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How to identify common vehicle problems by using your senses

How to identify common vehicle problems by using your senses. Seeing the ground around your vehicle, hearing for strange and different noises, sensing any differences in the way your vehicle operates, or even smelling any unusual odors. All these signs are of value when talking with your technician at Dewey’s Towing and Auto Repair.

Seeing Trouble

Drops of fluid under your vehicle, those small stains  may not mean much of anything,  but puddling or large wet spots need checking immediately.

Identifying these fluids by color and consistency.

A yellow-green, fluorescent orange or light blue colors are telltale signs of an engine overheating, an antifreeze leak caused by a bad hose,  a water pump or leaking radiator.

An oily Dark brown or black fluid means the engine is leaking oil. A bad gasket or bad seal may be causing the leak.

Oily red fluid suggests a power steering or transmission leak.

A puddle of clear watery fluid usually isn’t anything to worry about, it may simply be condensation from your vehicle’s AC.

Smelling Trouble

Some problems you can smell, sometimes you can pinpoint problems by their odor.

The smelling of burnt toast, a sharp odor is often signs of an electrical short and  you are smelling the burning insulation around the wires. It would be wise not to drive your vehicle until the problem is taken care of.

A continuous burning and rotten eggs smell usually mean a problem in your vehicle’s  catalytic converter or any other emission control devices. Don’t wait in getting this problem fixed.

The smell of a thick acrid pungent odor, usually it means burning oil. You would see signs of oil leaking along with that smell.

The strong  smell of gas after attempting to start your car may mean that you’ve flooded your engine. In that case, you would need to wait for a few minutes before you try it again. If the smell continues, there may be a leak in the fueling system,  potentially that could be a dangerous problem which would need immediate attention.

The smell of burning resin or a caustic chemical odor may be a sign your brakes or clutch is overheating. First, check to see if the parking brake is on. Then stop your vehicle,  Allowing your brakes to cool down. If you see some smoke coming from a wheel,  the brakes may be stuck. You should NOT drive the vehicle Dewey’s will tow and repair your vehicle’s problem.

A sweet smell indicates your vehicle has a  leak in the coolant.  If it also smells sweet and hot, with a metallic scent and steam is coming from under your hood, the engine is overheating. You need to stop the engine as soon as possible.  If you continue to drive your car it could severely damage the engine. Your car should be towed for repair.

Hearing Trouble

Rattles, rumbles, squeals, squeaks and all the other sounds provide valuable clues in determining if your vehicle needs to be serviced by a technician. What these common noises mean:

Squeals, shrills, and sharp noises, usually relate to the  engine speed. It may be a loose or worn fan, air conditioning or power steering belt.

Clicks, slight or sharp noises are either vehicle or engine speed. It could mean a stuck valve lifter or low engine oil, a loose wheel cover or a loose or bent fan blade.

Screeching, a high pitched piercing metallic sound, this sound usually happens while you are driving your vehicle. This would be the brake wear indicator letting you know it’s time for a maintenance.

Rumbling, in a low-pitched rhythmic sound, usually means a worn out universal joint, or a defective converter, exhaust pipe or muffler.

Pings, a high pitched metallic tapping sound, that would also be related to engine speed.  The ignition could be faulty or using a lower octane rated gas, your owner’s manual will tell you the right octane to use in your vehicle.

Heavy Knock, a rhythmic pounding sound, this could mean a loose transmission torque converter, worn connecting rod bearings or worn crankshaft.

Clunking, a random thumping sound could be a Loose exhaust pipe or muffler, loose shock absorber or other suspension components.

Sensing Trouble

Difficulty in handling, vibrations, poor performance and generally a rough ride, are all symptoms you can feel. And they pretty much always indicate there is a problem.

Steering, a worn steering component, the idler arm or ball joint can cause difficulty steering or wander.

Pulling, your car’s tendency to steer to the right or left, this can be caused by under-inflated tires, or is in need of a front end alignment.

Properly balanced tires, unbalanced tires  can cause a vehicle to vibrate and put  wear and tear on the steering and suspension prematurely. Call Dewey’s Towing and Auto Repair for ALL your auto repair needs.