Most Common Auto Problems You Can Diagnose Yourself And How To Fix Them Yourself

Cars are due to face some problems in their line of duty. The problems can be mechanical or electrical. Some problems require the touch of a professional and some do not need you to be a professional in order to rectify them. Here are some of the top car problems and solutions that you can fix on your own:

Engine Light Is On

The engine light on is one of the many signal signs in your car that you don’t want to avoid. It’s actually one of the most common car problems and solutions you need to know. Oil is a very critical component of your car’s engine and without it your engine can knock and you will need a complete overhaul which is very expensive. When the oil light or indicator comes on, you need to pull over and shut the engine.

The indicator means that your engine has low or no oil, the oil pressure sensor is not functioning or you have a serious engine wear problem. Pop up the hood, locate the dipstick(refer to owner’s manual if you don’t know where it is located), wipe the dipstick with a rag or tissue and place it back again, make sure that the dipstick goes all the way down. Remove the dipstick and check the oil level. The dipstick has two marks, holes or notches on it, one reads FULL and the other reads ADD levels.

If the oil is below the add mark, promptly arrange on how you are going to top up your engine oil (find the specific oil for your car in your user manual or on the engine oil cap. Add enough oil till the oil reaches the full mark on the dipstick, do not exceed it.

After doing that, take your car to an auto shop to be checked for oil leaks or problems in oil consumption.

If the light is on and the oil level on the dipstick reads above the add mark, your car has a serious problem that needs professional work and diagnosis. Call a tow truck and have it take your car to an auto shop for a professional diagnosis.

Diagnose A Check Engine Light

This indicator/light can mean check engine, service the engine soon or reduced power output. When this light appears in your car, it only means that the car’s computer has detected a problem with the engine or the transmission of the car. After the engine has detected a problem, it goes ahead and stores the trouble code in its memory. Most of the time the light comes on due to a faulty sensor that you can replace yourself.

Before you come to the conclusion that it may be a faulty sensor, it is proper that you extract the trouble code from the computer. Many auto parts stores can do the reading for free. You can buy a scan tool/code reader and extract the code by yourself. The scan tool even costs less than the price if a single diagnostic.

When you extract the code, you can search the internet for advice on fixing the problem that is related to the code. An example of a trouble code is ‘P0171 Ford Focus’. When you google the code, it will bring various articles and YouTube videos that will give you a step by step process on how to rectify the problem. It’s

Fixing A Dim Headlight

Most people assume that a poor connection to the power source is likely to cause a dim headlight. Although it is a possible scenario, mist dim headlights are caused by corrosion of the ground connection. Check the electrical connector and clean the ground connection.

Remove the electrical connector that connects to the headlight. Do a visual inspection while looking for signs of melted plastic or corrosion. By chance you find that the connector is corroded, clean it using an electrical contact cleaner and a wire brush. If it happens to be melted, buy a new pigtail connector from an auto parts store.

Splice the pigtail connector into a wiring harness. Clean the headlight ground connection. The connector is located near the end of the circuit on the frame or fender. Remove the bolt, apply electric grease and connect it back. When you are done, go to the car and light up the headlights. The problem must be fixed, if not, you may need to consult the services of a professional and they will do a diagnostic. As one of the renowned car problems and solutions, you will be safe on the road.

Slow Moving Power Window

A sticky or slow power window can be very annoying. Sometimes the window can emit some squealing sounds that are not pleasant to the ears. The problem is usually easy to fix and does not need a lot of hassle. All you need to do is lubricate the channels. If you don’t fix the problem, the slow window will put immense pressure on the regulator mechanism making the whole system to break down. This is usually very expensive to replace.

Lubricating the mechanism, you will need an Teflon spray can for this. It comes out as a liquid when sprayed but evaporates to leave Teflon powder which is white and slippery. Shake the can well before use to mix the solvent and the powder, put the straw through the nozzle then aim it to the window channels. Now it’s time to press the trigger allowing the front and rear channels to soak properly until it runs down to the door. Wait a few minutes so that the solvent evaporates. Operate the window several times to spread the powder evenly.

Squealing Belt

A squealing belt has to be one of the most annoying problems a car can have. Happens when the belt wears out and it slips through the pulleys. It can happen if the belt is worn out, loose or has been contaminated with coolant or oil. You can do a diagnostic using a belt wear gauge, visual inspection and a spray water bottle. First thing to do is to check the wear using a belt wear gauge. If the belt is worn you need to replace it.

Next, you have to recreate the conditions in which the belt squeals (in the morning when the engine is cold, during acceleration). Start the engine and spray a stream of water on the ribbed side of the belt. If the squealing stops for some time and then starts again, the belt or the components are misaligned, take it to an auto shop since you can’t fix this problem. If the noise gets louder, then the belt has little tension meaning it is loose. If the car has an automatic belt tensioner, then you need to replace it. If the tensioner is manual, tighten the belt slightly and do a retest. Retest till you get desired results.

Car Doesn’t Start

If you turn the key and instead if the car starting you hear a click or rapid clicking, this can only mean the battery is weak or dead or the terminals are corroded. In order to fix the problem of a weak battery, the battery becomes weak when it is cold as heat is needed to maintain optimum operating conditions. Turn the key to start for 5 seconds leave it to rest for 5 minutes. Repeat this 6 more times. If it doesn’t work try the shoe trick. Remove your shoes and tap the battery terminals with the heel. If it starts you need to clean the terminals.

Poor Acceleration

A car computer uses the Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) to detect the mass, volume and temperature of the air going to the engine so that it can calculate the fuel needed to create a good ratio for combustion. If the MAF is dirty or is isn’t functioning then it can cause miscalculations leading to performance issues. If the MAF is cleaned the problems disappear as they came. To clean it you need to buy a MAF sensor cleaner. Remove the sensor from the air duct; aim the spray cleaner to the sensing components inside the housing. Soak the elements and make sure you do not touch them with your fingers, rag or a brush. Allow solvent to dry and reinstall.

Fix The Tire Pressure Warning Light

Driving with low pressure tires can be one of the most dangerous things to do on the road. It is very risky and dangerous. New vehicles have come with a tire pressure warning so as to alert the driver on the various tire pressure on the car. If you fill your tires to optimum pressure and the warning light is still on, you need to drive your car for at least 10 miles at varying speeds. Doing that will ensure the light goes off. If not check the spare tire pressure, spares require more pressure than the other tires.

Sticking Car Door

When it is hit, the sponge weather-stripping on the door can stick to the door frame and make it hard to open the door. Start by cleaning the weather-stripping residue off the door frame. Coat the sponge weather-stripping with Teflon lube silicone depending on your preferences. Spray the lubricant on a rag, wipe the weather-stripping and let the residue to dry.

Windshield Wiper Streaks

Windscreen wipers were made and fitted on cars to remove the water off the windscreen. If the wipers are streaking, they are either dirty or worn out. If they are dirty, you can take a few minutes by cleaning them. If they are worn out, buy new ones and replace them.

Clogged Windshield Washer Jet

If you activate the windshield washers and no fluid comes out of the jets or one jet doesn’t remove fluid then the jet must be clogged. Do not unclog your jet using a pin, it will not work effectively and it will clog up again. Pop up the hood and locate the tube that is connected to the problematic jet, disconnect by twisting it off. Shoot compressed air backwards; this will push off anything that was clogging the jet. Reconnect the tube and you are good to go.

Some works on your car don’t need the intervention of a professional, do it yourself and save up the money. However, now that you know these car problems and solutions, you will be safe on the road when anything happens.

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