4 Common Car Issues and How to Solve Them

Cars are supposed to be reliable and safe. After all, they are how most of America gets around. Cars were what got us through our first cross-country move, and they were there when mom and dad dropped us off at college. But what any car owner can tell you is that while cars can last, they are not forever. Cars will break down, just like any other machine. Luckily for us, every common car problem has solutions.

Dead Car Battery

One of the most common car issues to occur is having a dead battery. I had it happen to me when I forgot to turn my engine off at the movie drive-ins. Leaving the electricals on when a car is not in use is a common cause for a dead battery, but other reasons can include a defective alternator or faulty charging. Cars that have aged during the lockdown without use often have a dead battery.

Luckily there are two easy solutions to a dead battery:

Charge It:

This is the best choice but not always the easiest. Usually, charging a battery requires a mechanic who will remove the battery and charge it. This should make the battery ready to go if there is nothing actually wrong with your battery. If the charge does not hold and it is a repeated problem, you will likely have to get a new battery altogether. 

Jumpstart It: 

Hopefully, you were lucky like me and had a jumper cable and kind stranger available. You can place one end of the cable on your car and the other end on the donor battery. The donor will start their car and let it run. After a couple of minutes, your car battery should be good enough to run. Congrats, you’re no longer stranded. 

You Left Your Key in The Car

You were talking to a friend, or you mindlessly tossed your stuff in your car and slammed

the door shut. Yikes, now you’re stranded outside of your car. Unfortunately, there is not much

you can do in this situation except to contact a car locksmith. Sometimes we are absent-

minded and end up locking our keys in our car, and it is frustrating to see your keys stare back

at you from the window. Fortunately, a quick online search for a locksmith near me will

connect you with professionals who can help. A locksmith will usually not charge you a lot for

opening the door, and you can be on your way soon after.

Exhaust Smoke

Not all exhaust smoke is bad. Cars can often emit a thin white smoke that is totally normal. Condensation can build in the care system and the smoke emitted is actually steam. Other exhaust smokes such as thick white smoke, or colored smoke could mean there is a problem with your car. Thick white smoke could emit from a leaking coolant. This means the car can be overheating, and it can make driving the car damaging and dangerous. It is difficult to diagnose at home, so if you believe there is a problem with your car, it would be best to ask for a professional’s opinion.

Gray smoke is another tricky situation. It still usually warrants a professional’s opinion. Common reasons for gray smoke include issues with the transmission fluid and an inefficient turbocharger. Seeking a professional is the best course of action. If you see blue smoke from your car, you must seek an immediate professional opinion. Blue smoke normally indicates the car is burning oil which means the seals on your valve are worn out. Oil is leaking into the combustion champion, and this can cause extensive damage. It can also be an expensive repair. Regardless of how severe the blue smoke is, you must seek a professional for a full inspection. 

Black smoke is more common in older cars. Ir generally means there is a fuel leak, and too much fuel is being burnt in the combustion chamber. It is also important to get your car checked out with black smoke in the off chance it becomes dangerous. 

Low Tire Pressure

Many newer models will alert the driver that the tire pressure is low. It is difficult to see if a tire is underinflated through looking at it, so you have to be mindful of your tires. A monthly pump is more than enough to keep your tires happily inflated. Lucky for you, this is an easy fix. I always keep my car information in the glove box, and the manual will tell you what psi your tires have to be. After you have ascertained the information, pull up to a gas station. Most will have a tire pump. Not all will be free, so be sure to bring some change with you, or you’ll be driving home with a flat tire (happened to me once). Pull up to the compressor and insert your change. There should be posted instructions that walk you through it.

Quick refresh: Unscrew your valve and insert an air hose into it. When you press down, air will fill your tire. Your car will alert you what psi it is at. If your car does not have that function, consider getting a portable tire pressure gauge. Repeat on the other three.

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