Under the Hood: Internet is a cornucopia of info on auto repairs

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Oct. 1, 2018

Q: You forgot to mention the internet as a place to look for instructions on changing cabin filters. Honda does not have the cabin location in the manual (2012 CRV). Honda wanted to change the air filter and the cabin filter for $129. I replaced both and saved $76, and it took a whole 30 minutes for both.

— Stan

A: Yikes! I blew it when cutting and pasting things, leaving mention of this information goldmine who-knows-where! Good work renewing your own filters!

When contemplating an automotive service procedure or simply trying to find out how something works, often there will be someone presenting a YouTube video on the subject. Another great site for information on a wide range of automotive topics is www.aa1car.com, home of my favorite technical writer, Larry Carley. His information is very well presented! I also appreciate Tire Rack’s tech center articles, which cover every imaginable tire/wheel question one could have. Another source of information is forums, which are great for assessing if a fault may be common, but take recommended fixes with a grain — make that a handful — of salt! When curious about a component’s characteristics — say, a window regulator prior to door disassembly — I’ll often search as if to purchase the part, to get a good look at a photo or illustration of the part. This can sometimes provide hints on what may have gone wrong or how removal/installation may play out. Please let me know of your favorite information sources to share.

Q: I have been noticing my engine cranking slowly first thing in the morning. I remembered someone, perhaps you, recommending to give the battery terminals a yank to check for looseness. Mine were tight, but one was noticeably warmer, almost hot, compared to the other. They appear clean. What does this indicate?

— Curt

A: You nailed it! Even though the cable connections appeared tight and externally clean, the heat you noticed is a clear indicator of a poor connection. There is apparently corrosion buildup where you can’t see it between the post and clamp. Another way to confirm a reliable battery terminal connection is to measure the voltage drop across the connection, one meter lead on the post and the other to the clamp while a helper cranks the engine. Greater than 0.2 volts indicates the need for cleaning. Ignore the minus symbol if it appears.

Cleaning top-terminal battery posts/clamps is easy using a Schumacher BAF-BI terminal cleaning brush or similar. You’ll want to avoid erasing computer memories by installing a computer memory saver tool prior to disconnecting the cables. The accessory lighter socket type does not work on many cars, as the socket isn’t “hot” with the key off. In this case a tool that plugs into the under-dash data connector is the best choice. A 10-foot cord on one of these would allow a second vehicle’s battery to provide the needed trickle of electricity. Keep doors closed/interior lights off!