Tip & How-To about Cars & Trucks

Check the silly stuff first.

Before you throw your hands in the air and blame everything and everyone for everything going wrong, check the silly stuff. We've all done it and we don't like to admit it but before you go back to the parts place to exchange your third "defective" coolant temperature sensor, make sure you bled the air out of your cooling system. Before insisting that the starter you got was bad or the alternator was cheaply made, make sure your battery terminals, cables and connections are clean. You're gonna feel mentally deficient when the guy helping you get your car started taps on your positive battery terminal and says "try it now" and it starts. Brake pads need to be able to slide in the caliper brackets and the caliper has to be able to slide too. I've had people decline a brake job because they "have a buddy that can do it". They come back a few days later, peed off with bright blue, heat checked brake rotors complaining that the rotors were cheap, when really, the "buddy" just dropped the pads in and called it a day. If you check your fluids, double check your work, even call in a fresh pair of eyes after you're done zipping everything back up, you'll save yourself some headaches and embarrassment. Nothing worse than having your car towed 50 miles because it wouldn't start, just to find out that the inside of your distributor cap was wet and you had a full tool box in your car the whole time (this actually happened to me). Check the silly stuff first. And always have WD-40.

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