Common issues with cars to look out for
Cars are fantastic when they work – but they can be a real bugbear when they don’t. Some people are lucky in that they can spot a problem a mile off, but for most of us, we need to train ourselves to recognise when something isn’t right. We’ve put together the following list of common issues that cars suffer from.
Battery running out quickly
This isn’t one of the worst symptoms when it comes to ease of diagnosis or replacement, but it can of course be pricey and is a bit of a pain. Firstly you should check what voltage the battery is getting, a low voltage could mean that your alternator is dead. It could be that the battery connections need cleaning, or possibly replacing. If all of these fail, then the answer is simple – a new battery is needed!
Engine light coming on
Notice that red light on your dashboard? Clearly your engine has an issue, but it could be anything, so best get yourself to your local garage as quickly as possible. You could, otherwise, get caught cold on the hard shoulder.
It could be something really simple – such as the fuel cap isn’t screwed on properly, or it could be a number of more complicated issues: your catalytic convertor could have failed (you’ll probably have noticed you’re not getting much mileage from your petrol if this is the case), or your spark plugs – the things that seal the combustion chamber and allows for combustion in your engine – could need replacing.
If you want to understand the problem more yourself, you should be able to use the car manual to see what errors can cause the warning lights on the dashboard. This may help you when it comes to taking the car to the garage.
Gear box sticking
If you’re struggling to get your car into gear, there are a number of things that could have gone wrong. It could be as simple as low oil in the gearbox, or it could be that the linkage in the gearbox is too worn. Alternatively, the clutch could be dragging, or the gearbox itself could be broken in some way. As you can see, it’s not an easy diagnosis, but it’s another situation where you’re best off getting to a garage.
While a door rattling isn’t a mechanical issue that you need to worry about, it’s obviously a security issue. Check for obvious things that might be blocking the door’s natural path, but if there’s nothing obviously getting in the way then you’ll need to have the door re-aligned at your local garage.
If your engine is over heating then the first thing you need to take care of is your safety, and the safety of those in the car with you. Pull over, and having waited for the car to cool, lift the bonnet up. First thing is to check the coolant levels in the coolant reservoir, followed by the radiator – be careful when opening it and make sure the lid is cool before you do so and always use a rag, if there is steam coming out it can badly burn you. Having done these checks, restart the engine and watch the temperature gauge, but if it approaches the red then turn the engine off. Clearly, persistant over heating – when the coolant tank is full – is a big issue, and you’ll need to get it seen to.
Perhaps the most common of problems that people report and worry about is oil leaking, but unfortunately there could be a number of reasons why this is happening. It could be that your pistons are worn, or the gaskets, or that the oil coolant line is corroded or leaking. But there are lots more reasons why it could be happening – and you should see a mechanic as soon as possible.
As with any of these problems, if your car has one of these issues and you’re not confident in how to resolve the issue, see a mechanic. Money spent is better than harm caused! What’s the issue you see most often? Let us know in the comments.
published: 23/05/2013 20:00:00