Cars are wonderful tools that help us get from one point to another. However, they also have some common problems, especially as they age. Fortunately, these common car problems are easy to diagnose and many times are easy to fix. Some of them you can even fix on your own!
Common Car Problems
Some of the common car problems people see are based on simple wear-and-tear. There’s only so much you can do to avoid them. Some of these common car problems are:
- Tire Wear. Keeping your tires properly inflated will extend the life of your tires, but they will eventually wear down and need to be replaced.
- Oil Change. The act of driving your car involves oil to keep things going smoothly. Over time that oil will become dirty and be used up. Keeping your oil changed regularly is vital to good car operation.
- Air Filter Replacement. Driving requires air to be filtered into your engine, and that air has to be clean for maximum efficiency. Eventually, your air filter will get dirty and need to be replaced. It’s common to replace the air filter when you get your oil changed.
- Headlights and Taillights. While bulbs in vehicle lights are designed to last a long time, they do burn out. They can also get damaged if the plastic casing is broken in an accident. You’ll need to replace your light bulbs.
Other car problems are more serious and require more advanced work. Many times, this means taking the car to a shop. Here are some examples:
- Check Engine Light is On. When the check engine light is on, there could be any number of things wrong. Most cars have many computerized parts, and the check engine light is a catch-all warning that something is wrong. A mechanic can run a test to see what’s wrong and get things back in order for
- Spark Plugs. While this used to be a DIY kind of repair, many cars today have the spark plugs lower in the engine. This means that you have to have a variety of tools and a lot of time on your hands just to get down to where the spark plugs are. If that’s the case for your vehicle, it’s probably better to have a professional do the work.
- Battery Replacement. Sometimes when your battery dies, you just need a jump-start. However, other times you need to have the battery replaced. This is best done by a mechanic, where they can safely remove the old battery, install a new one, and dispose of the old battery appropriately. They can’t just be put in the trash!
How Do I Know There’s a Problem with My Car?
Your car will tell you when something is wrong if you pay attention. Newer cars have a lot of alert lights built into the dashboard. Beyond the check engine light, there is sometimes a notification if the car is low on fuel, has low tire pressure, or needs an oil change.
If you don’t have a lot of notification lights, you can simply notice if something seems wrong with the car. Is it shaking? Is there a thumping noise? Do you hear grinding or squealing in the engine? If so, your vehicle may have something wrong that needs to be addressed.
DIY vs. Professional Fixes
Everyone likes to save money, so how do you know what common car problems you can handle, and which ones need a professional mechanic? There are quite a few fixes you can do on your own with very little experience. Others need a more advanced knowledge of cars and some special tools. Still, others should be left to the professionals.
Possible DIY Fixes:
- Headlight and taillight bulbs can generally be replaced easily by anyone with a few basic tools.
- Dead battery jumps can be performed easily without any special equipment.
- Replacing a side-view mirror can easily be done with a screwdriver and a bit of time.
- If you’re a bit more advanced, you may be able to change your oil and air filter.
- If you have a good eye and carefully make a diagram, you may be able to change some of the belts in your vehicle.
- Brakes are so vital to the proper functioning of a car that you shouldn’t replace them on your own unless you know what you’re doing. A mistake with the brakes can be disastrous.
- Replacing a leaky radiator requires a lot of special tools and a good understanding of how an engine is assembled, and is best left to professionals.
- Replacing or working with any computerized parts of the car is best left to professionals who have the proper training and tools to do it right.
- Battery replacement is best handled professionally unless you have the needed tools and a safe way to dispose of the old battery.
- Replacing anything you can’t safely get to, from spark plugs, to fuel injectors, to oxygen sensors, should be handled by a mechanic.
For more information about handling common car problems, or to schedule an appointment to have your car tuned up, contact us today at (602) 224-0941!