If there is one thing nobody likes, it’s problems with their car. Whether you’re on your way to work or school, or simply looking forward to a night out with your significant other, having car problems can ruin a day or evening. Because of this, it’s important to learn how to tell if your vehicle is feeling under the weather. While it may seem like a very complex process that always requires lots of mechanical knowledge, the truth is by learning some very simple techniques, you too can have a good idea when there is something amiss with your car.
Keep the Owner’s Manual Handy
Most cars come with an owner’s manual, and for good reason. Whether you have an older car that has an actual manual you can hold in your hand, or you own a new vehicle where the manual can be accessed online, it’s important to know how to gain access to your owner’s manual at all times. Full of important information about every aspect of your vehicle, they often contain troubleshooting sections that can prove to be very helpful. If you need more information about the importance of your owner’s manual, visit here.
Look for Fluid Leaks
If you notice any types of puddles that have formed underneath your car, chances are you have some fluid leaking somewhere. If you do have any fluid leaking, place an old cookie sheet or piece of white paper under the car where the leak is occurring for a few hours, then come back and check the color of the fluid. If it’s a bright green color, chances are you have a leak coming from your radiator. However, if the fluid is red, it could be automatic transmission fluid. No matter what color the fluid, if you notice a leak make a trip to your mechanic as soon as possible.
Listen for Strange Noises
When you’re driving around town running errands or cruising down the highway toward a vacation destination, make sure you take note of any strange noises coming from your vehicle. Along with listening for any noises once you’re on the road, it’s especially important to listen for any unusual noises when you first start your vehicle. By doing so, you may discover a problem before you get on the road, saving you the stress of a breakdown in the middle of a busy intersection or highway. For example, if you hear grinding sounds when you start your vehicle, you could be developing a problem with your starter. Or when you press the gas pedal and hear a very loud and sudden roar, it’s likely you have a problem with your exhaust system. In any event, strange noises that sound like grinding, squeaking, or roaring can mean transmission, engine, brake, or other problems, so it’s best to get them checked out as soon as possible. Additional information about these and other noises can be found here.
Take Note of Vibrations
While the Beach Boys may have made it sound as if vibrations were good, that’s not the case if you notice vibrations in your vehicle. If that happens, it’s a sure bet they are not good vibrations, but instead bad ones. For example, many drivers will notice their steering wheel will start to vibrate when the vehicle reaches certain higher speeds. When this happens, it probably indicates the vehicle’s wheels need to be balanced. However, if you notice your car rocking a bit back and forth when you come to a stop, you probably need new shocks or struts. And if you hear any new rattles or shakes coming from any part of your vehicle, have it checked out by a mechanic.
Whether you’re driving a used car with some age on it or have just driven a new vehicle off the owner’s lot, always make sure you are aware of anything that doesn’t look, feel, or sound right with your vehicle. Whether it’s strange sounds coming from under the hood or vibrations in the steering wheel, it’s crucial to have these problems looked at and corrected as quickly as possible, since your safety behind the wheel could be at stake.