Those who aren’t mechanically-inclined, sorting out car problems can be a daunting process. Good thing is that by simply being in touch with your instinct more while driving instead of listening to loud music or checking your phone, you may be able to identify some automotive issues.
Use Your Sense Of Smell
Do Not Ignore Odd Smells Inside Or Outside Your Car
Cars have a natural ‘car smell’ which car owners can all relate to. But there are some scents that you’d smell in a vehicle but should be given more attention to because they could mean danger. The next time you get a whiff of something odd in your car, don’t dismiss it right away! Stop, inspect the source, and take whatever action that needs to be done to fix it.
When You Catch A Scent Of Exhaust Fumes Stop Driving
If you smell exhaust gas in your car, stop driving and call a qualified mechanic to assess the issue before driving again. Exhaust gas contains carbon monoxide, which can cause loss of consciousness and even death if inhaled.
Smell Of Gas Or Oil Should Be Taken Seriously
Before anything else, turn off the engine before you check if there’s any leak. Then, you can proceed. If there is actually a leak, you will see oil on the pavement or smoke coming from the engine area. This smell can cause a driver or even passenger to panic because of the fact that fuel smell is a possible fire hazard. Don’t risk driving your car when you smell this and eliminate the smell as soon as you can, if you don’t know how to, call a car servicing right away.
Know How Coolant Smells
Sweet smell of syrup actually mean engine coolant is leaking from a component related to car’s cooling system. Just remember not to touch the radiator cap when it’s hot in attempt to check what’s wrong.
Check For Smell Of Sulfur
This is usually due to a poor running engine that leads to the catalytic converter not converting hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust to sulfur dioxide properly.
When you notice something like this, know that it’s probably the slipping drive belts or misplaced loose hoses that might be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulley. While it’s vital that you take care of this immediately, do not reach in if the engine is hot. Wait for it to cool down.
Check For Smell Of Mold Or Mildew
This smell often has something to do with the air circulation system. In this case, your cabin air filter might need to be changed or your AC or heating unit is having some problems.
Use Your Sense Of Touch
Inspect The Dashboard And Center Console Components
This one is very simple to do, just turn on signals, windshield wipers, AC controls and audio system controls to see if everything is working properly.
Check The AC Vents
When you put your hand in front of the air vent when the AC fan is on you should be able to feel the cold air blowing. If not, then this clearly means it’s not working.
Feel Your Steering Wheel
Vibrating or shaking steering wheel is often a sign of wheels or brake problem. But if the steering wheel doesn’t respond accordingly it may be the steering column or steering rack. You may also experience delayed engagement or difficulty in shifting. If you notice any of these, it’s time to pay your trusted car repair shop a visit.
Feel The Pedals
Once your pedals becomes mushy where one goes to the floor before you even engage the brake, that’s a big red flag! This could mean your pads are already worn out or your car’s hydraulic system is malfunctioning. However, if your brakes tend to grab immediately at the slightest touch it can still pose a problem. Possible reasons for these are uneven worn rotor, dirty brake fluid or contamination of the fluid by moisture. Either way, you shouldn’t take this for granted and take your car to the car repair shop right away.
Listen For Odd Sounds
Don’t Blast Your Car Stereo
This is the reason why you shouldn’t turn the music so loud while driving or better yet don’t listen to any and just focus on driving. Sometimes the only indication that there might be a problem with your brakes is some strange sounds.
Become Familiar With The Sounds In Your Car When It’s Operating Properly
While it’s important to be aware of odd sounds from your car, you should know how your car sound like when there’s no problem at all too. This way, as soon as you hear a different or unusual sound you know something’s amiss and you don’t hesitate thinking it’s just a normal car sound.
Take Note Strange Sounds You Hear From Car
It could be a high-pitched squeal which means you need to replace your pads or harsh grinding sound that indicates you’ve completely gone through your brake pads and the metal of the calipers is already grinding against the metal of your rotors. Do not delay car repair once you hear any of these sounds otherwise you’d be faced with a bigger damage and cost.
Look Out For Warning Signs
Smoke Coming From Under The Hood Is A Serious Sign Of Problem
Saying that eyes should always be on the road doesn’t necessarily mean on the road alone. This means being on the lookout for any visual signs of danger. If you see smoke, don’t think twice and pull up to the side of the road. But it would have been better to watch out for other signs before the problem get to this point.
Check The Dashboard For Warning Lights
There are a number of warning lights on the dashboard that can tell you when there is a problem. The main light to keep an eye out for is the Check Engine light. If you find that this light has illuminated on your dashboard, take your car to car servicing right away.