Car Diagnostic Basics- What You Need to Know

Car Diagnostic Basics- What You Need to Know

Cars can come with several issues. If you get to know all the basics of diagnosing these problems, then you can get quicker ways to fix them. So, if you own a car, you should also know what causes these issues.  If you are not aware of it, you might might need a car repair at the end.

car repair

Look Around 

  • Warning lights: The Check Engine light which is the commonest one on your dashboard can be confusing as it can cover issues ranging extensively in severity.

Others such as the oil light, tire pressure light, or engine temperature light can be simpler to decipher. Irrespective of what lights up, never delay a diagnosis as it can lead to bigger issues. 

  • Tire check: Take a hard look at the tires for ensuring they are in good condition. Tires come with a tread that upturns grip while channeling water away from the contact patch. It also helps reduce chances of hydroplaning. 

To check the tire, stick a penny in the tread with head of Abraham Lincoln pointing towards the center of wheel. Above the tread, if you see the top of the head, the tires are damaged. Hence they require to be replaced. 

  • Fluid puddles: Fluid accumulation beneath the car can be a cause for concern. It doesn’t matter what the type of fluid is, it plays an important role in car’s performance. 

Whether its oil, coolant, steering fluid, or brake fluid, leakage should be fixed immediately. Keep an eye on drips while parking the car. 

Listen Up

  • Clunking or creaking: Worn-out suspension components can result in creaking or clunking noise. If a suspension shock or strut deteriorates, it clunks while force is placed on it. If you want the ball joints and bushings to stay lubricated and move smoothly, make sure to use grease. 
  • Squealing: It is heard when you turn a steering wheel. It happens due to either failing power steering pump or stretched out power steering belt. If you hear the squeal being high pitched, it means the brake pads are worn out. However, such pads some with wear indicator so you get to know the time for a new set. 
  • Banging: Backfires of engine occur when fuel ignites when it isn’t supposed to. This can lead to produce a banging or popping noise. Issues like dirty air filters, out-of-sync ignition timing, imbalanced fuel/air mixture, and worn-out spark plugs can cause backfire. 
  • Bubbling: The noise is heard when the air mixes with the fluid. The leakage in cooking system can be a reason. The system allows air into the radiator and upturns the chance of overheating resulting in such noise. 

Feel Out 

  • Vibrating or shaking: There can be several reasons of vibrations for which you need to inspect properly. First, check if your tires are out of balance. They can reduce handling and fuel economy as well as increase tire wear. 

Check if lug nut is loose or mounts are worn. If they are, then they cannot hold the transmission or engine tight against the frame that can cause vibration. 

Moreover, failing suspension or warped brake rotor can also be a reason of vibration. 

  • Leaning or pulling: It’s a matter of concern when your car pulls in a direction you do not wish it to go. The issue can be with the suspension, steering, tires, or wheels. It can be solved easily by inflating tires. But for that, you need to check air pressure first. 

Get a whiff

  • Mold or mildew: Start with feeling your floor mats or carpets for dampness. If they are wet, it can be the reason of a leakage that is allowing the water inside. A dirty air filter  or water buildup on air vent or evaporation can also be a reason of mold buildup. 
  • Smoke or burning: If you think the burning smell is coming when you are braking, then maybe you are braking too hard or long that’s triggering the brakes to get overheated. You can downshift some gears for slowing down the car without brakes to avoid it. Moreover, worn-out clutch in manual transmission car can also produce burning smell.  
  • Exhaust or fuel: A hole in exhaust system can let their telltale odors get into the cabin. If you smell such odor, it can be outright dangerous because vehicle exhaust is rich in carbon monoxide and this can result in unconsciousness or death once you inhale. Hence, make sure to drive with windows open to let fresh air circulate unless you fix it permanently. 

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