If you don’t know the basics, car problems can be quite nerve-wracking. First, it can be hard to tell if there is a problem with your car, and if you do believe there’s an issue, you might not be able to put your finger on what exactly is troubling you. To top it all, it’s impossible to not be skeptical of mechanics and their suggestions!
Don’t get worked up just yet; we’ve listed here 5 common problems car owners face so you know what might be in store for you. Bonus: We also tell you how to deal with these car problems!
1. Starting Trouble
There could be various reasons for your car taking a long time to start or not starting at all. The most common reason is usually a dead battery- you can tell if this is the case by checking if the headlights turn on or not and if they are dim in case they do turn on. If your car cranks over but doesn’t start, there could be a problem with the spark plugs or fuel supply to the engine; if your car is silent, check the battery terminal cable connections.
Jump starting your car might work; if not, you might need to replace the battery. If the car is a new purchase, make sure it isn’t a lemon. If you have recently purchased the car and are having battery problems, the vehicle might qualify as a lemon. Fortunately, there are laws across the country that cover consumers for these issues. For example, in states like California, lemon law covers both new and used vehicles for these types of defects. In this case, good California lemon law attorneys would be able to hold the manufacturer accountable to fix the problem or replace the vehicle free of charge.
You can tell your car is overheating when the temperature gauge needle pushes into the red zone or if the ‘Check Engine’ light flashes on the dashboard. Note that the latter serves to indicate a wide range of issues too. In dire circumstances, you’ll see steam rolling out from under the hood or through the vents!
Cars can overheat on hot weather days, particularly in stop-and-go traffic or when climbing uphill. Usually, this can be avoided by turning off the air conditioning or allowing your car to cool off by the side of the road with the hood open.
If your car overheats often, you might need to add more coolant, check for leaks in the cooling system, replace the thermostat, steam clean the radiator, or adjust or replace the accessory belt.
3. Shaky Steering Wheel
Identifying the cause of a shaking steering wheel can be a time-consuming process, given that there are multiple components that can contribute to the same. To add to the misery, a number of components could be out of alignment or worn out at the same time, making it more difficult to rectify the issue.
The most common cause of a shaking or vibrating steering wheel is out of balance tires. You can identify this as the cause if your steering wheel vibrates only when you drive at highway speeds, and if the vibrations get worse as you accelerate.
Your steering wheel could also be shaky if the wheel bearings have lost lubricity. If this is the issue, replace the bearings soon or they could break, putting you in a dangerous situation. Lastly, check for worn out or loose suspension parts, which can cause alignment issues.
4. White Exhaust Smoke
Bear in mind that it may be okay to see white smoke coming out of the exhaust when first starting your car on cooler days. The white smoke is a result of condensation, and as it dissipates, you’ll find the exhaust smoke turns normal.
If you see white exhaust smoke even after you’ve let the car warm up for a sufficient amount of time, it’s possible that the coolant is leaking into the combustion chamber. The leak could be because of a faulty gasket or a cracked cylinder head. Don’t rule out damage to the coolant reservoir tank!
Oil leaking out of valve seals or piston rings can mix with the fuel in the combustion chamber to produce white or blue exhaust smoke. If this is the case, you’ll have to get the leak fixed quickly. A faulty engine control unit or a bad fuel pump injector can prevent the right amount of fuel from entering the combustion chamber, thus leading to white exhaust smoke.
5. Noisy Brakes
While noisy brakes can be annoying, noisy brakes may be an early warning sign of a more serious problem. A swishing noise in the mornings as the pads warm up to drive off accumulated moisture is fine. What’s not fine? Squealing, thumping, scraping, and grinding noises!
Grinding noises should be your wake-up call, these are usually caused by the brake pad material being worn out completely. Going on driving can prove to be very expensive or and dangerous, so get those pads replaced as soon as possible.
Other noises, for example, scraping and squealing is often an indication of a more serious underlying problem–essentially a symptom of a greater root cause. Before you run to the repair facility for a scraping sound, it’s possible that you’ve picked up a rock. Check where it’s stuck and dislodge it, to rule out a rock. Also, dirty brake systems can give rise to squeals. Ruling out brake dust and road contaminants which can get trapped within the drum may help to identify brake problems.
Now that you’ve read this post, we’re sure you’re feeling confident enough about tackling these common car problems. Don’t wait for disaster to strike though; be sure to give your investment the TLC it needs to keep your vehicle’s health right on track.