It’s impossible to predict when your car will break down. You can still respond to warning signs without much mechanical knowledge or effort.
You can use these tips to learn how your car feels and to be aware of any warning signs. Stop small repairs from becoming expensive, causing you to spend more money and lose more time driving your vehicle. Seeking quality car service in Manukau can further enhance your vehicle’s longevity and performance.
When your brake lights, reverse light, fog lights, headlights, or indicators do not work, it can cause an accident.
Every so often, it’s a good idea to have a friend walk around your vehicle while you turn on all the lights.
You can check the lights on your own by parking in front of a reflective building.
Do not forget to check and remember where your hazard light is located. This will allow you to quickly turn them on if necessary.
2. Windscreen wipers
Safety of vehicles depends on a clear view of the road. You are not driving safe if you cannot see where you’re going.
Windscreen cracks and chips
Windscreen chips and cracks can make your car fail the roadworthiness test. They also obstruct your vision.
It’s important to fix a chip as soon as you can to avoid having to replace the entire windscreen.
You may not replace your damaged windscreen, which could lead to water damage and weakening of vehicle structure. It could also affect the function of airbags.
If you are washing your car, or at traffic lights, take a moment to look at your windscreen. Note any cracks and get them checked.
To be ready, you can pick up a few chip stickers from your local windshield repairer.
They can cover a small chip and prevent it from growing into a bigger crack. This will save your windscreen while you drive to have it repaired.
The blades/refills of wipers/refills will deteriorate with time. This is due to dirt and other contaminants, as well as sunlight, extreme temperatures, and weather conditions.
When it’s time to change your wiper blades/refills, you may notice streaks, juddering wipers, smearing or unwiped areas on the windscreen.
You can buy a new set of signs and replace the damaged ones yourself. Some car accessory shops will also do it for you.
You can also have your car serviced to include these services.
This thin strip of black that meets your tyre tread with the road is a very important part of the road and should be checked regularly.
Tires must have a minimum of 1.5 mm of continuous tread depth and be defect-free.
There are at least four wear indicators on each tyre to indicate when the tread is worn to 1.6mm.
On the sidewall of the tyre at the edge of tread are small triangles pointing to bars moulded into the tread.
The wear indicators are these bars. If the tread pattern matches the wear indicator, it’s time to change your tyres.
Wheel alignment and balance, as well as wheel inflation
Check for uneven wear. This could indicate incorrect tyre inflation or the need for wheel alignment/balancing.
Check your tyre pressure when they are still cold. Check your tyres’ pressure before you start your trip.
Every 10,000 km or when the vehicle pulls to one side on a flat surface is when you should have your wheels aligned.
You may feel vibrations in your steering wheel if you need a wheel balance.
The recommended tyre-pressure for your vehicle is usually listed on your vehicle plate. This can be found inside the door sill.
4. Fluid leaks
In the parking lots of shopping centres, you may have noticed a dark stain on many car spots. Fluids, most commonly engine oil, leak from the vehicles parking in those spaces.
You may have a leak of engine oil, or other fluids.
When you use the air conditioner in your car, there may be pools of clear water under your vehicle.
When you see clear water, don’t worry. It’s condensation caused by the cold air-conditioning system hitting the warm outside air.
Note the color of the liquid and the size of the puddle if you notice a puddle underneath your car that is not clear.
Tell your mechanic. Keep an eye out for the warning light on your dashboard. It will illuminate if you have a leak.
When you see the warning light on your dashboard, pull over and turn off the vehicle. Seek mechanical assistance.
You could cause your engine to overheat if you continue to drive with a coolant or oil leak.
Fluids help to prevent overheating and friction, so serious damage can occur without them.
Keep an eye out for anything that may have fallen underneath. Check your oil dipstick regularly and pay attention to any warning lights.
If you have a vehicle with a manual transmission, the last thing to look out for is a leak in your clutch master cylinder.
How can you identify this? Fluid will leak into the car if the seal is damaged or breaks. It may also end up on your car mat or shoes.
If you notice this type of leak in your vehicle, it is important to have a mechanic look at it as soon as possible. The end result of not addressing this leak will be the inability of the vehicle to change gear.
