Click & Clack Talk Cars
By Tom and Ray
I was selling an old car that
was starting to burn oil. One of the guys who
looked at the car pulled the oil filler cap and
the engine died immediately. He said a mechanic
buddy told him that this is a test for bad
compression. We tried it on his car, and it
didnt miss a beat. I had never heard of
this before. Is this a true test, and why does it
work? - Rick.
TOM: Hmm. Sounds good. But
its baloney, Rick.
RAY: Theres no
relationship between the oil cap and the engine
conking out. Unless the car in question is a
TOM: For some reason,
weve found that on many Saabs, when you
remove the oil cap, the engine WILL stall. But
thats just due to an engineering quirk that
produces a massive vacuum leak when the oil cap
is off. I have no idea if it was intentional on
Saabs part. It is the only car I know of
that does it.
RAY: There might be other cars
that do it, but were not in the habit of
removing the oil caps from cars that are running.
For one thing, theres never any need to.
And for another, it always sends oil splashing
all over my newly cleaned and pressed coveralls.
TOM: However, what you CAN tell
by removing the oil cap is whether the car has
excessive blowby. Blowby is created when the
rings wear out and lots of combustion gasses
sneak by the rings and into the crankcase, where
the oil is stored.
RAY: If there are more
combustion gasses in the crankcase than the
ventilation system can expel, pressure builds up
in there. When you remove the oil cap, you might
smoke coming out.
TOM: Thatd be a sure sign
that youd want to avoid buying that car.
Maybe thats what this guy had in mind.
By Greg Zyla
Sponsored by Curry Automotive
Southern 500 Was a
Q: Greg, I just watched the
500-mile race from Darlington, which was sold out
and run under the lights for the first time. It
was great. Still, I hear rumors of NASCAR
eliminating Darlington from its schedule, if not
in 2006, then in 2007. What are your feelings?
Sandy P., South Carolina
A: Sandy, if ever there was a
"right time" for race fans to push for
the ultimate saving of the Darlington racetrack,
now is the time. I feel that NASCAR should
reinstate the Southern 500 on the date it should
be run, Labor Day weekend. As for two races at
the track, I dont see that happening, but
the Southern 500 is the second most popular and
respected race in the United States, behind the
Indy 500. At this time, there really is no Labor
Day Southern 500, as the date has been moved to
First run in 1950 on the first
superspeedway built for NASCAR stock cars,
thousands jammed the Darlington facility and saw
Johnny Mantz in a Plymouth take the win. You just
cant treat legend and history the way
NASCAR has over the past few years in this
Darlington situation. It would be a major mistake
to remove Darlington from the schedule, and even
though the race was sold out with more than
60,000 fans on hand, insiders say that Darlington
is still one of the tracks that could get the
"ax" in the future.