Common Car Symptom Troubleshooting

At some point as a car owner you will have to deal with a car problem. This is inevitable, but the degree of the problem will vary. Often times, car problems do not appear out of the blue. Like a wall crack that shows a homeowner there is something wrong with the wall, your car gives you signs that specific parts are not working as they should, thus affecting your driving experience. Learning how to recognize these car trouble symptoms early greatly impacts your ability to catch the issue before it gets out of hand. As such, the following are some common areas you can check on your car when you feel that something is not right.

Brake Problems

If unchecked, brake problems can cause a lot more trouble than you may be in for, especially if the brakes act up while driving. To check if your brakes have any issues, step on the brake pedal and note how it responds to pressure from your foot. If the brake pedal feels a little too soft, spongy even, then you could have trouble with the brake lines. On the flip side, a very firm or slow moving brake pedal indicates problems with the master cylinder, which should be checked immediately.

Engine Trouble

When your car runs smoothly, you can tell. So when you hear strange noises coming from the engine when you start it or drive, you should know there is something wrong with the engine. High-pitched sounds that occur when your engine is shut off point to worn rubber gaskets and belts. These should be replaced immediately. A loud knocking sound is symptomatic of a loose part in the engine, which you should have a professional look at and fix. Basically, you know how your car sounds when it is working fine. If you hear sounds other than what you are used to, you should have someone check the engine.When your engine overheats, you will most likely notice it when the engine temperature gauge’s needle is in the red zone, indicating excessive heat. Other car models have a “Check Engine” light appear, or whatever sign the manufacturer intends to show overheating. That said, once you experience an engine overheat, the best thing is to let the car cool down. Constant overheating points to problems with the cooling system, the water pump, a faulty thermostat, or your oil level.If your engine starts but won’t run, you probably have a fuel problem. Ask yourself when you last filled the tank. Even if the fuel gauge isn’t in the “Empty” zone, this is not completely trustworthy. Or the fuel may not be getting to the engine, in which case you need the help of a professional mechanic. Sometimes, having too much fuel can cause the engine not to start. If you look under the hood and see gasoline on the engine parts, don’t try to start the car. Call for help immediately, as gasoline is very flammable.

Dead Battery

Many times car owners forget to turn off the lights after they turn the engine off, which results in a drained or dead battery. With most battery problems, the car will not ignite, making it important to turn off any electronic components in the car when they are not in use. In addition to doing this, regularly check the battery connection terminals. Corroded terminals impact charge distribution, thus posing issues when it comes to turning on the engine. Check the wiring too, and replace any frayed cables.

Strange Car Smells

Any time you come across unusual car smells, all signs point to trouble. The only smell you should have in your car is from the items you put in it (pizza boxes, air freshening sticks, and such). If you smell exhaust fumes while inside your car, a faulty exhaust pipe could be leaking the fumes up through the floorboards. The strong smell of burning rubber could point to a burning belt in the engine or burnt brake pads (and in manual transmission systems, a burnt clutch pad). Electrical short circuits also result in sharp smells, so check the car’s visible wiring for any signs of burning.

Your car is a valuable asset, and if you show it the love and care it deserves it should serve you well for a long time. Often times, taking care of it requires that you have a sort of sixth sense for trouble or issues, something you can only have if you know how to identify car trouble symptoms. Where you can perform the repairs or replacement yourself, go ahead and do it. However, when in doubt, let professionals handle it. An experienced mechanic is much better suited to handle certain car issues, and may even identify other problems of which you weren’t aware.