Tires and Wheels: Balancing Speed and Style

Troubleshooting Some Common Reasons for Needing Car Service

When your car isn't running as it should, sometimes a mechanic is the only person to be able to accurately diagnose the issue and how to fix it. However, you might be able to troubleshoot a few common problems on your own so you know what to expect by way of repair bills. You can also more accurately describe the issue to a mechanic so they know where to start looking for the problem. Note a few troubleshooting tips for common car problems and their cause.

1. Trouble starting, stalling

If your car struggles to start, the problem might be the battery as the car needs electricity to start running many of its components. If you know the battery is strong, the problem might then be the fuel pump. The fuel pump delivers fuel and maintains the fuel pressure so that the engine can run properly. If the fuel pump is failing, the engine may not be getting enough fuel to run or the pressure may be so low that it cannot create the combustion needed to operate. A failing fuel pump can also cause your vehicle to sputter and even stall when on the road, so be sure to note to your mechanic if your car runs roughly after you do manage to get it to start.

2. Pings or knocks

Engine pinging or knocking is usually caused by the fuel detonating in the engine; it's not being burned smoothly for energy but is actually exploding erratically. This type of burning is often caused by the engine overheating, as too much heat can make the fuel detonate. You might note your coolant and oil levels as these both help to control the heat of the engine. Low octane gas may also detonate more readily, so you might try running your car until the tank is virtually empty and then filling up with a high octane gas before you visit the mechanic to see if that fixes the problem.

3. Car slides during braking

If your car slides when you brake, this could be uneven tire wear; if one tire is worn down more than the others, it drags against the road more and may cause skidding. The brake pads may also be worn so that they aren't stopping one tire as they should, and the car will skid and slide in that direction. Check the brake pads and your tire tread pattern so you know which might need attention to keep your car from skidding.

For assistance, talk to a car service.