Mechanic How To: Diagnose a Short Circuit


When a circuit is short it can cause a fuse to blow and create an open circuit

When it comes to electrical diagnosis, accessing and understanding common open circuits is a necessary step to fixing problems yourself. With a little help from a high-quality DVOM, some basic understanding of diagrams and some diligence, one can effectively determine differences between open and short circuits to maintain and restore fuses and other systematic areas prone to short-circuiting.

Short circuits are annoying to diagnose, and they occur when an electrical current flows into the ground rather than throughout a load. Due to the path’s ground direction, it maintains significantly less resistance than a load. While electricity doesn’t always take such a route, it will with an increased current. When it does, a blown fuse is a typical result. Blown circuits often melt links, blow fuses and trip circuit breakers.

Diagnosing such a situation requires placing a circuit protection device with “short finders” capable of handling excessive currents flowing within a circuit. If you’re not in possession of one, wire a sealed-beam headlight electric bulb with two leads, and attach several male and spade terminals. When accessing materials for such an adventure, be sure to check out online resources like SWengines for additional information.

Understanding power distribution outlines may be difficult, and descriptions tend to differ with each diagram. It’s important to locate solid black dots, as they dictate a fuse upon a system’s circuit. Once the fuse is located, and once it’s been determined as a problem source, make a list. Then, disconnect one system at a time to slowly remedy the problem. Several wiring diagrams provide several system circuit lists pertaining to fuses, and some provide a diagram of actual wiring. If the latter is provided, be careful when making choices, and don’t accidentally miss a circuit connected to a fuse.

For more information on diagnosing a short circuit:


How to Make Your Car Audio Sound Amazing

Southwest Engines

Creating an amazing car audio experience doesn’t have to be overly complicated!

Getting the best sound in your car is a tough job, but it’s not as hard as installing a used engine or trying to re-align the alignment with no experience. In fact, getting the best possible tunes out of your car stereo is often a simple matter of making small but meaningful adjustments.

Put in a Good System, With Aftermarket Speakers

The first thing a dedicated audiophile needs to do is remove the cheap sound system that came with a car and put in something with more power and a smoother sound. A sound system is a lot like a tattoo; you get what you pay for. If you’re serious about good sound you don’t necessarily need the most expensive system out there, but do your homework and make sure that other users are pleased with the performance a given model has delivered.

Use Sound Deadening Material

Doors are, it turns out, terrible places to put speakers. All the noise from the road, the roaring of the engine, and the vibration can screw up the sound. Putting sound dampening material around a speaker can help shut out the outside world and let the music flow much more clearly. As with the speaker, don’t skimp on the material; if you buy cheap stuff, it won’t keep out as much white noise.

Add an Amplifier, and a Well Built Sub Box

Most car speakers that mean business have a subwoofer, but if the box isn’t keeping out air flow that can be a serious problem. Make sure that the sub has as close to an air tight box as possible, otherwise there can be interference that leeches out your sound quality. Additionally, don’t be afraid to add an amplifier into the mix. While it might not seem really necessary at first glance, there’s a huge difference between the sound one hears without an amp, and the sound one hears with an amp.

Don’t Let Your iPod Go From Digital to Analog

Most music lovers keep an iPod or similar device on hand to plug into their stereo. What you might not know is that there’s a digital-to-analog converter that changes the binary information into music signals. This isn’t really that much of an issue when you have headphones on, but it can leave the music in your car sounding off kilter and low quality. So use a USB plug if you can, and try to avoid this conversion process altogether. The end result will be a stronger, bolder sound with practically no additional cost or effort on your part.

When you need a new engine to go with your amazing car stereo, call us here at Southwest Engines for a quality used motor.


