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Feel, Hear, See, Smell 3c

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: Warning Lights
» Part 2: Warning Lights
» Part 3: Spots, Streaks
» Part 4: Spots, Streaks
» Part 5: Smoke
» Part 6: Tire Wear
» Part 7: Lights Not Working
» Part 8: Lights Not Working
» Part 9: Lights Not Working
» Part 10: Dome/Map Light
» Part 11: Body/Paint
» Part 12: Wiper Problems

Warning Lights And Gauges

  • Your Check Engine Or Service Engine Light Comes On Or Stays On:
    This is an area of much confusion since most manufacturers, until recently, have called this light by different names. This light also adds to confusion because the manufacturers have different systems that are monitored by this light circuit. In most cases, this warning light is part of the electronic engine control circuit. When the light comes on, it means that the car's computer has detected something wrong in the control system. The lamp remains lit until the problem is corrected. However on some systems, this light simply means there is a problem. The check engine or service engine light may suddenly come on and remain on, or it may come on and go out after a period of time.

    Possible causes:
    1. The engine's computer has detected a problem in the system: Access computer codes to determine cause of problem.

    2. The engine has a serious problem that should be repaired at once: Determine problem and repair.

    3. The engine's oil pressure is extremely low: Repair or replace oil pump. Rebuild engine.

    4. The engine is overheating: Determine cause of overheating and repair.


  • Water Temperature Light On Or Gauge In Danger Zone:
    Water temperature light is on or the engine temperature gauge is in the danger zone.

    Possible causes:
    1. The engine's coolant level may be too low: Refill cooling system with proper type of coolant for your engine.

    2. Cooling fan or cooling system problem: Repair cooling fan and/or repair cooling system.


  • Transmission Overheats:
    The transmission smells after you have driven it for a while. There may also be some slippage while driving. When you check the fluid level, the fluid smells burnt.

    Possible causes:
    1. The fluid level in the transmission is low: Refill with proper type fluid.

    2. The transmission's oil vents are clogged with dirt or undercoating: Check and clear transmission vents.

    3. Your transmission oil cooler is bad: Replace transmission oil cooler.

    4. Wrong type of fluid, or the fluid is contaminated: Flush fluid, replace filter and refill with proper type transmission fluid.

    5. There is an internal problem in the transmission: Repair or replace transmission as required.

    6. Your transmission filter is clogged: Flush fluid, replace filter and refill with proper type transmission fluid.

    7. You have an engine problem: Check engine and repair.


  • Charging System Warning Lamp Flickers:
    As you are driving you notice the charging system warning light or the charging gauge on your dash flickers. The charging system seems okay, but the flickering needle or light says different.

    Possible causes:
    1. Your alternator is bad: Replace alternator assembly.

    2. Your voltage regulator is bad: Replace voltage regulator.

    3. The drive belt for the alternator is loose or broken: Tighten or replace drive belt.

    4. There is a wiring problem in the charging circuit: check and repair wiring.


    Spots, Streaks, Fluid

  • The Car Uses More Oil Than Normal. Oil Puddles Under The Car:
    You notice that the oil level is low between oil changes. You also notice puddles of oil under the car. It seems obvious that the loss of oil is due to oil leaks.

    Possible causes:
    1. The PCV system is not working properly: Check and repair PCV system as required.

    2. The engine may have mechanical problems: Check engine and repair.

    3. The engine's seals may be damaged: Replace seals.

    4. The oil filter may not be tightened properly or over tightened: Tighten or replace oil filter.

» Part 1       » Part 2       » Part 3       » Part 4
Part 5       » Part 6       » Part 7       » Part 8
Part 9       » Part 10     » Part 11      » Part 12
Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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