5. Fuel consumption
Watch your fuel consumption. You may notice a gradual increase in fuel costs over time or suddenly realise that it is not due to higher prices or mileage. It is easy to miss and go unnoticed.
Fuel consumption: What are the reasons?
- Fuel Leaks
- Fuel injectors that are dirty
- Incorrect timing
- Spark plugs, leads or coils that are worn or damaged
- Low-octane Fuel
- Tire pressure incorrect
- The thermostat is defective
- Defective oxygen sensor
- Worn timing belt
- Air filter dirty
- Incorrect valve clearance
- Wearing rings or valves
- Defective MAP sensor
- Catalytic converter clogged, exhaust
Let your mechanic know if you notice that fuel economy is declining. The sooner they can detect and fix any fuel problems, the lower your gas prices will be.
Fuel efficiency: Tips to improve fuel efficiency
- It may be more expensive, but it is worth the extra cost in the end. The cheapest fuel for your vehicle may not be best over the long run.
- Fuel is available at a busy station. The fuel is regularly changed.
- Regularly check your tire pressure.
- Avoid braking and accelerating heavily.
- Avoid driving on a nearly empty tank whenever possible.
- If the roof rack is not in use, remove it.
- Regularly service your car.
Try to drive your car on the highway at weekends if you are a city driver who is used to stop-start driving.
You can also run at a speed of at least 80 km/h for a long period to allow the engine to warm up and to run at a higher rev to ensure a smooth run. It will also charge your battery.
6. Engine failure or loss of power
Missing does not mean that you should call Liam Neeson. The vehicle may feel like it is shivering or skipping when you accelerate.
Your vehicle may have difficulty pulling away from the lights, misfire, or not respond when you try to overtake another driver.
It could be very subtle or very obvious, but if the engine is missing or you are experiencing a loss of power it may indicate a problem.
What could be happening?
- Incorrect timing
- Airflow obstruction
- Spark plugs that are worn or dirty
- Poor fuel
- Incorrect air/fuel ratio
- Faulty ignition source
- Electrical fault
- Faulty sensors
- Transmission problems
It’s important to take your vehicle to a mechanic if you notice that the car is missing when it’s idling or accelerating.
You could damage your engine if you continue to drive. If you don’t fix faulty components immediately, they can affect other components.
Wearing spark plugs can eventually burn out coils and stop your cylinders from working. You will then be unable to drive.
You could end up paying more for a minor mistake or loss of power than you expected.
7. Engine Hard to Start
Your pride and joy has started to struggle with starting. This could happen when the engine’s temperature is cold or hot. Here are some possible culprits:
- Starter motor
- Air/fuel problems
When your starter motor fails, your dash light will remain on, but there may be no sound or crank when you attempt to start your car. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is best to consult an auto electrician.
There may be a problem with air, fuel, or ignition if your car starts but does not crank over.
This is all you need to start your car. In this case, a mechanic will be needed to diagnose the problem.
You may need to replace the fuel injectors or replace the fuel pumps if the vehicle has sat for a long time and it doesn’t crank over.
If you have an alarm/immobiliser installed, it may also be the cause of your car not starting. It may be necessary to replace your key, transmitter or battery.
You may notice that your dash light is dim or dead. Your electric windows might be slow and your interior lights will be dim.
You should then check that your battery terminals have not been corroded and are correctly connected. Your battery could be close to its end.
How to get more life from your car battery
You should be able to get at least two years from a car battery under normal conditions. Here are some tips to extend your car’s battery.
- Regularly service your vehicle
- Avoid leaving accessories in your car that drain the battery.
- Battery maintenance is important
- Make sure that the battery is securely fastened so that it does not vibrate or cause loose terminals.
- Professionals can help you jump-start a flat battery.
- When you take your car for service, have the battery charging rate checked.
- If you don’t drive your car regularly, the battery will lose charge if left parked for long periods.
- Never use tap-water to fill your battery. Use only distilled, demineralised or desionised water. If you’re in a hurry, you can also use rainwater.
A memory minder can be used when replacing or disconnecting batteries to maintain power. It will ensure that your computer’s idle memory speed is not lost and that you do not need to enter your radio security code again.
Keep in mind that a battery will last longer in warmer climates because it loses water faster. If you live in an area with higher temperatures, you may want to consider a bigger battery.