There is a New Car Sheriff in Town and Its Name is Bugatti

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The Veyron has 922 pounds-feet of torque of power (more bang for your buck)


Gentlemen, there is a new “car sheriff” in town and its name is Bugatti Veyron 16.4. This top quality vehicle holds its own when it comes to horsepower and speed. This beautiful car has 1,001 of horsepower and this car travels at a miraculous 252 m.p.h. The price tag is a little hefty and hits about 1.5 million and the Bugatti is the world’s most expensive new vehicle and this “boy toy” is worth every cent.

Some qualities of this beautiful sports car that you don’t get with others may be:


  • Shorter than a Porsche 911 but obtains more speed 
  • More carbon fibers and aluminum metal than normal cars so that it reduces the weight of the sports car 
  • This beautiful boy toy has a quad-turbo 8.0 liter W16 engine 
  • Has 1,001 horsepower 
  • This wonderful car has 922 pounds-feet of torque of power (more bang for your buck) 
  • Seven-speed automated manual gear-box 
  • Ferociously quick and reaches 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds flat


A French race car driver is where this Veyron car’s name is derived from. Monsieur car’s namesake arrived onto the world’s premise for their unique make and model year but the Bugatti’s gestation period was anything but smooth. Many car enthusiasts are well aware of this particular vehicle fact. Volkswagen bought the rights to the Bugatti and announced that this particular “boy toy” would be up for sale to the public in the year of 2003.

According to some of the Bugatti’s car owners, this sports vehicle is relatively easy to drive. Although not as engaging or visceral as other sports cars, this “boy toy” is still quite impressive and unique. The Bugatti car may coddle its accessories such as its leather upholstery and other special aluminum accessories and unique measurements. This sports toy has poor visibility due to it’s thick A-pillars but some of the newer models have increased this flaw over the years. Some of these “boy toys” can be bought used. So if you need a good, quality used engine, try SW Engines. With a good engine, the speed and horsepower that a person may crave for their pleasure and unique style may be achieved.


2014: A New Attitude For The New Year

Southwest Engines

Make 2014 a great year with these simple goals to focus on!

We at Southwest Engines owe a lot of our success to a good attitude. Optimism, trust and perseverance are perspectives rather than short term goals like many New Year’s resolutions. You can may need to practice these ideals more often than you want to admit but you will get more out of having them than you can imagine. Here are some simple ways to start.


Be Nice.

Maybe leave an extra large tip for a server or write a nice comment about a coworker. If a friend needs a loan or something from your toolbox, don’t hesitate to give. The happiest people are the ones who learn to enjoy giving and enjoy seeing happiness in others. It never hurts to have a few favors to call in either.


Be Honest.

Being truthful is a good personal and business philosophy. This does not mean simply not lying. It also means admitting the whole truth. Making excuses for bad choices will prevent you from learning from the experience. It makes life more complicated and stunts trust in others, if you cannot be honest with yourself.


Try Something New.

Find a new hobby or restart an old one. Join a dedicated group to help get more experience and make friends. New interests and new experiences give you many health benefits. These include lower blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight and may reverse or prevent brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.


Keep Things Simple.

A friend wanted to be organized. They bought bins, shelves and every self-help book on organizing. The clutter is still a running joke. No matter your goals or needs try to keep them simple. A good rule of thumb for simplicity: if you cannot explain it or justify it to a six year old, rethink your plans.


Move Forward.

Forgive and forget. Abandon regret, fear, anger, revenge and anything that you do not love about your current perspective. It is not helping you to hold onto these so don’t.


We hope these ideas help you in the next year to become even more happy and successful.  Happy New Year!


Quick Tips If You Have to Drive in Bad Weather

used engine

The best option is always to avoid going out in conditions when there is ice, snow, rain, or heavy fog

Have you ever opened your garage door to zoom out for work and been surprised at the weather?  Snow, wind, poor visibility not to mention the cold, can all make your commute seem dreadful.  Or perhaps you are already on the road and an unexpected storms sneaks up from nowhere and bam!  You can hardly see where you’re going.

At this point, it doesn’t matter if you’re driving a brand new vehicle or a vehicle that’s been outfitted with a quality used engine from our warehouse here at SW Engines.  What really matters is how you drive and what you do.

