As with any mechanical device, cars can experience problems from time to time. While some issues are minor and easily fixed, others can be more complex and require the attention of a professional mechanic. Here are five of the most common mechanical car problems and some tips on diagnosing them.
A dead battery is one of the most common car problems and can be caused by various factors. If your car won’t start, turn the key in the ignition and listen for a clicking sound. If you hear clicking, but the engine won’t turn over, it’s likely that your battery is dead. Other signs of a dead battery include dimming headlights or interior lights or a weak or sluggish engine.
To diagnose a dead battery, you’ll need a voltmeter. First, check the voltage of the battery with the engine off. A fully charged battery should read around 12.6 volts. If your battery is reading lower than that, it’s likely that it’s not fully charged. You can try jumpstarting your car to see if that helps, or you may need to replace the battery.
The alternator is responsible for charging the battery when your car is running, and if it’s not functioning properly, it can cause several issues. Symptoms of a failing alternator include a dimming or flickering dashboard, strange noises (such as grinding or whining), or a battery that won’t hold a charge.
To diagnose alternator problems, you can start by checking the battery voltage with the engine running. Most of us don’t have the means to do this. No problem, just call your local Cairns mechanic for this and any other mechanical issues and they can diagnose the problem quickly.
A fully charged battery should read around 13.5-14.5 volts. If your battery reads significantly lower than that, your alternator may fail. You can use a multimeter to check the alternator’s voltage output, but this requires a bit more expertise.
Starter Motor Problems
If you turn the key in the ignition and nothing happens, your starter motor may be to blame. Symptoms of a failing starter motor include clicking when you turn the key or a grinding noise when the engine turns over. In some instances, you may get the engine to start by repeatedly turning the key or tapping the starter motor with a wrench.
To diagnose starter motor problems, you can start by checking the battery voltage with the engine off. If the battery is fully charged and you’re still experiencing issues, it’s likely that the starter motor is to blame. You can also use a voltmeter to check the voltage at the starter motor while someone else turns the key, but this can be dangerous if you’re unfamiliar with electrical systems.
Ignition Coil Failure
The ignition coil is responsible for delivering voltage to the spark plugs, which in turn ignites the fuel in the engine. Symptoms of a failing ignition coil include misfiring, stalling, or rough idling. In some cases, you may also notice a loss of power or acceleration.
You can use a multimeter to check the coil’s resistance to diagnose ignition coil failure. You can swap out the coil with a known good one to see if that solves the problem. If you’re uncomfortable working with electrical systems, having a professional mechanic diagnose and repair the issue is best.
Fuel System Issues
If your car is experiencing fuel system issues, you may notice various symptoms, including a rough idle, difficulty starting, or a lack of power. Fuel system problems can be caused by various factors, including clogged fuel filters, dirty fuel injectors, or a failing fuel pump.
If your car has fuel system issues, there are several observations you can make to diagnose the problem. First, you can check the fuel pressure using a gauge. This will tell you if the pump delivers fuel at the proper pressure. If the fuel pressure is low, it could indicate a problem with the fuel pump, fuel filter, or fuel injectors.
Another common fuel system issue is clogged fuel injectors. This can lead to various symptoms, including rough idling, hesitation, or a lack of power. To diagnose clogged fuel injectors, you can use a fuel injector cleaner. This is a chemical that is added to the fuel tank and helps to clean out the injectors. You can also have the injectors removed and cleaned professionally.
Dirty fuel filters can also cause fuel system issues. A clogged fuel filter can cause a lack of power, stalling, or difficulty starting. To diagnose a clogged fuel filter, you can remove the filter and inspect it for debris. If the filter is dirty, it will need to be replaced.
Overall, diagnosing fuel system issues can be complex and may require the assistance of a professional mechanic. If you’re uncomfortable working with fuel systems, it’s best to have a professional diagnose and repair the issue to ensure your car runs properly and safely.