My Mazda MX-3 used to display good fuel mileage, but now it is using up too much gas even in highway drives. What do I have to do in order to improve fuel economy?
Age can be a big factor because it's normal for car parts to deteriorate as the vehicle reaches high mileage. Have an expert mechanic make a thorough check of your car's engine. But aside from age, installation of power boosters, such as the turbocharger, may also be the culprit. Or maybe, you have so much cargo both in the cabin and the trunk. Leave unnecessary things so that the engine will not be overworked. If everything seems to be fine and there are no accessories to add to the engine's burden, then maybe, the problem is with how you drive.
There are bad driving practices that can greatly affect fuel mileage. Know and avoid them. One such practice is blipping the throttle. It does nothing good but consumes more fuel. It can even damage the vital engine parts, particularly when you blip on startup, because the engine is forced to work without the engine oil in full circulation. Other bad driving habits also include riding the brakes, sudden acceleration and braking, aggressive driving, as well as stop-and-go driving.
I know that engine overheating is a common problem with high-mileage cars, but this can also become a headache with newer ones. What's the best way to avoid such problem?
Using the correct antifreeze is a must, especially during winter. It can help, but it's not everything yet. You have to make sure that the coolant is enough in order to effectively absorb, transfer, and dissipate the excess heat produced in the combustion chamber. Do so by visually checking the coolant level in the radiator and the reserve tank. If insufficient, add until enough.
Problem may also come directly from the radiator. A clogged radiator is basically due to the bugs, dirt, and debris that get through it as the radiator fan helps it suck in air. This problem prevents enough air flow, thus affecting the cooling performance even with sufficient coolant. Determine any clogs, and then, clean the internal and the external part of the radiator, as well as its fins. It is also important to flush the radiator regularly. But if cleaning can no longer do any good due to extensive damage, you'd better get a quality replacement.
I have just installed a new set of brake pads a month ago, but my brakes are now unresponsive. I can simply bring my Mazda MX-3 to an expert mechanic, but, you see, I also want to learn how to do it myself. What should I do?
Brakes may not respond well or may not last long due to a number of reasons, and the most common is substandard aftermarket brake pads. Now, when the brake fluid becomes insufficient due to leaks, you will lose power to stop the vehicle. Unresponsive brakes can also be due to defective brake linings, and improper installation. This particular condition will require replacement. If it's due to stuck piston, you will have to readjust or replace depending on the extent of the problem.