The best option is always to avoid going out in conditions when there is ice, snow, rain, or heavy fog.  However, sometimes that can’t be helped.  So here are some important tips to help you get to where you are going safely.


1. Drive Slow.  You need to increase your following distance with the cars in front of you.  If the road is wet or icy, it will take longer to come to a complete stop.  You might be late and feel stressed to get there but it’s most important to arrive safe and sound.

2. Have your headlights turned on.  You want to increase the ability for other drivers to see you.

3. Brake Slowly.  If you begin to hydroplane, take pressure off of the gas pedal and begin to brake slowly.  Do not turn or swerve your steering wheel.  If you react by turning or swerving, you could lose control of your vehicle and even flip over.

4. Follow Tracks.   If visibility is poor, follow the path of the vehicle that is in front of you.  The tires from their car will compact the snow down and help give a clearer path to drive.

5. Avoid Water on the road.  If you see standing or running water on the road, avoid it and look for a higher route.  Flash flooding can happen with no warning and well before any alerts can be given.

6. Pull Over.  Don’t be afraid to pull off the road If conditions are scary and you have a hard time even seeing in front of you.  Find a safe area to pull over, and then listen to the weather stations and see if you can wait it out.


With all the traveling this winter season and through the holidays, the folks here at Southwest Engines ask you to remember to buckle up, slow down and be safe.



2 Fast 2 Furious: The Pink Honda is a Legend


Unlike some of the other movie cars, the pink S2000 is actually engineered to deliver an enhanced on-road performance


The action-packed “2 Fast 2 Furious” is definitely one of the most exciting car movies ever. Car enthusiasts had the treat of watching their favorite high-performance machines in action. Although the film featured plenty of exhilarating rides, one of the most intriguing cars was definitely the customized pink Honda S2000. Even today, the head-turning sports car still draws stares of admiration.

At first glance, the pink Honda S2000 makes a bold statement with its specialized ground effects and artistic paint job. The unique shade of pink helps to differentiate this S2000 from any other tuner car roaming the street. Unlike some of the other movie cars, the pink S2000 is actually engineered to deliver an enhanced on-road performance. Although the internal components of the engine remain the same, the pink S2000 has been outfitted with a potent Paxton supercharger. The addition of the supercharger effectively boosts the power output from 240 horsepower to a massive 340 horsepower.

For car enthusiasts that are seeking to replicate the pink S2000, there are plenty of high-performance used engines available. Most Honda engines are interchangeable, so a more potent motor can be easily swapped into the S2000. Our engine database here at southwestengines has many Honda motors that can be modified. With the addition of a jazzy paint job and a customized set of wheels, you can transform your own S2000 into a vehicle that is worthy of a movie role.


America’s Favorite Tow Truck: Mater!


Friendly-looking cars tend to sell a great deal better. Who wouldn’t love to buy Mater’s used engine?

According to studies conducted by marketers people tend to buy cars that have a personality. Friendly-looking cars, by and large, tend to sell a great deal better. If there was a competition for the friendliest car though, then the all-time winner might be Mater, the beater with an engine of gold.
Big Screen, Little Screen

Tow Mater, later Sir Tow Mater, is a secondary character in the Pixar film “Cars”, but he later went on to star in “Cars 2″, as well as in a spin-off series “Cars Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales”. In the first role Mater is the slightly bumbling, hometown boy that the race car Lightning McQueen befriends, and in the sequels Mater takes on roles ranging from a secret agent to a giant slayer. A vehicle of varied talents, Mater has become something of a household name due to the success of both the first film and the subsequent runs on the “Cars” franchise.

What’s Under the Hood?

At first glance Mater looks like just another beat-up tow truck, albeit one with eyes and a trademark drawl provided by famous comedian Larry the Cable Guy. However, while it’s a little hard to pin down precisely where Mater came from, fans and car lovers alike have been hitting the books to try and trace the automobile’s ancestry. The results that people have found are pretty hodge-podge, but when they’re put together into a complete picture, it is Mater to the life.

