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All Info About Auto Repair: Feel, Hear, See, Smell 1a
All Info About Auto Repairs
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Feel, Hear, See, Smell 1a

When you have a problem with your car you detect it with one of your senses. Either you feel something wrong, hear something, see something or smell something wrong. This is one of a series of articles that will help you interpret what you are sensing and come up with some possible cause of the problem.

» Part 1: Engine Hesitates
» Part 2: Veering
» Part 3: Tires Wobble
» Part 4: Brake Pedal Hard
» Part 5: Hard Gear Change
» Part 6: Hard Steering
» Part 7: Delayed Shifting
» Part 8: No Gears
» Part 9: Little/No Air Flow

This week we'll look at some of the things you can feel are wrong with your car. As you drive you can feel many things in your car and when something is not right, you will usually feel it. It just doesn't feel right or different from how it normally feels.

As with any car problem, the causes can range from a mere inconvenience to major repair. Here are some things to look for when you have a car that doesn't handle or respond properly.

You should note that these are the most likely causes of a particular problem, but not necessarily the cause of the problem you are experiencing. Some of the possible causes listed may not even apply to your vehicle.

  • Engine Hesitates:

    When you step on the gas there is a moment when nothing happens and then the engine picks up.

    Possible causes:
    1. You may have a dirty air filter: Replace air filter.

    2. The spark plugs may be dirty or worn: Clean or replace spark plugs.

    3. The spark wires may be bad: Replace spark plug wires.

    4. There may be some other type of ignition problem: Bad ignition module, distributor pick up. An engine scope is the best way to diagnose an ignition problem.

    5. If you have a carburetor, you may have a bad accelerator pump or power circuit: Overhaul or replace carburetor.

    6. The fuel filter may be clogged: Replace fuel filter.

    7. You may have water in the gasoline: Drain tank and refill with fresh, clean gasoline.

    8. Your catalytic converter may be clogged: Replace catalytic converter.


  • The Engine Surges Or Misfires While Moving:

    The engine seems to start fine and will normally accelerate fine. As you are driving and maintaining a steady speed, the engine seems to "speed up" slightly or it seems to miss and buck.

    Possible causes:
    1. If you have a carburetor, the choke may not be set properly, or the choke may not be working correctly: Check the choke plate and make sure it is opening completely.

    2. The engine may be running too hot: Check and repair cooling system.

    3. The fuel pressure regulator may be operating at too low of a pressure: Check fuel pressure with a fuel pressure gauge. Replace fuel pressure regulator. (Generally not a DIY job)

    4. The ignition timing may be set wrong: Adjust ignition timing.

    5. There may be some type of ignition problem: Check and replace distributor cap, rotor, ignition wires and spark plugs.

    6. There may be a fault in the computerized engine control system: Check engine control systems with a scan tool. Test circuits and repair or replace components as required. (Generally not a DIY job)

    7. The fuel filter may be partially clogged: Replace the fuel filter.

    8. The torque converter in the transmission may not be locking at the right time, or it may be slipping: Check lock up circuit or replace torque converter. (Not a DIY job)

    9. There may be a vacuum leak: Check and replace vacuum lines as required.

    10. The engine may have mechanical problems: Check compression to determine engine condition.

    11. The EGR valve may be stuck open: Replace EGR valve.

    12. The drive axles may be loose or worn: Check and replace CV/universal joints as required.

    13. The fuel injectors may be dirty: Clean or replace fuel injectors.


  • Bouncing:

    When you hit a bump the car continues to bounce for a while after hitting the bump. The problem seems to get worse over time.

    Possible causes:
    1. Shock absorbers are bad: Replace shocks or shock mounts.

    2. Shock mounts are broken: Replace shock mounts.


  • Pulling:

    When you are driving down a road, the car wants to drift to one side or the other. To keep the car moving in a straight line you must keep moving the steering wheel or hold it firmly in position. This problem usually appears gradually. Most times a slight drifting to one side or other is often overlooked and only severe pulling is noticed.

    Possible causes:
    1. All of the car's tires do not have the same air pressure: Check and adjust tire pressures to specification.

    2. The wheels are out of alignment: Get a front end or four wheel alignment.

    3. One brake is dragging or isn't releasing: Front brake calipers may be bad, replace brake calipers.

    4. Loose steering parts and/or linkage: Inspect front end and replace worn parts.

    5. The car's tires are not worn evenly. Rotate or replace tires.


  • Wandering:

    As you are driving, you notice that you must constantly correct the direction of the car by turning the steering wheel. The problem seems to increase the faster you travel. This problem may occur gradually and get worse over time or it may appear suddenly.

    Possible causes:
    1. The car is overloaded, or the weight on one side is much greater than the weight on the other side: Even the weight load or remove excess weight from the vehicle.

    2. The wheels are out of alignment: Get a front end or four wheel alignment.

    3. The car's springs are weak: Replace springs.

    4. The steering gear is out of adjustment or needs to be replaced: Adjust or replace steering gear as required.

    5. The front wheel bearings are out of adjustment or are severely worn: Adjust or replace wheel bearings as required.

Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3       » Part 4
Part 5       » Part 6       » Part 7       » Part 8
Part 9

Additional Information provided courtesy of
ALLDATAdiy.com and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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