DIY: Could You Be A Home Mechanic?

About this Quiz

As much as we have grown accustomed to them, vehicles are merely modern-day conveniences, believe it or not. Nevertheless, they are conveniences that need maintenance, a lot of maintenance. Talented mechanics take care of the everyday repairs Joe and Jane can't handle. But you aren't normal, are you? You've got what it takes to be a great home mechanic, and that's why we're going to test you today.

You'll need to show us that you know the basics of taking care of a vehicle, including why oil needs changing, the importance of air filters, what the big deal about a tire's tread is, and more. If you can correctly answer these questions, you'll seriously impress both us and your friends! Are you ready for the challenge?

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1. Dead battery? Start your car by:

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  1. Using an external battery to jumpstart it
  2. Filling it up with gasoline
A jumpstarter is also called a power bank. It is a large battery used to start cars without a working power supply (due to cold weather, for example).
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2. Why should you rotate your tires every 5,000 miles?

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  1. To make sure they're evenly worn
  2. To increase the car's battery life
Rotating tires ensures that they're evenly worn, extending the life of the tires.
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3. What should you use to check the level of air in your tires?

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  1. A gauge
  2. A level
Tires are rated according to specific loads at certain pressures. A tire pressure gauge should be in the tool kit of everyone who owns a car. They let you know if your tires are overfilled or underfilled.
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4. Your engine has two valves. What are they?

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  1. Atrium ventricles
  2. Intake and exhaust
A vehicle's intake valve lets air in. The exhaust valve lets air out. The more a vehicle can move air in and out of the engine, the more efficient the vehicle becomes.
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5. What do your car's exhaust valves do?

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  1. Release gasses from the cylinder
  2. Release unpleasant odors from the cabin
A vehicle's exhaust valves release burned gasses from the cylinder. This has to happen before a combustion cycle can begin.
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6. Engines that have more torque...

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  1. Can accelerate quickly
  2. Can operate under water
Torque is a measure of how quickly a vehicle accelerates, similar to how horsepower is a measure of engine power.
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7. These items are the powerhouses of the engine. What are they called?

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  1. The brakes
  2. The pistons
The pistons can be found inside the engine's cylinders. If they start to fail, the engine will misfire.
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8. If there's a nail in your tire, what is the best course of action?

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  1. Leave it there until you can get it fixed
  2. Pull it out
When the nail pierces your tire, the hole it makes will be partially sealed by the nail itself. Pulling the nail out would let the air out, giving you a flat tire and a harder repair job.
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9. You notice a green puddle underneath your vehichle. What kind of leak do you have?

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  1. Acid
  2. Coolant
Coolant leaks can occur for a number of reasons, including a hole in the radiator or corrosion in the radiator tubes. Why is that bad? Without coolant, your engine can seize or die.
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10. The tachometer displays your vehicle's RPM. What does RPM stand for?

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  1. Refuels per mile
  2. Revolutions per minute
The tachometer shows the vehicle's revolutions per minute. It can usually be found on the dashboard, next to the speedometer.
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11. Why should you change your car's oil periodically?

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  1. So your vehicle smells better
  2. Because oil breaks down over time
Oil can break down over time, affecting its ability to protect the engine from overheating, which decreases engine efficiency. Oil absorbs heat, allowing the internal parts to work together effectively without overheating.
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12. A supercharger gives a car's engine more of which element?

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  1. Neon
  2. Oxygen
Superchargers increase the pressure provided to an engine, which means that the fuel can react with more oxygen during each intake cycle. This increases the engine's horsepower.
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13. Want to change your car's flat tire? Lift the car using:

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  1. A jack
  2. Your bare hands
Jacks use leverage to lift heavy items like cars off the ground. Everyone who owns a vehicle should have one in case of an emergency.
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14. Put coolant in your...

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  1. Spark plugs
  2. Radiator
The radiator passes your coolant through thin metal fins, allowing the heat produced by the engine to escape to the air outside your car.
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15. When you press the accelerator:

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  1. More air and fuel enter the engine
  2. All air and fuel to the engine is cut off
When a person presses the gas pedal, they start a process that allows more air and fuel into the engine, which makes the vehicle move faster.
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16. You should clean your car's battery with:

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  1. A brush
  2. Corrosive bleach and water
Car batteries don't require much maintenance, but it should be checked for build-ups or leaks. If there is a mineral build-up, scrub it off with a brush.
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17. If your brakes are doing this, they need to be replaced.

