How will I know if the shocks/struts of my Ford Festiva are already up for replacement?
If the shocks/struts of your vehicle are damaged or on their way out, you can usually tell by the way they absorb forces from the road or dampen the up-and-down movements of the springs. If they can no longer minimize vibrations as the vehicle drives through uneven surfaces and road imperfections such as potholes, then this could mean that your shocks/struts need attention.
Broken shocks or bad struts would naturally lead to the vehicle's excessive bouncing and swaying. Other symptoms include loose and unstable steering when driving over a bump. Nose dives are also common when braking if the shocks/struts of the vehicle are already worn out. Aside from leaning and swaying when turning, thumping over bumps and rear end squatting are other signs to watch out for. There are several things that need to be checked. This includes leaking oil from suspension parts and pitted piston rods. Also find out if the brakes are already worn out severely or if you have cracked mounting bushings. Damaged shocks/struts would cause unusual tire wear such as cupping on the inner shoulders of the tires. As you check the shocks/struts of the vehicle and consider replacing them, see if the internal valves and seals are already worn out or severely damaged.
Is it safe to use such a thing as an air-con gas top-up kit? I found one at a nearby auto parts shop.
While the top-up air-con gas kit is easy to use and has the tools you'll need, when re-gassing the air-con of your vehicle, you have to make sure that the system is free from moisture and contaminants. The pipes and other air-con components should be serviced properly to keep them clean. This requires experience and technical know-how. If you don't know how to do the air-con cleaning prior to re-gassing the system, then you may have to go to an air-con specialist or auto service facility to have this done. Be sure to use the right type of refrigerant and the right amount of gas for the vehicle's air-conditioning requirements.
My Ford seems to be using up more oil than normal, so I checked the coolant level and the fluid itself. I'm quite surprised that the coolant looks like root beer. It's brownish and foamy. I tried to look for a possible leak or spot a smoke from the exhaust but can't find one. What seems to be the problem here?
If you have foamy, brownish coolant and the engine is consuming more oil than usual, you'll have to check for a blown head gasket, a cracked cylinder head, or a leak along the oil lines. Oil may have entered the cooling system and have unexpectedly mixed with coolant. This should be fixed to avoid more serious problems. The faulty component must be replaced. In case of a cracked cylinder head, replacement may be a better option than head repair.