We had an older nice German vehicle that was towed in because of an engine fire this month. The repair bill was well over $2000 to replace the composites that were burned.
The sad news was this was so preventable. The valve cover gasket (the gasket on the very top of the engine) was leaking oil. The owner was aware that something was amiss because of a strange odor that was being given off from under the engine compartment. A burning smell, even after the vehicle was shut off. As time progressed, this smell got more and more pungent. The intention was to have this checked out but wasn’t checked and repaired until disaster set in. The pools of oil, heated by the exhaust manifold caught fire. The good news, it was a small fire and didn’t do much damage as fires go. The even better news, no one was injured.
Your vehicle is a very complicated piece of machinery, incredible amounts of components all working together to provide you with a safe and comfortable ride with impeccable dependability.
The key here is to listen, smell, see all signs to things that are not normal. A sound or noise, a smell or a check engine light are all signs the this marvel component called a vehicle that moves you at speeds up to and well over 65 miles per hour needs attention. Stay tunes to these signs and your vehicle will be more dependable while lowering the costs of operation.
A warning about what to do if your vehicle catches on fire, in one word, get away from it and call 911. Opening a hood and providing the fire with extra oxygen could be disastrous. A fire around the fuel tank could be worse. Fire fighters know what to do and have the equipment to fight a fire.
Leaking oil can not only start fires but pollute the nearby rivers and even the ocean. All oil that leaks into the streets in Eugene, Springfield go into the storms drains that gets directly put into the Willamette or McKenzie (that goes into the Willamette). None of the runoff is treated so this is another great reason to maintain your vehicle as regard to oil leaks. If you have any oil on your driveway or garage, please get it repaired. Even small oil leaks make a difference.
Winter fuel mileage.
One of the common complaints we get going into the cooler weather is the fuel mileage decreases, up to 4 miles per gallon. This is so true for a few reasons.
The first is that a cold engine is not as efficient as a warn engine and it takes a longer time for the engine to reach operating temperature.
The second reason is there is a change in the fuels you buy.
Yes, there is a winter and summer fuels that are used. There are many different reasons but in a nut shell it boils down to two reason. One is performance and drivability, the other being keeping the pollution more in check.
Quick check list for winter
- Check tires for tread depth, pressure and wear pattern.
- Replace wiper
- Check coolant, replace if over 4 years old
- Have battery checked, replace if over 6 years old
- Check and clean cowl drains under hood in front of windshield.
- Check all lighting
- Repair if check engine light is on.
- Make sure heater, defroster is working.
- Clean all windows, inside and out.
- Do not drive until all windows are free from frost and dew.
There is no reason to warm up your vehicle in cold weather before you drive it. Just get in, start it and drive off.
You will want to be careful about using full acceleration until you temperature gauge gets to the normal area.
Just drive as is you have a egg under the gas pedal until the engine warms up. It is better for your car, better for the environment and better for your pocketbook. A car idling and not moving gets horrible fuel mileage and just pollutes.
The only acceptation to this is to use the heater to defrost the windows or you hate to be cold.
Tip from George
If an animal jumps out in front of you, continue to look where you want to go, not at the animal. Where you look, the car will go. Apply brakes firmly but don’t swerve to avoid the animal. Many accidents and deaths happen from swerving to avoid the animal.