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  1. Echoing
  2. Squealing
If your brakes are squealing or making grinding and squeaking noises, it might be time for new ones. It's also helpful to pay attention to the brake warning light.
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18. If your car starts to break down while you're on the highway...

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  1. Coast along the shoulder until you’re away from any curves
  2. Keep going until the engine completely dies
First try to find a place to pull over. This involves coasting along the shoulder of the road until you are away from any curves. Then, call roadside assistance.
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19. Want a neat trick? Check your tire's tread with a:

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  1. Penny
  2. Pickle
To check the state of your tire, turn a penny -- head down -- and stick it in the tread. If you can see the penny's entire head, your tires need to be replaced.
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20. Which of these is worse for your car battery?

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  1. Off-brand coolant
  2. Heat
Heat is a much bigger threat to a car's battery than the cold. Car owners who live in hot climates should test their batteries every two years, while those who live in cold climates can check theirs every four years.
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21. Why is brake dust dangerous for your car's wheels?

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  1. It makes the tires dirty
  2. It can corrode the lining of a wheel
Brake dust doesn't affect the brake system, but it can affect the aluminum alloy on the surface of a car's wheel by eating away at it.
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22. Before inspecting your engine, make sure it is:

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  1. Hot
  2. Cool
It's very dangerous to attempt to work on a vehicle with a hot engine. Burns are not uncommon and can send you to the emergency room quite easily.
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23. A car's air filter should be changed every year because...

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  1. New filters are more technological
  2. It can become clogged overtime
A clogged air filter can decrease your vehicle's capacity to accelerate. Although a filter can last for 30,000 miles, it should be replaced once a year to ensure optimal performance.
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24. Use this when checking your oil level:

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  1. A dipstick
  2. A measuring tape
Dipsticks are graduated rods used for measuring the depth of a liquid.
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25. You're looking for the lug nuts. Where will you find them?

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  1. On the steering wheel
  2. On the wheels
The lugs are the nuts that secure the wheel to the vehicle. The number of lugs on each vehicle varies, but is usually between four and six.
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26. Revolutions per minute are controlled by THIS car part:

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  1. The wheel
  2. The crankshaft
In vehicles, RPM (revolutions per minute) measures how many times the engine's crankshaft makes a full rotation every minute.
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27. If the middle of the wheel is silent when you press it, something's wrong with the:

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  1. Trunk latch
  2. Horn switch
A car horn is used to warn other drivers of that car's presence. Why isn't it working? Check your horn switch (in your steering wheel) or your clock springs under the steering wheel.
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28. Can low tire pressure decrease efficiency on the road?

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  1. Yes, it can cause drag and decrease fuel-efficiency
  2. No, just drive more slowly
Tires should always maintain their factory-recommended pressure so that the vehicle's contact with the road is ideal, does not cause too much drag, and so that your car remains fuel-efficient.
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29. You get into your car and smell gasoline. Should you drive it?

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  1. Yes, all cars smell like gas
  2. No, there might be a dangerous leak
The smell of gas indicates a leak of some sort. If you turn your vehicle on and fuel is leaking, that leak may ignite.
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30. What does the cabin's air filter prevent from entering the passenger compartment?

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  1. Pollen and mold spores
  2. Humid air
Pollen and mold spores! The cabin's air filter is usually made from paper cotton. It filters air from the outside, trapping the contaminants inside the filter.
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31. What blue liquid is likely to smell very sweet?

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  1. Antifreeze
  2. Aloe vera
Antifreeze (a component of coolant) can sometimes contain ethylene glycol, the toxic ingredient responsible for its sweet smell.
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32. Use this device to collect the oil that drains out of the engine:

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  1. Oil drip pan
  2. Safety stand
The oil drip pan allows mechanics to collect used motor oil in one place and to dispose of it properly.
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33. Before working on your car's electrical system, what should you do?

