We count on so much to function. We rely on the oven to cook our dinner, the lights to turn on when we flip the switch, our TV to deliver the latest news, and the car to turn on.
We sure don’t count on a dead battery when we’re running late to the office meeting to give the quarterly report.
Sometimes things happen: our alarm didn’t go off, we hit the snooze too many times, spilled coffee all over our new dress shirt, and is the car doing its job? No, it’s sitting there dead. We turn the key, and what do we get? Nothing. Zilch. Nada. What are we supposed to do, fix the car ourselves?
We could call an Uber; that’s one possibility.
Or we could call a mechanic, assuming we know one. A pro who stands behind their work. Not a mechanic who’s going to do half the job and then stick it to us by burning a hole in our wallet. You want the job done right, and you want an iron-clad guarantee. No fixing stuff that doesn’t need fixing or causing more problems so that you’ll be back.
You shouldn’t be without wheels. Not in this day and age, when there’s a repair shop on every corner. The problem is, will they come to you? And if they will come to you, will it be when you need them? Not next week, not even three days from now. You don’t have time to wait until they get around to it.
We’ve all been there. We’ve found a way to work, but we still have an issue with the car at the end of the day, and we feel your pain. It could be your starter, alternator, a loose cable, or something more serious. Chances are you probably won’t know what’s going on. So, what do you do now?
Riddle this. Question: what’s louder than a car that fails to start when you turn the key? Answer: A vehicle that’s dead in the water. It’s the loud sound of no sound.
There are other sounds; just because your car speaks a different language doesn’t mean it’s not talking to you.
What’s your car trying to tell you? Do you know the sounds? You know, the ones that will leave you on the side of the road in the sweltering summer heat? Or in the winter, when your heater is more of an ice cube than a hot stove?
Here are a few of those sounds:
- No sound when you turn the key; most likely, it’s your alternator.
- Clicking, but it’s not turning over; it could be you’re having an issue with your starter.
- All drivers need to learn to listen to their car, such as grating, whining, scraping, banging, starting, stopping, and hesitating.
You may not know what’s wrong, and that’s okay. Here are a few hints.
There are many reasons your car might not start – some you may be familiar with; others, not so much.
Causes of Vehicle Malfunction:
All kinds of things can affect your car’s functioning.
- Flat tire: this one speaks for itself. If the wheels don’t spin, you’re stuck until you can get the tire changed.
- Loose starter wiring: let’s say your engine gets just enough juice to start, but that’s it. It might also explain why the dashboard lights are on and off. A short can play havoc with connections; better get this one checked.
- Starter connections are corroded or dirty. If the starter fails to turn, the connectors inside the solenoid may need cleaning. Otherwise, they will eventually wear out.
- Batteries can be affected by corrosion, which can reduce their lifespan.
- Oil leak: cars don’t like running without oil. To prevent oil problems, repair the leak and replace the starter as soon as possible.
- Contaminants and pollutants such as dirt and debris are common causes of ignition relay failure. You’ll want to have the ignition inspected periodically.
But let’s say you know cars and how to fix common issues. Even though you didn’t cause the engine to fail, there are some maintenance things you can do to prevent your car from dying in your driveway:
- Cleaning the connectors can prevent corrosion from blocking the connection. If the connectors corrode, it can result in shortages that can permanently damage them and cause your car to break down.
- While driving, vibrations can loosen the bolts and displace the tensions. So tighten them up!
- Getting a regular tune-up helps keep your injectors from going bad.
- Give your car a drink! Get a regular oil change. The oil is the blood of the vehicle – the literal lifeline. So have it changed regularly.
Because your time is valuable, you want to ask around and get recommendations from a trusted source. You’ll also want to get a list of good certified mechanics in your area so you’ll have a number ready if something does happen.