When you turn off the ignition and the engine sputters on, it’s called dieseling. High-octane gas may help; if not, look for a mechanical fault.
Check the engine idle speed, for which you’ll need a tachometer. If the idle speed is too high, a carburetor adjustment may cure dieseling. If the carburetor has a solenoid, its plunger may not be retracting when you turn off the ignition (have a helper look). If it is not retracting, replace the solenoid.
The idle may be too high because the throttle linkage is sticking. With the engine running, push the linkage. If the idle drops, the linkage apparently is sticking. Spray it with aerosol solvent to remove dirt.
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It’s natural to check oil levels under the hood, but if you have a rear-drive car, you should periodically check the oil level in the rear-axle differential, adding or changing the oil if necessary. Car manufacturers do not presently recommend routine differential oil changes, and many do not provide drain plugs. But they always provide filler holes (sealed by plugs) to add oil, a small amount of which may be lost from evaporation and seepage.
To check the differential oil level, jack up the car and support it on safety stands at all four wheels. This is necessary so that the car (and the oil in the differential) will be level.
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Household drive belts transfer power from a motor to a pump, fan, or drum. They typically wrap around pulleys but may wrap around a drum at one end. A correctly tensioned belt should deflect 1/2 to 3/4 inch midway between pulleys under thumb pressure.
Caution: Unplug or turn off an appliance before servicing its drive belt.
A cracked belt or one that can’t be properly tensioned must be replaced. Loosen the belt-tensioning device. If the motor bolts go through slotted holes, loosen them and push the motor toward the pulley it drives.
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