DIY Auto Maintenance and Servicing Tips

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Troubleshooting Some Common Car Repair Issues

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Taking your car in for needed repairs may not be your idea of a fun afternoon, but it's absolutely necessary to do this once your car starts acting up. Small problems with your car can indicate major trouble under the hood, and this trouble can lead to serious repair bills and to having your car break down when you least expect it. To help you better understand what you might be facing when it comes to car repairs and their accompanying costs, note a few troubleshooting tips for common car repair issues.

Persistent stalling

If your car actually starts fine but then stalls when idling, this issue could be a bad oxygen sensor, which is what pulls dirty air away from the engine while also delivering clean air to the engine compartment. If this sensor fails and the fuel-to-oxygen ratio in the engine is faulty, the engine cannot maintain combustion. Another common culprit is the thermostat or the sensors connected to the thermostat; if these are faulty, the thermostat may think the engine is hotter than it is, so it then seizes up and shuts off, or the engine gets flooded with coolant and cannot maintain enough heat to run.

The timing of the idle could also be faulty; this determines when the pistons of the engine move with each other. If the timing is not correct, there could be too much oxygen getting into the engine through an open valve, so the engine stalls. A failing battery could also cause stalling, as many of the car's components are run by electricity; if the fuel pump, fan, and oxygen sensor don't get enough electricity, they will fail to operate, so the engine then stalls.

Grinding sounds

If you hear a grinding sound while you're driving but this sound goes away when you apply the brakes, the problem could actually be caused by the car's brakes. This sound could be a worn pad scraping the metal as you drive; once you apply the brakes and the pad is squeezed tight around the rotor, it no longer grinds.

A tyre that is not attached evenly to the rims or a broken or bent tie rod could also be causing parts of the wheel behind the rotor to grind against each other, making this sound. A mechanic can check the direction of the tyre and condition of the tie rods to note if a bent part needs replacing. Broken lug nuts can also cause a tyre to sit unevenly on the rim and grind against other parts, so these may also need replacing.