What’s Wrong with My Car? Where Do I Begin to Diagnose?

Are you turning the keys on but engine isn’t starting? What to do now?

If you spend a moment just talking about the engine failure, it’s something no one expects. I mean, can you leave insurance out of this? Surely not. But, what if your engine brakes down unexpectedly? It’s something really nasty for you and remains really stressful until your car is back on the road again.

You can make the case that the problem came up with warning signs. What if you have neglected the warning signs already? There are a bunch of reasons drivers ignore the warning signs including negligence and limited knowledge about the problem they are encountering with.

You’ll be seeing a mechanic right after that, but before you do, a few moments of troubleshooting on your own will help you talk to your mechanic and chalk out an appropriate budget for the repairing cost. We have drawn up a list of common problems to look for before taking your car to mechanic. Give these problems a once over with a fine tooth comb and save yourself quite a lot. Let’s get into this:

Where to begin?

Well, that’s the point needing huge attention. In most cases, driver is completely unaware of what’s happening under the bonnet of the vehicle. But, when the problem arises, he’s likely to see a mechanic right after that. Having said that, just few moments of troubleshooting can be pretty fruitful before visiting the mechanic.

If you are driving on a choppy road and you feel something clomping inside the bonnet, you would have no idea where the problem is popping out from. Be that as it may, you will be taking your car to the garage straight away. Now, the mechanic will be the game changer. The way he be diagnosing the issue would get you the pay bill. But just spending a few minutes on the troubleshooting, you will be able to talk to the mechanic and it will be easier to understand what the actual problem is.

There’s a small number of drivers around UK who are capable of diagnosing the issues of their cars even without needing to see the owner’s manuals at all. But, what if you’re not in this list? Here are some things to watch out before going to mechanic and saving a handsome amount of money.

Diagnosing with the sense of smell

If you put your sense of smell to work, you can gather the basic information about what’s happening under the roof of your vehicle. I kid you not. Check out for these common indications.

Burning rubber like smell

If you feel a burning rubber or wood like smell, there might be two issues because of which the smell is popping out including the overheating brakes or smoking tyres. Both of them will smell like burning rubber and the faulty clutch will smell like the burning wood.

  • Exhaust smell: Exhaust smell comes out due to the leakage of Carbon Monoxide (CO) into the car.
  • Petrol smell: It is fuel system components leaking or failing evaporative emissions system elements or precision parts. Leaking fuel system components or damaged evaporative emissions give birth to petrol smell.
  • Burning oil smell: Leaking or burning oil smell from any hot component can cause a seal or gasket failure.
  • Sulphur like smell: Catalytic converter malfunction, or an overcharged battery pack or fuel system problem may cause sulphur like smell.
  • Sweet smell: Leaking your coolant from the coolant vessel can smell sweet.

Troubleshooting the common issues using your sensation of touch

You can diagnose some of the issues using your sense of touch as well. For this case, watch out these indications:

#1. If you find vents blocked and there’s no air at all, this might happen due to blown or bad fuse/fuse circuit, damaged or malfunctioned blower motor, malfunctioned or broken blower resistor and blocked or clogged air intake. With that, broken air hose can also be one of the reasons.

#2. When you notice brake pedal is jammed or really hard to push on, it’s probably due to malfunctioned brake booster. Brake booster malfunction makes an appearance due to the leakage of Brake Vacuum hose, malfunctioned brake booster valve that wouldn’t allow you to push the pedal.

#3. In most cases, wrapped brake rotors give rise to the brake pedal vibration but you can make the argument that lose lug nuts or smashed wheel bearings plus improper positioned wheel can be another cause as well.

#4. There may be several reasons for bouncy and uneven ride on the road. For this reason, you need to watch out the possible causes including damaged struts, malfunctioned shock absorbers and poor lubrication in the suspension system.

Troubleshooting using your ears

You need to lend your ears for some of the common issues and get an idea about the origin of the problem. Off you go!

If you are noticing engine backfiring, the possible reasons for this may include damp in the fuel system, leaking vacuum hoses, malfunctioned ignition or valve timing, defected air intake valve or disconnected air-to-fuel ratio and so on.

If there’s any clunking or cracking, you can declare broken CV joints, loose hubcaps, struts, driver belt or tensioner responsible for the loss. Added to that, these can cause worn tyres, low engine oil and dead battery as well.

Well, the possible reasons for clicking on the runs may comprise of CV boot torn off, damaged or dry CV joints, spoiled driveshaft, damaged tyres, worn wheel bearings etc.

If you notice grinding sound on applying breaks, it may be due to low quality pads, rusted brake rotors or foreign debris lodged in the braking system. With that, if you observe grinding upon shifting gears, you might be shifting the gear without an engaging clutch. Other reasons might be a worn clutch, cracked gear tooth or even a contaminated fluid.

In a nutshell

Outside of the above mentioned issues, if you notice something is leaking in the engine compartment and the warning light is ON, you need to contact the mechanic for the detailed inspection. This is the condition where you have no idea what to do with the warning light error codes. Taking your car to the garage and simply going for the detailed troubleshooting is something you must pin your hopes on in this case. Ask your mechanic why the warning light is ON in the instrument dash of your buggy. That’s probably the only option you have got. No ifs, ands, or buts.

There are many decoding tools which are easily available in the market. These tools can be connected directly to the on-board indicative port. This port is usually positioned underneath the steering wheel column. These tools enable the owner to know the reason what the warning light is indicating. Several code readers can spontaneously turn the warning light off without fixing the problem. However, those drivers who try to do the same thing without repairing the engine, they face even harsh issues in the future which can lead to a hefty spending in terms of recovery.

In case the warning light is on but not flashing after regular intervals, then the best way is to visit your nearest technician or service provider. There they will run a full diagnostic test. Majority of the drivers tend to ignore the problem associated with warning lights and do nothing to rectify it. They also fear that they might have to pay a hefty amount to overcome.

Stay connected for more tips like this to save yourself a handsome amount of money and a quality time of leisure.

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