There is no denying the fact that owning a car can make your life incredibly convenient. Data shows that the average age of a car is 11.6 years or 200,000 miles. You can, however, extend the lifespan of your vehicle considerably by maintaining it properly.
In this article, we take a look at the 10 most common problems that you are likely to encounter from time to time as a car owner.
Uneven or Excessive Tire Wear
Your car’s tires are bound to wear down over time. However, excessive or uneven tire wear in a short span of time could be a sign of improper tire inflation or tire misalignment. So, get your tires inflated to the right PSI level and have them aligned properly.
Excessive Smoke from the Exhaust
A small amount of colorless smoke from your exhaust, especially during winter, is completely normal. Excessive smoke, on the other hand, means that there is something wrong with your engine. Depending on the color of the exhaust smoke, you can tell what is wrong with your engine.
- If the smoke coming out of your exhaust is white in color, it could be a sign of a coolant leak.
- If it is blue in color, oil could be leaking into the combustion chamber.
- If it is gray in color, it could be a sign of excessive oil consumption, a faulty turbocharger, a defective transmission vacuum modulator, a stuck PCV valve, or a problem with the transmission fluid.
- If it is black in color, the fuel return line, air filter, or the fuel injectors could be clogged, as a result of which your engine might be burning too much fuel.
Bumpy and Uncomfortable Rides
If your car bounces uncomfortably when you drive over a pothole or a speed bump, it could be a sign of faulty or worn-out shock absorbers.
If your car does the ‘cupid shuffle’ – drifting or pulling to the left or right even when you are trying to drive in a straight line – it could be a sign of over or under-inflated tires, improper wheel alignment, worn-out shock absorbers, or uneven application of pressure on your brakes due to stuck calipers.
Foul Smelling Air from the AC
If the air coming out of your car’s air conditioner smells really bad, it could be a sign of a faulty accumulator. While it is not a major problem, it can certainly make driving an unpleasant experience for you. So, it’s a salient idea to get your AC accumulator replaced right away.
If your car stalls while you are driving, it could be a sign of a faulty alternator, faulty fuel pump, clogged air filter, faulty spark plugs, or a dead battery. It is a serious problem which needs to be fixed as quickly as possible. Otherwise, your car might stall in the middle of the road while you are driving at high speed and cause a serious accident.
Shaky Steering Wheel
If your steering wheel vibrates or shakes while driving, it could be due to a problem with the brakes, tires, or the suspension. If the steering wheel starts shaking as soon as you start the car, it could be a problem with the suspension.
If it starts shaking when you are driving, it could be a problem with the tires. If it shakes when you apply the brakes, it could be a problem with the brake rotors or brake pads.
If your car does not go from 0 to 60 as fast as it used to or if it struggles to pick up speed even if you step on the gas pedal, it could be a sign of a clogged up fuel filter, worn-out timing belt, or a problem with the air flow meter. Other possibilities include a faulty oxygen sensor, faulty throttle position sensor, or a faulty manifold absolute pressure sensor.
Clicking Noise from the Engine
If you hear a clicking noise whenever you try to rev the engine, it could be due to low oil pressure or due to worn-out engine components.
If it takes longer than usual for your car to start, it could be due to a faulty starter. It is not a major problem and can be fixed easily. If you, however, ignore it, the starter might fail, at which point you will not be able to start your car at all.
Grinding Noise from the Brake Pedal
If you hear a grinding noise when you apply the brakes, it could be a sign of worn-out brake pads. Brake pads, like most other components in your car, tend to wear down over time due to constant friction. When they do, the metal in the pads comes directly into contact with the metal in the rotors. So, every time you apply the brakes, the metal components grind against each other, resulting in a grinding noise.
Worn-out brake pads can also make it harder for you to apply the brakes, especially when you are driving at high speed. So, you need to repair and, if needed, replace the calipers, pads, and rotors as quickly as possible.
Check Engine Light is On
If the check engine light on your dashboard lights up all of a sudden, it is an indication that there is something wrong with your car. The problem could be something as minor as a loose gas cap or as major as a misfiring engine.
If the check engine light remains steadily lit, it is generally a sign of a minor problem with your car. If, on the other hand, is starts flashing, it means that there is a major issue which needs to be fixed immediately. So, you should call an auto mechanic right away.
Periodic Maintenance is Vital
By servicing your car at regular intervals – preferably after every 5,000 miles – you can prevent most of the problems we have discussed in this post, and significantly extend your car’s lifespan.