The average American Millennial or Gen X citizen pays out $466 per year based on a poll that took a look at auto spending over a five-year period. Younger people often have cars that break down more, and they’re constantly asking themselves “What’s wrong with my car?” as a result.
In fact, in the same review, it is revealed that adults 55 spent the least on car repair. What’s their secret? Many older adults know more about cars because they took classes in school on basic routine maintenance. Others stick to warranty plans and strict maintenance schedules.
They are even known for doing the majority of the repairs at dealerships, and they’re likely to respond to every single recall notice that arrives in the mail. For this reason, they spend less on car repair: they make an investment in maintenance related to oil changes and tire rotations.
Identifying what’s wrong with an automobile takes some work. First of all, you have to make a list of the symptoms that make you pose the question in the first place.
Consider these questions about vehicle repair:
- How do I know what’s wrong with my vehicle?
- What car problems are the most common?
- Why isn’t my car starting?
In other words, identifying what’s wrong with your car starts with observations related to the senses. Do you hear anything out of the ordinary like squeaking, engine knocking, ticking, or screeching? What do you smell? Burnt oil and gasoline are bad signs. What do you feel? It might be vibration or shaking.
Other inspections include looking for the check engine light or other dashboard icons that alert the driver to potential engine issues. See if the exhaust looks normal. White or black smoke is not a sign of a healthy car, not even on an older vehicle.
By using your resources and a bit of common sense, you’ll be able to figure out what’s wrong with your car once and for all.
What’s Wrong with My Car?
The professional knows what’s wrong with your car. It could be anything from a busted head gasket to a dead car battery. Rather than follow the guess and check model, consult an expert as soon as you are able.
If your car is shaking violently, grinding at every corner, and radiating a toxic odor, you know something’s wrong with it. You have to take it a step further to match causes to effects so that you will be able to talk with a mechanic about your solutions.
Why does my Car Smell like Gas?
You might find yourself researching what’s wrong with your car if it smells like gasoline.
You don’t have to immediately panic about gas odors, but they should raise an eyebrow. Sometimes the gas smell is just because your car still reeks from your last gas station visit. Other times, the gas tank gets left open by accident. Be careful not to confuse somebody else’s gas-smelling car as your own.
If none of these obvious answers take you in the right direction, then perhaps the problem is serious. In fact, it could be a dangerous move not to check things out.
Here possible causes:
- The fuel tank has a leak. If you’re looking to see if this is the problem, one clue is a puddle under the car that reflects light like a colorful rainbow.
- It could also be a problem with the fuel line or fuel injector.
- The filter may have a leak.
If there is a problem with the fuel system, stop driving the car. Call a tow truck or a mechanic to help you resolve the problem right away.
Fact: fuel tank replacement is $1,400 on average.
Why is my Check Engine Light On?
The question “What’s wrong with my car?” is synonymous with “why is my check engine light on?” in many cases.
The check engine light doesn’t always mean expensive repairs are coming, but in general, the light requires prompt action. It often indicates that something has gone wrong in the car’s evaporative emissions (EVAP) system. This means that the car is polluting more than it should.
The system is related to the fuel line and tank and consists of various other components. As parts fail, the car starts to smell like gasoline. In fact, it’s one of the most likely reasons that the check engine light will turn on.
Luckily, these repairs usually only cost $300 to $400 to repair, which is low as far repairs go.
Why is my Vehicle Shaking?
Trying to figure out what’s wrong with your car when it’s shaking or vibrating can be frustrating. Especially on older cars, a shaky idol status is common (but not acceptable).
It could be causes by spark plugs in need of replacement. The check engine light may turn on as well. It could also be caused by loose or detached engine hoses. Finally, bad battery terminal connections could also come into play.
Sometimes the car’s shaking occurs when the vehicle is driving down the road. If there’s vibration when the vehicle is in motion, you should check for bad brake rotos, busted shots and struts, and out of balance wheels.
If it’s the spark plugs that are bad, it shouldn’t break the bank to repair. Replacing the spark plugs usually costs between $350 and $400. Cheaper spark plugs only last for up to 25,000 miles. Lifelong guarantee sparkplugs last four times as long.
Spark plugs can cause havoc on the ride when they need to be replaced. You might notice that a tank of gas is giving you less miles (bad fuel efficiency) or that acceleration is sluggish.
In worse cases, the car begins to misfire or won’t start up at all.
White Smoke is Coming Out of My Car
When there’s white smoke coming out the vehicle’s exhaust system (or from under the hood), you’re probably asking yourself what’s wrong with my car. Aptly so.