The core of Mater comes from a Haulitail Hook’Em, though there is some argument among people as to whether the model is a 1951 or a 1957. However, neither model accounts for Mater’s most prominent feature, aside from his love of tractor tipping. That is namely the big arm on the back that supports the cars he tows. That arm and assembly belongs to Mater’s other parent, a 1951 International Harvester L-170. These vehicles were part boom truck and part Chevy 3800, with a healthy dose of one ton wrecker. Though he might be animated, the designers had to take inspiration from real autos in order to put together Mater’s precise look, from the way his chassis curves back to the discoloration of his side panels. Tracking down precisely which makes and models went into his look proved a bit of a challenge though, even for those who have a huge love of cars real and animated.



Ten Best Fall Foliage Road Trips of 2013

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Hudson Valley in New York                          (Pic by Dutchess County Tourism)

According to the, we’ve got ten pretty awesome road trips for 2013 showcasing some amazing autumn colors that you may want to consider taking before winter sets in.  Whether you’ve got a new car or your classic cruiser with its used engine, plan your date, pack  your gear and don’t forget your camera!  For maps and more pics, check the link above.

Hudson Valley, New York

If you crave sweeping vistas, meandering roads and lots of barns, this is the drive for you.  Stated as “some of the most beautiful land you’ll ever set your eyes on.” by Samantha brown of Travel Host.

Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

You can enjoy two foliage heritage tours in Maryland at the Deep Creek Lake and view some breathtaking scenes before you jount back to the visitors center.  This is a superb 90-minute loop

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Totally worth the drive before October ends is the Harper’s Ferry.  Bring the kids and catch the Jefferson Rock hike to enjoy the view looking over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Route 112, New Hampshire

If you want some incredible pictures, take Route 112 west past the small fanciful town of Woodstock on to the Beaver Pond at Kinsman Notch.  The little side roads to explore is the best part.

Route 7, Vermont

The height of the colors in the stretch of the valley north of Bennington, you will find many maples and birch trees to take your breath away. Best in mid October, so plan your trip soon!

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wisconsin

The designs of Frank Lloyd Wright are perfect in the Fall and actually quite mind-blowing when set against the developing foliage.

Twain’s Great River Road, Mississippi to Hannibal, MO

For those who love Tom Sawyer-like adventures, it isn’t hard to see where Twain found his inspiration when you drive down the Mississippi to Hannibal

Ricketts Glen State Park, Northeast Pennsylvania

When the birch and sugar maple trees begin to turn that dynamic orange, yellow, and red – that is the perfect time for a drive down Route 29 and Rout 487 through the Rickets Glen State Park.  You can see a total of 22 waterfalls and stunning trees over 200 years old.  Bring your camera for truly dazzling photos. 

Skyline Drive, Virginia

One of the best fall get-aways would be the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Natl Park.  You will fall in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the many overlooks for snapping pics. 

Lake Wallenpaupack, Northeast Pennsylvania

Cruise along Lake Wallenpaupack for some of earth’s most yummy eye-candy, and pause in Hawley for some lunch before you take the hour long scenic boat cruise around the lake for some of your best photos ever.  



Car Repairs: States With The Least and Most Expensive

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States vary in Expense to Repair and Maintain Your Car

Caution for all readers! You are hereby warned that the information released herein is FYEO (for your eyes only) and may contain some upsetting content; viewer discretion is advised. Any person who has driven a vehicle for any length of time knows the location of that “check engine” light. And if it turns the color of a city stop sign there may be a solid reason for a frown or even panic; especially if the light stays on and you’re someplace between Wickenburg, Arizona and Blythe, California.


About this time taking a “why me” stance won’t help matters, but your checkbook or credit card is going to take a “hit” plus you’ll be looking in the yellow pages for a used motors company. Even worse news is you read where automotive repair costs have bumped up about 10 percent over last year. Of course how deep your friendly, neighborhood used motors repair person will be reaching into your pocket will depend entirely on where you live.


