During the fall of 1922, we published a series on the hidden expenses of car maintenance. At the time, personal automobiles were a fairly novel luxury, which meant that plenty of new car owners were unaware of the "invisible demons of waste." If readers understood how to take care of their cars, we argued, they could save half the costs wracked up by repairs at expensive garages.
The first article in this series dealt with engine troubles. What should you do when your car breaks down? While the process of flooding a carburetor or checking the circuits could sound intimidating, the answer was often more simple than you'd expect. Automobile expert Harold F. Blanchard recalled an incident where he helped a stalled motorist on a country road start his car again. After a few minutes of tinkering, Blanchard realized that the motorist's vehicle had been filled with kerosene instead of gasoline.
"Detecting the cause of a dead engine is as interesting as taking part in a detective story, if you follow a systematic procedure and use your eyes and head as you go," Blanchard said.
Read the full story in When Your Engine Dies