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Not Again! Five Common Car Problems And What You Can Do About Them

Tuesday, August 02, 2016


There’s nothing worse than unexpected car troubles causing you stress and delays. Here are five common problems people have with their cars and the possible causes and solutions so you know what to do if you notice any of them with your car.


HAVE YOU CHECKED THE BATTERY LATELY?

More often than not, roadside assistance is called when there is a flat or faulty battery. Usually caused by taking short journeys leading to a flat battery, a lot of car owners don’t have readily available set of jump leads and another car nearby to get the car battery recharged. There are other reasons for a car battery failing including:

  • Your alternator may not be working properly and therefore is not charging the battery. If this is the case it is best to get the alternator checked by a respected mechanic.
  • There may be a bad cell in battery can happen for new and used batteries – Includes new and used car batteries
  • You may have left the lights or the CD player on overnight.
  • The battery terminals are corroded and are stopping the battery from charging
  • The battery simply has gone past its expiration date and needs replacing due to old age

If you agree that prevention is better than cure, it is a good thing to take your car on a longer route every week and to purchase a car battery recharger so that the next time you have a flat battery, you can avoid paying money for roadside assistance. It is also worth checking your battery every month so you can be confident before travelling on the road. You should also be aware that if a car is not driven over an extend period of time (usually over a month) the battery will become fully discharged and cease to work. For some car vehicles like BMWs and Mercedes a battery can die in just two weeks. If you know that you will not be driving your vehicle for a long time, you have the option of connecting a maintenance charger to ensure your battery stays in good condition.


PETROL PROBLEMS?

Sometimes fuel gauges can be deceptive and your car may be actually out of fuel even though it shows that you have some left in the tank. Or maybe you have fuel, it’s just not getting to the engine. Issues with the fuel pump or fuel injectors will require assistance from a professional to troubleshoot it and shouldn’t be something you wait to get checked out. Sometimes if there is too much fuel, or not enough air in the combustion chamber the engine will fail to start. A failure in the air to fuel ratio can be the result of either contaminated fuel (such as with water) or a lean mixture (not enough fuel or too much air) or a rich mixture (too much fuel or not enough air).


When you detect problems with a fuel system it’s best to get your car serviced by a reliable car professional so that they can resolve a defective fuel pump or filter, a clogged fuel injector, a vacuum leak or leaking fuel line to name some of many possible causes.


NOT A FLAT TYRE!

Such an easy thing to happen and yet so painful, a flat tyre can be a great inconvenience. To help prevent a flat tyre from occurring it’s good to get into the habit of weekly checking the tread wear to ensure they are wearing evenly and that the tyre tread is not too thin. Low tyre pressure is often a common culprit and can easily be prevented by keeping your tyres inflated at the right pressure. The right pressure for tyres differ depending on the vehicle type so it is always best to check the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions. This advice also applies to your spare tyre too (make sure you have one!) so that it has the required air pressure and has no defects so you can use it if necessary.


Tyres can also get damaged on the road- by hitting something or running over materials that are sharp. If you can, avoid driving near construction sites where there is greater chance of sharp objects like nails, glass and screws on the road.


A HIDDEN ELECTRICAL FAULT

While not a common cause for a car breaking down, an electrical fault is still a possibility for a car failing to run. It can be helpful to have a basic understanding of how electricity works in your car, however unlike other components of your vehicle, understanding your car’s electrical system is not straightforward for most- although it can be interesting delving into the inner workings of transistors, resistors and diodes. The easiest way to prevent an electrical fault from happening is to ensure that you have your car regularly serviced and when there are signs like an intermittent fault- don’t delay and see a local mechanic or auto electrician to get down to the root cause.


ENGINE OVERHEATING

Similarly diagnosing an engine that is overheated can be difficult and resolving it can be challenging if you are not confident with your vehicle’s mechanics.


Anything that reduces the cooling system’s ability to absorb, transport and dissipate heat such as a coolant leak, a low coolant level, a stuck thermostat, a faulty water pump, a clogged radiator or a broken electric cooling fan can cause the engine to overheat. An overheated engine can have adverse effects on the functionality of other components of your car like the pistons, cylinders, head gasket and thermostat which can significantly increase the cost of repairs. Once diagnosed, or even if there is a hint of engine overheating you should take your car to a trusted mechanic to fix your vehicle as soon as practical.


Don’t forget that we offer a free inspection and report so you know upfront where the issues lie with your car and can discuss them with us to organise repairs according to order of necessity. Get in touch today to organise yours.