Sooner or later, all car owners have to deal with problems with their vehicle and bring them to the shop for car diagnostics services. They may have the fanciest car brand or type, but car problems can happen to anyone. Some car problems are even more common than others. Thankfully, many of these common car problems can be prevented. Let’s take a look at some of these car problems and the things you can do to prevent them.
1. Battery problems
If your car doesn’t start, it’s possible that you are having problems with your battery. It could be faulty connectors, or it’s drained of power, or it could just be old. Car batteries, after all, are expected to last about five years.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent car battery problems. You need to keep it cool since heat drains it out, so if you can park in a cool or shaded spot, the better. If your car has a lot of electricity-hungry devices like DVD players, onboard computers, and whatnot, re-assess what your needs really are to cut down on car battery drain.
You may also need to increase your driving time, because short-distance driving can cause terminal and clamp connector failures. You also need to be aware of how old your car battery is so you can buy a new one long before it dies out.
2. Flat tires
Over time, driving regularly will eventually lead to flat tires because of lost air pressure. Some of us, however, get flat tires because of sharp objects on the road. While we cannot be completely aware what’s on the road especially at night, we can at least minimize the risk of sharp objects puncturing our tires by driving more carefully. We should also check our tires’ air pressure regularly to make sure they aren’t over-inflated or under-inflated. Also, never leave home without a spare tire.
+ Read our article about tire safety here.
3. Starter system trouble
When you turn the key in the ignition and all you hear is a click, then your starter has probably failed, although a dead battery could also be the reason. Poor maintenance, or wear and tear can trigger starting system troubles. Performing periodic checks on your starter motor’s main components can help prevent starter failure, as it would enable you to see if anything needs fixing or replacing.
4. Oil leaks
When you find dark stains on wherever you park your car, it’s possible that you have an oil leak. There might be a problem with your oil filter. It’s also possible that a missing or a misaligned plug is causing the problem. Changing your oil filter periodically can help prevent oil leaks. Bringing your car in for maintenance or a tune-up on a regular basis will also help.
5. Alternator issues
When you hear a rattling sound from the engine or experience electrical failure constantly, you might have a problem with your alternator, which keeps the battery charged. To avoid breaking down in the middle of the road because of alternator problems, you have to keep track of your alternator’s age, because the older this component gets, the more likely it is to break down. Knowing how old your alternator is can help you prepare to replace it before it gives you a major problem.
6. Radiator leak
Car AC problems? Then you might be leaking coolant, and that is going to cause much bigger problems than not having cooled air inside your car. When your radiator is leaking, your engine can overheat, and you know what happens after that.
You need to check and make sure that all connectors of your car are right where they should be, and if something’s damage, replace it straight away. Flushing out coolant and replacing it regularly should also serve you well.
7. Spark plug fail
Wear and tear will take its toll on spark plugs. When a spark plug fails, you can expect your car to run at much lower speeds, which you don’t want to happen because it means higher fuel consumption.
Spark plugs have a short shelf life, and they need to be replaced every five to ten months.
8. Fuel Issues
Believe it or not, many people make the mistake of pumping the wrong type of fuel into their cars, which could lead to problems down the road. It’s also common for many drivers to let their vehicle run on empty, which can take a serious toll.
These fuel issues are entirely preventable. Just have enough presence of mind to see which button on the pump releases which type of fuel so you won’t get it wrong. And once the “low fuel” indicator lights up, fill the tank immediately. You wouldn’t want a low tank to cause condensation and cause fuel ignition problems.
9. Squeaky windshield wipers
There’s nothing more annoying as the piecing shriek of squeaky windshield wiper blades. To spare yourself from this very common car problem, always keep the blades clean and free of buildup. Wiping the blades with a wet paper towel with a small amount of rubbing alcohol or hot, soapy water should be enough to do the job. You will also need to clean the windshield using an ammonia-free glass cleaner and wipe it down with a soft, lint-free cloth.
10. Stinky interior
Admittedly, this is more of a car owner problem than a car problem, but cars with funky-smelling interiors are a common car issue. If you’re not in the habit of cleaning the inside of your car, don’t be surprised if your passengers crinkle their noses at the mildew-y smell. And car fresheners can only do so much. Actually, they do nothing but mask the smell.
Aside from the obvious solution of cleaning the interior consistently, you can also prevent your car interior from becoming a stink gallery by sprinkling the seats and floor with baking soda. Just let it sit there for a few hours, then vacuum it all up.
You know what they say about what an ounce of prevention can do, so do whatever is necessary to prevent—or at the very least delay—the onset of car problems, and you’ll be the better for it.