10 Common Auto Problems and Their Solutions

No matter the age of your car, it will inevitably experience issues over time. Being proactive about taking care of these problems early will save money while keeping it running in optimal condition.

Leaky radiators, dead batteries and shaking steering wheels are common problems that all drivers must contend with. Understanding these problems and their solutions will allow you to stop them from emerging in the first place.

1. Check Engine Light

Most issues that trigger the Check Engine Light have the potential to escalate quickly into more costly issues if left unaddressed, including decreasing fuel economy, damaging catalytic converters or impacting emissions.

When the yellow (or red or orange in some vehicles) indicator light lights up, it may seem alarming; but there are steps you can take to address it.

2. Tires

No matter the make or model of car you drive, issues may arise that require immediate repair. Being vigilant to catching problems early and getting them taken care of promptly saves both money and keeps your vehicle operating at peak condition.

Your car tires are like glorified balloons that keep you moving along the road, but one will inevitably go flat at some point.

3. Steering

Your car’s steering system is a complex network of rods, pivots and gears connected by rod ends and pivot points. Most modern cars use a rack-and-pinion framework when it comes to steering systems – when you turn your steering wheel a round gear known as the pinion interlocks with teeth on a linear gear bar known as the rack when turning your wheel.

Your car’s factory sets its caster angle when building your vehicle, creating wheels to slant at an angle known as caster.

4. Tire Pressure

Temperature changes can alter air’s properties and cause pressure changes, but an excessive decrease may indicate a slow leak. Underinflated tires will wear unevenly and make for poor handling and an uncomfortable ride.

Purchase an air gauge to regularly check tire pressure in your car’s doorjamb or owner’s manual, and use it to do a visual check of each tire’s pressure. The recommended PSI may be listed.

5. Oil Change

Change engine oil regularly as part of preventative maintenance to keep your car running efficiently. Your mechanic will drain out and replace the old oil with fresh, synthetic or high mileage motor oil based on manufacturer recommendations.

Scheduling regular oil changes is key to avoiding expensive issues down the line.

6. Battery

Your car’s battery is the lifeblood of its electrical system. It stores, charges and provides energy needed for starting the engine as well as powering components. Difficulty starting your engine or dim headlights could indicate that its time has come for replacement.

Squeaking noises emanating from beneath the hood are usually due to a serpentine belt, which can easily be replaced by loosening its bolts on the alternator.

7. Coolant

Coolant (commonly referred to as antifreeze) protects your engine from overheating by mixing 50-50 water and ethylene or propylene glycol, providing essential protection. Overheating can result in costly engine and vehicle damages that must be addressed quickly in order to save both.

Make sure your coolant level falls between the MAX and MIN lines on your overflow tank, then inspect radiator fan hoses for leaks. A flush and fill should help you avoid an overheating problem.

8. Brakes

Brakes are one of the most essential components in a car, being used at all times and subject to heavy use and abuse. Unfortunately, brakes can sometimes develop problems that put drivers in jeopardy on the road.

If your vehicle pulls to one side when applying brakes, this could be caused by a sticking caliper or rust in the wheel hub, or it could indicate that your front rotors have warped from overheating or have developed localized build-up of pad material.

9. Tires

Tires are circular rubber ovals designed to contact the road and control a vehicle. Tires contain several components to keep them running smoothly, including bead bundles (which secure them to the wheel rim), body plies, belts and an inner liner.

These components are assembled and pressed together during manufacturing to form tires for your car, before final vulcanisation gives them shape and strength.

10. Electrical

The majority of electrical problems stem from dead batteries and malfunctioning alternators. Jumping or replacing it is usually an easy solution. Testing both outputs with a multimeter can help identify any issues early. Preventive maintenance measures can also help avoid most electrical issues; simply calling your mechanic may also do wonders!

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