Troubleshooting Tips

Why won’t my engine start?

Why did my car stall?

How do I check if the engine coolant is leaking?

The engine is vibrating. Why is this happening?

Why is the car overheating?

Why is there a noise coming from the engine?

Why is my brake light on?

The power steering makes noise when I turn. What should I do?

Why is my car shaking?

Why are my left and right turn directional signals not working?

My battery keeps going dead after sitting overnight. Why?

I’m trying to start the car, but the ignition won’t turn. What can I do?

The air conditioning is not working. What could the problem be?

The heat in the car is not working. What should be checked?

The service engine light is illuminated. What does that mean?

Why is the airflow low from the vents in the car?

Sometimes the cluch works, sometimes it doesn’t. What should I do?

Why won’t my engine start?

The first thing to check is the battery. Sometimes the car won’t start because of a weak or defective battery. If the headlights work fine and give off bright light as they should, then the problem may not be the battery. Be sure to check the connections to the battery for corrosion or looseness. If the lights are very low/dim then the battery may require charging or replacement.
If the engine is cranking (turning over) normally but won’t fire up, then the battery or starter is not the problem. You may have a fuel delivery or ignition system malfunction, or even an engine mechanical problem such as a broken timing belt.

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Why did my car stall?

Sometimes the culprit for a car stall is the air conditioning. Turning it off may get your car back up and running. Check to see if the idle speed is normal. An erratic idle speed can cause stalling also. Determine if the throttle body has excessive carbon buildup. If so, clean it with an approved cleaner. Stalling may be accompanied by other symptoms such as misfiring or poor performance which may need to be remedied first.

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How do I check if the engine coolant is leaking?

Open the hood of the car and check the level of coolant in the reservoir. If it is between the hot and cool levels, then it should be fine. If the level is lower it is possible a leak exists somewhere in the cooling system. Obvious signs are drips or steam. Coolant comes in many colors, so look for any fluid leaking, it may not be green these days. Also check the water pump and radiator to ensure they are not damaged. Sometimes the cooling system must be filled and pressure tested to locate a leak.

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The engine is vibrating. Why is this happening?

Check the engine and transmission mounts to see if they are broken or worn. Often times hard or sagging engine mounts can cause vibrations at idle even if they are not broken. Vibrations can also be cause by malfunctioning mechanical components such as a failing air conditioner or alternator. Internal engine and transmission components can cause this also.

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Why is the car overheating?

Check the level of coolant in the reservoir. Fill it if required. Also check for any leaks. Not having any fluid in the cooling system may mean there is a fluid leak. Check to see if there is any blockage in or around the radiator. The radiator cap may need to be replaced if it can’t hold system pressure. Check the cooling fan operation as well. A replacement of the thermostat may be necessary.

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Why is there a noise coming from the engine?

Open the hood and check the oil level. The noise may occur because the oil is low or contaminated. An oil and filter change is recommended. Do not overfill the oil! Also, check the drive belts, pulleys and accessories if the engine is making a squeaking sound.

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Why is my brake light on?

Check the level of brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoir. Add fluid if necessary. Do not overfill. Low fluid may indicate it is time to replace brake pads or possibly that there is a hydraulic leak somewhere in the brake system. Inspect the entire brake system for leaks including the brake hoses and lines, wheel cylinders and calipers.

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The power steering makes noise when I turn.

Check the power steering fluid level. Also check for leaks. The belts and belt tension should also be analyzed. A loose or defective belt could cause the problem. Be sure to inflate the tires to the recommended pressures as well. Noises can be caused by worn or damaged steering and suspension components too.

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Why is my car shaking?

A vibration may be caused by a defective tire or a wheel in need of balancing. Inspect all the tires for wear, cracking splitting or bubbles. Be sure the tire pressures are correct. You may need to have the wheels balanced by a professional with a high speed wheel balancer.
If you experience a vibration only when applying the brakes, the brake rotors or drums may be the cause. They may need machining or replacement.
Other times vibrations may come from the driveline. Check the axles and axle shafts for torn boots or damage. A driveshaft with missing weights may need balancing.

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Why are my left and right turn directional signals not working?

If none of the directional signals work, check the fuses. A blown fuse will keep the lights from functioning. The flasher may be bad as well. If some lights work and others don’t, check the bulbs and sockets for damage. If the left or right turn signals blink fast or not at all it usual means a bulb needs replacement. Check the directional again after the installation of new bulbs.

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My battery keeps going dead after sitting overnight.

The age of the battery will also have a bearing on this. Replace older batteries every few years. Each battery has a life span of approximately 3-4 years in the harsh desert climate. Most people don’t realize the main reason for a dead battery is leaving the inside lights or headlights on. Interior appliances and electronics will also drain the battery if left on. Be sure all devices are unplugged and turned off. Make sure the doors are closed all the way. It is possible a defective electronic component is causing a parasitic drain on the battery while sitting. This will require an electrical diagnosis.

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I’m trying to start the car, but the ignition won’t turn.

Dirt and debris can block the key lock and prevent it from working properly. Lubricate if necessary. The steering lock may be preventing you from turning the key also. Turn the steering wheel slightly in either direction while turning the key.

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The air conditioning is not working.

If the air conditioning belt is damaged, the compressor cant turn properly. Also check the refrigerant level. A low level will cause poor operation. Look for bubbles in the sight glass, if available. Check the air conditioning compressor for damage. Check for air conditioning hoses and fittings that may be leaking.

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The heat in the car is not working.

Check the engine coolant level. If the level is full, the thermostat could be stuck open. Determine if the blower fan inside the car is working. The problem may be electrical and not mechanical.

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The service engine light is illuminated. What does that mean?

The light means there is a problem with the engine management system. It indicates a possible malfunction exists in the ignition, fuel, emissions or electronic transmission systems. Check the fuel cap to see if it is tight and has a good seal. A loose fuel cap is often the problem. If not, the diagnostic trouble codes will need to be read and the related diagnostic procedures followed to determine the cause of the problem. This light may come on for many different reasons.

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Why is the airflow low from the vents in the car?

Check the cabin air filter located inside the vehicle or under the hood. The filter may need replacement. Also check the blower motor that controls the air flow. One or more of the blower speeds may not be working.

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Sometimes the cluch works, sometimes it doesn’t. What should I do?

Check the clutch pedal for full travel. Make sure the carpet is not preventing full range of movement. If the clutch is hydraulic, a leak in the master or slave cylinder may be the cause. Check the clutch fluid level. If the system is mechanical, check for a binging cable or linkage. An adjustment may be required.

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