If you see white smoke pouring out of the tailpipe, but it clears up really quickly, it’s most likely condensation which is completely typical.
A lot of white smoke that lingers means that coolant is leaking. It’s probably burning when it hits the combustion chamber under the hood.
It’s an issue that shouldn’t be ignored. It definitely warrants a call to your local certified mechanic. The culprit could be a blown head gasket, damaged cylinder head, a crack on the engine block, or some other issue. It’s likely to cost at least a grand to get fixed. An engine rebuild is six times as much.
If the smoke is coming from the engine, the coolant is leaking from its container (reservoir). It’s hitting the hot engine and burning. If it’s a leak, you’re likely to catch a whiff of a sweet smell. You might also see the needle on the car’s dashboard heading to H for hot.
It could just be a bad thermostat or that somebody’s added the wrong type of coolant to the system. A worn or damaged radiator is common in older or high mileage vehicles. Mechanics may also look for a bad water pump. They’ll also check all of the hoses.
Why Does my Car Smell like Rotten Eggs?
If your passengers are commenting that riding in your car is bad due to a smell described as sulfur or rotten eggs, it’s time to admit yourself you need to figure out what’s wrong with your car.
First of all, check out your car to see if you left any gnarly leftovers behind. If there’s no obvious source for the smell, you have may have a catalytic converter in need of replacement. It’s a pricey repair.
It probably feels like you have a friend or family member who’s had to get their catalytic converter replaced at some point or another, and it’s probably true. The repair is a common headache for car owners, costing as much as $2,500.
The smell can result from a problem with the fuel pressure regulator or the filter. For this reason, fuel filter replacement is recommended. Additionally, drivers should pay attention to the quality of the fuel they use. Bad fuel can cause a terrible smell as well.
Why is my Car Making Noise when I Turn the Corner?
When you’re turning a corner, and you hear a strange noise coming from the car’s wheels, you could soon find yourself talking with a mechanic about steering and suspension systems. When they’re not in good shape, loud noises, especially when turning, are common.
Look out for a squeaking or screeching sound. It’s a sign that the parts are not in operating order. It could be that the joints have an issue resulting from a lack of grease or power-steering fluid.
The constant-velocity joint, also known as a CV joint, can go awry, causing a clicking sound.
As an automatic go-to move, whenever you have steering-related issues, you want to make sure the level of power steering fluid is sufficient.
My Car Squeals All the Time
When the squealing occurs all of the time, not just when your car is turning, you should ask a certified mechanic to inspect the automobile’s belts. Maybe it’s the pulley or tensioner that’s acting up. Different cars have different types of belts based on the make, model, and year of the ride.
Belt damage takes shape in being dry, cracked, loose, frayed, or ripped.
Car isn’t Starting Up
If the car isn’t starting up, you could be sitting in the driver’s seat furiously pounding What’s wrong with my car into a browser, hoping to get some answers. It’s likely one of two situations. The first is that you hear nothing or a click when you start the car. The other is that it makes noise but doesn’t “turn over.”
If there’s no noise, it’s probably a power problem. The car’s starter isn’t even engaging. There’s nothing happening
If the car cranks, but doesn’t start up, you could have the age-old car problem of an empty gas tank.
It could be something more serious, though. A bad fuel pump, worn-out spark plugs, a faulted security system, and a problem with the fuel line are all on the menu.
If your vehicle isn’t running right, is making strange noises, or a warning light on your dash has come on, you’re probably about to head into the dealer or repair shop to have them take a look.
Car Isn’t Working: What are My Options?
You can’t fix a car with an Internet search, but it can get you on the right track.
If your car isn’t working, you should take stock of your options.
Call a Tow Truck and a Mechanic
If your car is normally reliable and in great shape, then you should consider sending it off to a local auto shop for repair. It may cost a pretty penny, but having a safe and trustworthy vehicle is worth it in the end.
Send the Car to the Junkyard
If your car is very old, and you are constantly having problems with it, you might consider sending it to a junkyard and starting over. You could even earn a few bucks in doing so. Many pay cash money at pickup in exchange for your old vehicle (even if it doesn’t run anymore).
Research Warranties and Recalls
The Internet can tell you if there are problems associated with your car’s make, model, and year. If there are recalls for which your car qualifies, get them done! If your car is under a warranty, check to see if the repairs are covered. A free or discounted repair may certainly be worth the trouble.
Now that you know some of the most probable reasons your car isn’t working, and what options you have in front of you, you should be ready to make an informed consumer decision.