Quick Guide To Popular Car Problems & How To Fix It!
With A Printable Cheat Sheet
In this article, I will walk you through some popular car problems we see and hear about all the time. Things like weird engine smoke, squeaky noises, slippery leaks, and of course, weird smells. Throughout this article, I will help explain what actually is going on and whether or not you can fix the problem yourself. Then, go ahead and print out my quick guide I created for you so that you can keep it handy in your car! That way, if something does come up and you can’t remember what’s wrong, you can refer to the quick guide below 🙂
Remember, sometimes we can’t fix it all, so having a trusted mechanic around is always helpful!
Let’s start with those weird smells
If your car smells like:
- Bad Feet– Mildew in your air filters, which need to be replaced. You can easily do this yourself; go buy the correct air filter and replace it!
- Sweet Syrup– Coolant leak. You might be able to fix the problem if it is as simple as replacing a hose, but usually, you’ll need to take her in to get fixed.
- Hot Oil– Oil leak, which you need to take in ASAP! You will probably see the smoke before smelling the oil.
- Rotten Egg– Fuel injection issue or failed catalytic converter. Both need to be inspected and fixed by a mechanic.
- Burnt Carpet– Hard braking or using your brakes a lot. It could also be from driving with your emergency brake on (especially in manual cars). Just check the e-brake!
- Burnt Rubber– Loose hose has landed on a hot section of your engine. Stop and pull over to rescue the hose before it melts completely.
- Burnt Paper– Not using your clutch properly…
If your car is making this noise:
- Squeal or Chirping Under The Hood– This means your serpentine belt has loosened and is slipping off. You can easily replace this by yourself by buying a new belt and replacing the old one.
- Wheel Screech– If you hear your wheels screeching while driving, then your brake pads are low. Not a huge problem but something you’ll want to fix eventually. You can do this by yourself with the proper tools and a jack stand, but it is much easier to let your mechanic do the work.
- Rattling– If the rattling is coming from outside then it probably means something on your exhaust system is loose. You can tighten everything yourself or let a mechanic look at it. Remember, things (like windows, sun visors, seats, etc.) can become loose on the inside especially when you hit potholes. Tightening with a screwdriver should do the trick!
- Squeaky Noise Inside Vehicle– If you notice a squeaky noise coming from your vents, especially when you turn your air on. There is probably an A/C belt that has loosened or has split. If you notice other signs of your A/C not working properly, take it in for your mechanic to look at.
If you notice these exhaust colors:
- Thick White– Do not confuse thick white smoke from a thin white (vapor like) smoke. Thick white smoke is an indication that coolant is burning in the combustion chamber. 1 of 3 things happened; cracked cylinder head, blown head gasket, cracked engine block. All pretty serious and need expert attention.
- Blue– You are burning engine oil. Which means you probably have an oil leak or haven’t checked your motor oil in a while. Top it off and if it keeps leaking, take her in.
- Black– Black smoke is an indication that you are burning to much fuel. You see this a lot in diesel trucks when they want to show off, but it really is just a waste of fuel & money. Check your air filter to make sure it isn’t clogged and make sure your fuel line isn’t clogged. If both are fine, easy with the gas pedal next time 😉
- Gray– The hardest to decipher. Gray smoke could mean a couple of different things; burning oil like blue smoke, issues with transmission fluid, stuck PCV valve. Since it is hard to tell which, I would recommend taking it in.
If you notice these colors leaking from under your vehicle:
- Pink/Reddish– If you see this color it could mean two different things. First, if the leak is more towards the front of your vehicle, your power steering line is leaking. If you notice this color more towards the middle of your car, where your transmission is, then your transmission is leaking. Now, people get very worried when their transmission is leaking, but it really depends on your car. Older cars leak; they are old and have been running for a very long time. So, if you only get a couple of drops here and there you are fine. Newer cars, on the other hand, should not leak. They are sealed a lot tighter then older cars, so if you do have a transmission leak, take it to your dealership.
- Bright Yellow, Orange, Green– Any bright color leak will be your antifreeze. The most common color is green, but I have seen the other two before. Obviously, you need antifreeze to help control the engine temp, so if you notice any bright color leaking under your car, have your mechanic look it over.
- Clear Amber– This will be your brake fluid. It starts out clear then turns darker, so depending on when you’ve noticed the leak, the color could be clear or dark. You will find this dripping on the inside of your rims down your tires near the brakes. You can always add more brake fluid to your car, but eventually, you will want it looked at.
- Dark Brown– This is the most common leak; You motor oil. It will be very thick and greasy to the touch and smell of oil. Depending on how old the oil is, it will change from amber to dark brown in color. Check your dipstick to match the color and smell. I would start by checking for loose bolts and if that doesn’t help, then give your mechanic a call.
- Clear w/ Gas Smell– Your fuel line is leaking. Fuel is volatile and evaporates quickly which is why you will smell it before you see it. Look under your car for long thin lines running from the gas tank to the front of your car. Call your mechanic ASAP and don’t leave your car in the garage! Clean the spill with kitty litter or oil dry and use gloves. Obviously, do not light any type of fire near your vehicle since gas is very flammable!
If you want more detailed information on fluid leaks, read this article.
More popular car problems to add to the list:
Now, the car problems I listed above are easily detected with either your nose, eyes, or ears. Meaning, you should be able to smell, hear, or see something that is off. However, what happens if your car randomly dies on the road, or your A/C stops working, or you blow a tire? All popular car problems, right?
Right. Which is why I’ve already thought ahead and have those answers for you. Now, if I listed everything out this article would turn into a novel, so to keep you interested, I will post all the appropriate articles below with their links. You can click on them and read until you KNOW EVERYTHING 🙂
1. A/C Dies? Read this article & know the signs BEFORE it happens. Click Here.
2. Did you overheat? If so, don’t panic and be prepared to handle the situation. Click here.
4. Car engine dies while driving? It could happen, and not just from a dead battery! Click Here.
And lastly, if ANY of your dashboard warning lights come on, you should know what they all mean. So Click Here.
See! ChicMoto has got you covered if/when any little car problem occurs. You just have to remember to remain calm and print out this quick guide to keep in your vehicle AT ALL TIMES!