Posted on 04/11/2017

On this Tuesday, I decided to talk about batteries, you know the ones that run your car.

The Hudson Motor Car Company was the first to use a standardized battery in 1918 when they started using the Battery Council International batteries. The BCI is the organization that sets the dimensional standards for batteries. Cars had 6-volt until the mid-1950’s. As cars got bigger with more demands on the battery they created 12-volt.

With that said, here is a 5 step guide to getting most out of our car batteries:

1. Keep the battery terminals clean and inspect regularly (i.e. monthly) for corrosion.

2. Start the car before operating car accessories and operate (drive) the car to allow the battery to get topped off by the car alternator which produces electricity and as a by-product charges the car battery after voltage drops in the battery.

3. Keep the battery secure and free from vibration. Batteries that shake can become damaged and short circuited or worse cause damage to your car.

4. Insulate the battery from extreme temperature changes with a car battery insulation kit. These usually come with new cars already, however you can find replacements specifically made to fit your car’s battery compartment. The sleeves are usually plastic or an acid resistant/thermal resistant material that insulates your battery but still allows it to vent.

5. Invest in a car battery charger that will maintain an optimum charge level when your car is not in use or when you go on vacation.

One last recommendation:

Check the car battery water level indicator on a regular basis! Most car batteries will indicate if it needs more water. It may never require water, but if so only use distilled water.



Posted on 04/11/2017

Diagnosing whether a bad odor is due to mechanical or environmental issues, however, takes some practice. Just as some experienced mechanics have an “ear” for knowing where a car squeak is coming from, there are also those who have a “nose” for diagnosing what problem it is. We can’t promise you’ll become an overnight expert here, but we’ve taken a page from the experts’ guidebook by spilling out some of their secrets.

What it smells like: Sweet

A car that smells eeringly sweet might mean that your coolant is leaking somewhere. Coolants are made from toxic ethylene glycol, and they smell really sweet like maple syrup. When you vaguely smell it somewhere, then chances are your coolant is leaking from a radiator cap, a heater hose, a malfunctioning cylinder head or an intake manifold gasket.

What it smells like: Pungent, Sharp, Acidic

If you smell something like burnt paper, then you’ve probably burned your brake or clutch. Or another reason might be that your clutch is slipping or in need of adjustment. The simple solution is to stop riding the clutch pedal too hard, or have your clutch replaced.

What it smells like: Burnt Oil

This indicates that oil is leaking on your car’s exhaust system. When oil drips on any of its parts, it burns. You’ll easily know it because the smell is really bad. Another indicator: you’ll notice a lot of thick blue smoke. The solution here is simple: plug that leak.

What it smells like: Sulfur Smell

If it smells like rotten eggs, then it’s probably a bad catalytic converter.

What if it smells like Raw Gas?

Some gas smell is normal, but if you have a strong gas odor , it indicates something really wrong with your car. Many different reasons: It could be a damaged fuel pressure regulator, stuck injectors, or a leaking fuel-tank. We highly recommend getting the car to a good mechanic.

What it smells like: Musty or Moldy Smell

This smell usually means that water is probably getting inside your car(been there for sometime). Check window seals, or look for leaky doors.  Or it could be moisture that condensing inside your air con evaporator—almost like gym socks that haven’t been washed in a very long time.

After getting the problem fixed in the next blog I will talk about ways to get rid of the smell.


What is DETONATION and what is the symptoms for this running problem?

Posted on 04/05/2017

Here are a list of car trouble symptoms:

Does your car cut out, detonation,dieseling, hesitation, miss, rough idle-slugglish, spongy stall or surges.

What is detonation? You hear a mild to severe ping, usually worse under acceleration. It sounds like popcorn popping. Bring your vehicle in so we can take care of all your running problems. Give us a call 574-255-4724, or go to our website Ricks Auto Service in Mishawaka IN.



Does your Garage floor look like this?

Posted on 04/05/2017


Does your garage floor look like this? Which fluid is this?

Here are a number of fluids in your car that can leave this mess on your floor.

  • Brake Fluid
  • Coolant
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Engine oil
  • Water
  • Power steering fluid
  • Transmission fluid

Take a close look at the stain.

  • What color is it?
  • Does it have a smell?
  • Check the consistency

You don’t have to be a scientist or mechanic to decipher the fluid leak:

  •       If it’s clear, watery and under the air conditioner:

It’s probably normal condensation if the air conditioner has been recently used.

  •       If it’s black or dark brown, greasy and located under the engine area:

Good change it is oil. Which part of the engine did the spot come from? Look

 under the hood around the oil filter and engine. Also, see if there are leaks

 around the crankcase, oil drain plug and the oil pan below it.

  •      If it’s thick, black or tan oily liquid:

As a result the gear oil may be leaking from the manual transmission,

differential, an axel or steering gears. If it is one of these leaks, this problem

needs to be addressed immediately.

  •       If it’s red, pink, or reddish-brown and greasy and you have an automatic transmission:

This is most likely the transmission leak. Locate the dipstick, is the level low? Top off with the correct transmission fluid. In a day or two check the dipstick again. If it is low again, you will need to have a  

If it’s watery or slippery; green, red, blue, or yellow; and is coming from under the radiator or engine:

It’s probably coolant. Check the radiator, pressure cap, engine, and hoses for leaks.

  •       If it’s oily; pink, red, or clear; and you find it toward the front bumper (usually on the driver’s side):

Usually the  power-steering fluid. Since the power-steering system is sealed and shouldn’t lose fluid. You will need to get that checked.

  •      If it’s a light-colored or clear fluid:

This could be a brake fluid leak. The stains should be visible. Leaky brakes very dangerous. Have a professional repair any brake fluid leak immediately.

  •       If it smells like rotten eggs:

It’s battery acid. Avoid getting it on your hands or clothes and have the battery replaced.

  •      If it smells like gasoline:

Most likely it is !

Consequently if the smell is coming from under the hood, check around the fuel pump and the fuel injectors — or the carburetor if your vehicle has one.

When the leak seems to be under the center of the vehicle, check the fuel lines.

If it’s under the rear end, check the fuel tank.


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