Cars today come in a greater range of sizes and shapes than ever before, the choice is simply mind-boggling, and becomes greater every day. However, one common theme runs through them all, and that is increased complexity. In response to our demands for more power, more luxury and more gadgets, the cars manufactured today are more complex than ever. Most are run by powerful computers, and problems are diagnosed by them as well, making it more and more difficult to repair them yourselves!
In turn, the motorist of today is much less well educated about car maintenance than the driver of 30-40 years ago, simply because in that time they broke down so often you had to know how to fix them! Despite the DVLA adding in more mechanical parts to the driving test, such as changing oil and other fluids, it seems we are even more clueless that ever. Some might say this is a general theme with the younger generation, who are far more adept on their phones and online that with their hands!
However, despite the complexity of the modern car and the seeming lack of interest of the modern driver to fix them, there are still basics that everyone should know in case of emergency. These include simple fixes, but also what to look out for in order to diagnose more complex problems, which might turn into a serious accident if not fixed. We have compiled the most common car problems and some simple advice of what to do:
– If the car wont turn over at all, the battery is likely dead. Jump start
– If the car does turn over but wont start, it could be the starter motor or a problem with the fuel. Call a garage
– If the steering feels very heavy, you may be low on fluid. Check power steering fluid, wheel alignment and tyre pressure
– If the steering feels light, check tyre wear and pressure
– If the brake pedal is stuck down or up, the brake booster likely needs work. Call a garage
– If the brakes feel spongy, check brake fluid levels
– If the stopping distance increases, or the car veers off to one side under braking, brake pads may need replacing
The AA has an excellent reference section on their website to diagnose simple car problems, and this infographic from Autodoc gives more detailed information and is a handy take away guide to possible braking problems.