- If a problem develops with your car, getting it fixed by professionals can be expensive.
- While some issues will always need an expert eye, others can be identified and mended yourself.
- The latest diagnostic tools and equipment can read and interpret fault codes from a variety of car makes and models.
Is your car behaving badly? Acting strangely? Then it is time to get to the bottom of it with this quick checklist of five alternative ways to find the fault with your car!
There are many times when our cars may have unusual niggles, quirks, or complaints. But it is of course important to judge when these may be unsafe, or an indication of something seriously wrong. In these cases, please ensure you take your car to a reputable garage for an expert opinion.
But otherwise, if you are keen to solve a minor problem yourself, boost your motoring experience as well as your overall knowledge of your car, then the five tips below are a great starting point.
1. Keep A Record
Problems with our car may be subtle or insignificant at first. It can be hard to keep track or understand what triggers and relieves them without first paying close attention. That is why it is important to begin keeping a record at the first sign of trouble.
This can include making a note of any unusual sounds, sights, or burning smells, for example, as well as when they happen and what seems to trigger them. It could be that you experience a problem when accelerating, for example, or after a particular type of weather.
Issues with brakes or braking should be taken straight to an expert or a garage to ensure the safety of driver and passengers. But if the car is otherwise functioning optimally, then begin keeping your own records.
After a few drives or days, you may be able to see a pattern that gives you a strong indication of what is causing — or exacerbating — the issue.
2. Do Your Own Research
Problem-solving and troubleshooting can be fun and rewarding if undertaken sensibly. After noticing and keeping a record of your problem, it can then be a good time to do your own research.
A good place to start is with the manual of the car itself. This can often include details that we may first overlook, such as what certain warning lights mean on the dashboard, for example, or other issues to be aware of.
The manufacturer website can also be helpful, as can general car maintenance and troubleshooting guides. It may not be as fast as simply typing your problem into an online search engine, but you will get answers more specific to your type of car and be saved the time of sifting through sites that may not be relevant.
3. Ask Online
While filtering through online information can be slightly overwhelming, the advantage it has over information presented in print is that it can be easily updated. Researching or asking about your problem online is bound to retrieve the most up-to-date answers — especially if you use the manufacturer’s website or a knowledgeable forum.
When seeking the answer to a detailed problem or question be as specific as you can; this will help to ensure that you are not bombarded with general information. Be discerning with reliable sources — trusting only reputable websites — and when in doubt do not hesitate to seek the advice of your garage.
Then, you can proceed to tip number 4!
4. Consult An Expert
For many drivers, the simplest and most effective way to troubleshoot a problem with their car is to take it straight to an expert.
Whether your issue is large or small, the most reputable garages will be able to provide you with answers not only on what is causing the problem, but also how to manage or correct it. If this requires specialised parts, repairs, or maintenance, they can give you a quote and advise how best to proceed.
Through reading and research you can become more knowledgeable and capable, but industry experts are always there to help you too.
5. Get Technical!
Whether at home or through a reliable garage, one of the most sophisticated ways to solve a problem with your car is to use diagnostic fault-finding or specialised software. The latest diagnostic tools and equipment can read and interpret fault codes from a variety of car makes and models.
Once this has been correctly identified, you can then create a specific strategy and course of action to get you back on the road!