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Most modern cars are dependable and last for a long time. Is that true? If it is, still they are not free of problems. From simple maintenance questions to more serious ones, like breaking down on the road, we put together some important tips that help to prevent headaches.
Why is the check engine light on?
Follow these instructions to know what to do when warning lights are on.
- If your car doesn’t start and the engine doesn’t turn – Make sure you have gasoline in the gas tank. If yes, test an electric device, like the windshield wiper, for example. If it does not work, verify the battery connections and clean them if they look corroded. Test the battery to see if it has enough charge in it. If it still doesn’t help, test the starter and softly depress the accelerator pedal while doing it. If nothing helped so far, it is time to call a mechanic.
- Car does not start, but the engine turns slowly – If the engine turns and makes a click or a strident sound, it may indicate a failed starter or alternator, or the battery cannot keep charge. Verify if any light was on when you tried to start your car. Check the battery date and test if there is some charge in the battery. Try jumping the battery (connect jumper cables to the battery and to an external battery) to see if the car can start. If the car starts this way, you must determine if the cause of the problem is really the battery.
- Car shakes when driving – This can be the result of a bad tire. Inspect them closely to see if you can notice an uneven tire surface or metal wires coming out of the rubber. If you don’t see anything abnormal, put gloves on and gently slide your hand all around the tire surface and sidewalls, trying to feel if there is any protuberance. If you can’t find the problem, contact a trustful mechanical shop.
- Intermittent dashboard lights – Problems starting your car may have all to do with dashboard warning lights. Restart the car computer by disconnecting the battery cables. Leave the cables off the battery for at least 10 minutes. Next, reconnect them. Start the car as you would normally do to see if the lights stop flashing. Bring the car to your mechanic if the lights are still flashing.
- Windshield wipers and lights don’t work – if one or more of those accessories suddenly stop working, verify the fuses. The car owner’s manual will tell you where to find them, which fuse to which car function and the correct size for each of them.
Remove the old fuse. Verify if the metal thread inside the plastic housing is broken. Replace it with a new one, if necessary.