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  1. Wash it with a hose
  2. Disconnect the battery
For your safety, disconnect the car's battery before working on its electronics. Make sure you loosen the negative terminal first.
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34. Your car's ECU ensures the smooth functioning of the vehicle. What does "ECU" mean?

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  1. External Connectivity Utility
  2. Engine Control Unit
The Engine Control Unit controls a series of actuators in the internal combustion engine, making sure your engine performs optimally.
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35. Find your car's exhaust pipe:

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  1. Under the vehicle
  2. On the roof
A vehicle's exhaust pipe is just one of the main components of the exhaust system underneath the car. Other parts include the resonator, muffler, tailpipe, and exhaust manifold.
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36. Use THIS when trying to loosen a rusted nut:

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  1. Super glue
  2. Penetrating oil
Penetrating oil is capable of getting into the nooks and crannies of rusty and corroded parts. This make them easier to work with.
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37. What's the advantage of a four-stroke engine?

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  1. It makes the vehicle look newer
  2. Improved fuel economy
In addition to better fuel economy, other advantages of a four-stroke engine include more durability, cleaner emissions, and more power and torque.
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38. The oil that lubricates the moving parts of an engine is found in the:

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  1. Gear stick
  2. Engine sump
The sump is usually found right below the engine. It stores the oil that lubricates an engine's moving parts.
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39. You can loosen and tighten screws with:

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  1. Hex wrenches
  2. Jacks
Also known as Allen wrenches, hex wrenches come in many different sizes to match the bolts and screws car manufacturers use.
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40. If your v-belt looks greasy or glazed, does it need replacing?

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  1. Yes, because grease and oil will damage it
  2. No, v-belts aren't damaged by anything
Yes! V-belts also need to be replaced if they have suffered from excessive cracking and splitting.
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41. What is preventive maintenance?

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  1. Quick fixes to make the car look better than it really is
  2. Maintenance that is done regularly to prevent your car from failing
Regular maintenance can help prevent dangerous surprises and car malfunctions.
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42. Use a torque wrench to:

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  1. Prevent over-tightening of sensitive screws
  2. Adjust the temperature of the cabin
Torque wrenches are used to control and apply torque to certain fastener tools like nuts and bolts.
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43. You have a pneumatic tool. How do you power it?

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  1. With ground batteries
  2. Air compressor
Pneumatic tools use high-pressure gases to work, which is what an air compressor emits.
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44. Which of these items prevents dangerous spills when pouring liquids into your vehicle?

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  1. Funnel
  2. Strainer
Similar to the way that funnels are used in a kitchen, mechanics use funnels to help prevent spills when working with vehicles.
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45. Even if your tire's tread looks okay, how often should it be replaced?

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  1. Every 6 years
  2. Every 16 years
Monitor the treads of your tires to make sure they don't need replacing. Even if your tread is fine, replace a tire that is over 6 years old.
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46. What would happen without the timing belt?

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  1. Your engine would stop working
  2. Your central console would display the wrong time
The timing belt is what connects the camshaft and crankshaft and keeps the two in sync, controlling the opening and closing of the engine’s intake and exhaust valves.
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47. To measure the strength of your battery, use a:

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  1. Multimeter
  2. Compass
Car mechanics use multimeters -- which measure voltage, current, and resistance -- for many reasons, including to measure the strength of a car's battery.
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48. Is a loose muffler bad for your car?

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  1. Yes, dragging car parts are always bad
  2. No, a muffler is not important
If your muffler is loose, it can rattle and shake, putting extra stress on other areas of the car. If it hangs too low, it can break off easily.
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49. Your brakes' moving parts should be lubricated...

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  1. So that the car runs faster
  2. To ensure they work properly
In addition to allowing the brakes to work better, lubricant also keeps brakes from making squeaking or screeching noises. It should only be applied to the moving parts and in moderation to prevent lubricant from dripping into places where it might impede the proper functioning of the brakes.
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50. When do you need to call a professional mechanic?

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  1. The car's exhaust is a strange color
  2. You need to replace your windshield wiper
If you notice that your car's exhaust turns a funny color, your oil might be leaking, especially when accompanied by a burning smell. Take the car in for a professional assessment immediately!
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