleration. Maybe your mileage has gone … Read more

10 Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Pump (and Replacement Cost)

bad fuel pump

Gasoline and diesel automobile engines are dependent on a moderately complex fuel delivery system. This system brings fuel to the engine at the precise flow and pressure to enable proper operation. For most modern cars, one or more fuel pumps are the heart of this arrangement. When one of these pumps fails to perform properly, … Read more