A car is like a mechanical pet; feed it good and it will live long, neglect it and it will act sick. It is quite normal that you forget to look out for or fail to spot faults that your car may be developing, especially due to hectic schedules. The story changes when you know exactly what to look out for, and how to combat them. This article will show you ten of the most common car problems and how to get them fixed before they become a bigger issue.
The battery is one of the most important car parts to look out for. From simple things like leaving your radio or headlights on when your car is not in use to scenarios like weather changes, having a bad alternator, and - the one brought about by COVID-19 - leaving your car unused for a long time, your batteries can run low and your car will fail to start.
- Jump-start your car by connecting the terminals of a jumper cable to the drained car battery and a working car battery. Start the car with the drained battery while the cables are connected.
- Have the battery removed and given to a mechanic for recharging. In some cases, you can purchase battery chargers that will work with the battery installed in the car.
- A long-term solution is to buy a new car battery, especially if your battery dies easily.
Pay good attention to your car’s temperature gauge while driving, especially if the weather is very hot or cold. If the car’s thermostat goes red, that is a clear indication of your car overheating. Your car engine is designed to operate within a certain temperature range, so it must be regulated at the car’s cooling system.
- Check your engine coolant and top it off if it's low. Auto parts stores generally carry a range of different coolants; make sure you use the right kind for your vehicle to avoid mixing coolant types. NOTE: NEVER ATTEMPT TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE COOLING SYSTEM IF THE VEHICLE IS HOT!
- Service your car regularly to prevent future overheating.
Brake Noises and Loss in Power
Car brakes can squeak, grind, thump, or make other sounds. These noises always warn of possible danger. A grinding brake sound that sounds like you hit an edge is a particularly bad sign. It means the brake pad has been completely worn out and you must stop driving your car immediately. To be on the safe side, any brake sounds should not be neglected.
- Brake fluids can and will lose effectiveness. Make sure to have it replaced every few years.
- Take your car to a professional mechanic when you notice any loss in braking power.
A flat tire, if not noticed quickly, can cause damage to your tire and the wheel. That said, you most certainly will notice a flat tire almost right after it happens. Tires may get punctured by sharp objects, suffer damage while driving over rough terrain, or from wear and tear.
- Have a spare tire in case of any emergency.
- Never use worn-out tires on your vehicle.
The engine is the heart of your car. It can become damaged from low engine oil levels, bad or dirty spark plugs, or frequent overheating.
- Change the engine oil frequently, keeping in mind the manufacturer's recommended schedule.
- Avoid engine overheating at all costs.
- Take your car for regular servicing beyond simple oil changes.
Consumption of Excess Engine Oil
While it is good to feed your car with fresh oil regularly, too much of everything is never good. And if your car is using up engine oil quickly, it is usually a bad sign. There may be oil leaks out of the engine, which can be seen and smelled. If you don't notice any obvious leaks, the oil could be leaking into another component in your engine.
- Only the best quality oil should be used for your car engine.
- Your car should be checked by a mechanic for engine troubleshooting.
Car Exhaust Smoke
The health of your car can be known easily by watching the exhaust smoke. Your car should not smoke at all, indicating a healthy car with healthy combustion. There are different colors of exhaust smoke:
Black Exhaust Smoke
This indicates that excessive fuel is being burnt in the combustion chamber.
White/Grey Exhaust Smoke
This is difficult to diagnose without having it checked. When it's cold out, a small amount of white smoke (especially before the engine is fully warmed up) is nothing to worry about. But thick white smoke that won't go away may indicate a leaking gasket or may indicate more serious problems.
This may indicate oil leakage into the combustion chamber, causing the oil to burn with the fuel.
No color of exhaust smoke should be neglected.
- Your car should be inspected regularly by a professional mechanic.
A radiator leak is mostly caused by corrosion of the radiator and it is necessary to take action as soon as a leak occurs. A leaking radiator will reduce your car’s cooling efficiency and increase the chances of it overheating.
- Use a liquid radiator sealant product in the case of a leak.
- Replace the coolant as part of regular maitnenance.
- If the problem persists, replace the whole car radiator as well as the hoses.
Buzzing Car Alarm
Your car alarm goes off with no evident trigger. This is a common problem that results from having a discharged battery, faulty car door, or car keys. This can be annoying, especially if it happens at night while you're trying to get some rest.
- Take your car battery for testing.
- Do a proper professional installation of your car alarm systems.
- If you have a faulty door lock, fix it as soon as possible.
If you smell fuel in or around your car periodically, you may be having fuel leaks. A fuel leak should be treated with utmost importance as the very flammable vapor can lead to a fire or unintended explosion.
- The fuel cap may be broken so it should be checked and replaced if needed. This will typically cause the check engine light to come on.
- The fuel pump might also need to be replaced.
- Your car should be taken to a mechanic to know the exact cause of the fuel leak.
As a car owner, car issues will always arise. It may be as little as your car paint fading away, or as serious as your car engine getting damaged. No matter the issue, it is imperative you know how to solve them. You might consider preparing for inevitable issues by stocking up on equiptment, such as a floor jack, code reader, or battery charger. Be observant of your vehicle so that you can detect even the slightest warning sign. This practice will save you from future expenses and ensure your car lasts for a long time.