Use your Four Senses

Published in Blog Monday, 04 November 2013 15:51

How discover developing car problems early

Better knowledge about your vehicle, enables you to recognize and handle  repair problems for your car. Allot of common car problems can be discovered by using four of your five senses:

SightObserve the area around and under your vehicle.
HearingListen for strange noises.
TouchDifference in your cars driving behaviors.
SmellNoticing unusual odors.

Looks Like Trouble

Small stains or an occasional drop of fluid under your vehicle may not mean much. But wet spots deserve attention; puddles need to be checked out immediately.

Smells Like Trouble

Some problems can be discovered with your nose. You can detect them how they smell:

Sounds Like Trouble

Noises like rattles, rumbles, squeaks, squeals, clicking and other sounds provide important clues about car problems and maintenance needs.

Feels Like Trouble

Indications you can feel are difficult handling of your vehicle, vibration, tough steering, a rough ride, vibration and poor performance. They sure indicators for a problem.

Looks Like Trouble

Small stains or an occasional drop of fluid under your vehicle may not mean much. But wet spots deserve attention; puddles need to be checked out immediately.

You can differentiate fluids by their color and consistency:

  • Yellowish green, light blue or shimmering orange colors indicate an overheated engine or an antifreeze leak caused by water pump, a punctured hose, or leaking radiator.

  • A dark brown or black oily fluid means the engine is leaking oil. A bad seal or gasket could cause the leak.

  • A red oily spot indicates a transmission or power-steering fluid leak.

  • A puddle of clear water usually is no problem. It is condensation water from your vehicle's air conditioning system.

Smells Like Trouble

Some problems can be discovered with your nose. You can detect them how they smell:

  • The smell of burned toast — a light, sharp odor — often signals burning insulation and an electrical short. For your safety, don't try to drive the vehicle until the problem is diagnosed.

  • The smell of rotten eggs — a continuous burning-sulphur smell — usually indicates a problem with emission control devices i.e. catalytic converter. You must come in for diagnosis and repair.

  • A thick acrid scent usually means burning oil. Look for oil on your engine or spots under your car.

  • The smell of gasoline vapors after a failed start may mean you have flooded the engine. You have to wait a few minutes and try again. If the odor persists, there is a good chance that there's a leak in the fuel system — this is a dangerous problem and needs immediate attention.

  • Burning resin or an acrid chemical odor may be a sign of overheated brakes or clutch. Check the parking brake. Stop the car. Allow the brakes to cool after repeated hard braking on mountain roads. Light smoke coming from a wheel indicates a stuck brake. Tow the vehicle for repair.

  • A sweet, steamy odor indicates a coolant leak. Look at your temperature gauge or warning light. If they doesn't indicate overheating, … drive carefully to the nearest service station. Keep an eye on your gauges. If the smell is accompanied by a hot, metallic scent and steam from under the hood, your engine has overheated. Pull over immediately. When you continue to drive you can have severe engine damage. Tow you car for repair.

Sounds Like Trouble

Noises like rattles, rumbles, squeaks, squeals, clicking and other sounds provide important clues about car problems and maintenance needs.

Here is a list of common noises and what they mean:

Squeal — A shrill, sharp noise, usually related to engine speed:

  • Loose or worn power steering, fan or air conditioning belt.

Click — A slight sharp noise, related to either engine speed or vehicle speed:

  • Stuck valve lifter or low engine oil.

  • Loose wheel cover.

  • Loose or bent fan blade.

Screech — A high-pitched, piercing metallic sound. Happening usually while the vehicle is in motion:

  • Caused by brake wear indicators to let you know it's time for maintenance.

Rumble — a deep rhythmic sound.

  • Defective exhaust pipe, converter or muffler.

  • Worn universal joint or other drive-line component.

Ping — A shrill metallic tapping sound, changing with engine speed:

  • Usually caused by using gas with a lower octane rating than recommended. Check your owner's manual for the proper octane rating. If the problem persists, engine ignition timing could be at fault.

Heavy Knock — A rhythmic pounding sound:

  • Worn crankshaft or connecting rod bearings.

  • Loose transmission torque converter.

Clunk — A random thumping sound:

  • Loose shock absorber or other suspension component.

  • Loose exhaust pipe or muffler.

Feels Like Trouble

Indications you can feel are difficult handling of your vehicle, vibration, tough steering, a rough ride, vibration and poor performance. They sure indicators for a problem.

Steering

  • Misaligned front wheels and/or worn steering components, like the idler or ball joint, can cause wandering or difficulty steering in a straight line.

  • Pulling — the vehicle's tendency to steer to the left or right — can be caused by something as routine as under-inflated tires, or as serious as a damaged or misaligned front end.

Ride and Handling

  • Worn shock absorbers or other suspension components — or improper tire inflation — can contribute to poor cornering.

  • While there is no rule of thumb about when to replace shock absorbers or struts, try this test: bounce the vehicle up and down hard at each wheel and then let go. See how many times the vehicle bounces. Weak shocks will allow the vehicle to bounce twice or more. If you not sure see us to get free expert advise.

  • Springs do not normally wear out and do not need replacement unless one corner of the vehicle is lower than the others. You can damage your springs by overloading your vehicle.

  • Balance tires properly. An unbalanced or improperly balanced tire causes a vehicle to vibrate. This can wear out steering and suspension components before its time.

Brakes

Brake problems can have several symptoms. You should come in for diagnosis and repair if:

  • The vehicle pulls to one side when the brakes are applied.

  • The brake pedal sinks to the floor when pressure is maintained.

  • You feel or hear scraping or grinding during braking.

  • The "brake" light on the instrument panel is lit.

Engine

Engine trouble indicates the following way. Get a diagnosis and schedule the repair.

  • Difficulty starting the engine.

  • The "check engine" light on the instrument panel is on.

  • Rough idling or engine stalling.

  • Week acceleration.

  • Higher fuel usage.

  • Excessive oil use (more than one quart between changes).

  • Engine continues running after shoot down and the key is removed.

Transmission

Poor transmission performance may come from a simple disconnected hose or plugged filter or worst case scenario an actual component failure.

Make sure the technician checks the simple items first. To repair your transmission is normally expensive. Some of the most common indications of transmission problems are:

  • Hard or abrupt shifts between gears.

  • No response or delayed or when shifting from neutral to drive or reverse.

  • Failure to shift during normal acceleration.

  • Slippage during acceleration. The engine speeds up, but the vehicle does not respond.

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