But before we review most of the list of the most expensive states for car repairs, we’ll give you a few moments to get yourself a glass of water and two or three of those high-powered aspirin tablets just in case. Traditionally the West Coast is where car repairs cost an “arm and leg”, and California didn’t disappoint the CarMD folks; it registered at #3 on the list. The remaining top five were states along the Eastern Seaboard: New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia.


Most Expensive States for Car Repairs

#5 – Maryland

#4 – North Carolina

#3 – California

#2 – District of Columbia

#1 – New Jersey

According to a study of recent vehicle repairs it’s interesting to know that car repairs in the Northeast section of the country rose 11.6 percent in 2012 which was much faster than the rest of the USA. Yet while the state of New Jersey took the honors of being the most expensive place for repairs (average of nearly $400 per, including parts and labor), Washington, D.C. who racked up an overall repair cost of a whopping 20 percent took high honors leaving N.J. the Garden State, in the rearview mirror. Yikes!

So now that you know most of the Top 10 parts and labor repair states, the bottom five were Vermont, West Virginia, South Dakota, Delaware, Iowa, Michigan, and Wyoming. From a car repair parts and labor low of $269.72 in Vermont, to a $392.99 parts and labor high in New Jersey; make plans accordingly.


Saving Big Money in the Long Run with Repowering Engines

SW Engines, Used Engines

Save money by repowering your vehicle instead of always buying or leasing the newest model

According to consumer reports, if you are trading in your car every few years for the latest model, you may be losing thousands of dollars. If you consider the credit and housing markets right now being in a state of turmoil, you can easily understand why it has been recommended to repower your car engine as a means to greatly reduce your expense in the long run.

Keeping your car for over 15 years or 225,000 miles instead of buying the same car every new every so many years will save you more money than its original purchase cost says Consumer Reports. They go on to say that folks don’t realize the money that is lost by purchasing a new vehicle every few years. Especially given that today’s vehicles can easily last over the 200K mile mark. Making an investment into the replacing using an identical used engine, is more cost effective these days. Often the used engines are even better than the new original factory installed engines.

Full article:


What Does Your Teen Know About Car Maintenance?

Teaching your Teens; more than “gas and go” with your car

When the average teen gets a car all they know how to do is add gas and go. That’s why many of them burn up the engine or the clutch and end up standing on the side of the road or shopping for an inexpensive used engine. To be fair, it’s often not their fault. As parent, we don’t always think to take the time to show our young drivers the things they need to do to keep their cars in good running order. Driver’s education courses teach them about operating the car safely, but there is no organized system for teaching teens basic car care.

When you toss those keys to your new driver, it would be advised to also give him or her a few pointers about car maintenance. A check list, per se, that they can go through every time they gas up the car. Make it simple, yet stress the importance of going through the check list so they can avoid costly repairs and prolong the life of their car. Below is a sample list to go over with your teen driver.

1. How to check the oil levels and recognize any leaks. (Oil should be changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles).

2. Identify all fluids under the hood, how to check levels and know when to top off.

3. What to listen or feel for to know when it’s time for a tune up.

4. Tire pressure recommendations; how to use a tire gauge to check it and how to add air or take some out.

5. How to change a battery, charge it up or jump start it.

6. How often to have belts and hoses replaced.

7. What to do when the check engine light comes on.

8. How to read the dashboard temperature gauge and what to do if the car begins to run hot.

9. What to do if smoke or strange noises are coming from under the hood.

10. How to examine a tire, what to look for and how change a flat tire.

Driving their own car is an exciting experience for young drivers. However if they are not taught basic car maintenance they could be stuck on the side of the road with their hood up or looking for someplace with a good price on used engines to get their ride back on the road. As adults, we all love our young drivers and want them to be safe. Take the time today to ensure they know what to do to keep their car zooming safely around town.