There absolutely is a place for common sense when it comes to diagnostics. There is much you can do on your own and it always helps when you can share with us, your trusted auto repair facility, as much as you can about what you’ve come up with using your common sense when it comes to diagnosing the issues your vehicle is presenting.
First off, it’s essential to care for your vehicle and regularly take it in for preventative maintenance. There are some simple, do it yourself, diagnostics that you perform from the comfort of your home. These DIY tests can assist you in determining whether you need to bring your vehicle into your favorite automotive repair shop. These tests can help communicate, locate, or diagnose a problem with your car to your mechanic.
All you need for these tests are your natural senses: feel, hear, see, or smell. There will not be any taste tests involved! These tests will help you be more specific in describing what issues your vehicle is having.
Start with the feels: that is describing what your car feels like when you drive. Is your vehicle smooth on the road or does it vibrate and shake when you brake. You should make a note if your car tends to pull to one side or another. If you feel something abnormal while driving then there is a problem, and those feelings won’t magically go away. If you feel vibrations when braking, that could mean your brakes are warped or might need to be replaced.
Listen to your car; it will let you know if something is wrong. Do you hear screeching, squealing, rattles or thuds? A high pitched squeal, hiss, or heavy knocking noise isn’t typical. Write down these noises and describe them as best as you can.
The next thing is to look at and around your vehicle. This doesn’t mean popping the hood and looking at all the parts that make your vehicle run; it means to look at the exterior. Is one or more of your tires low? A flat tire is the most obvious issue to spot. You can perform the penny test to check the tread of your tires. Place a penny head first into various tread grooves on the tire. If you can see President Lincoln’s head, then that means your tire treads are too shallow, worn down, and in need of replacement. You want Lincoln's head to be covered, that means your tread is more than 2/32 of an inch deep. Look for fluid under your parked car: if you see oil or another liquid, it might be an indication that there is a number of potential issues under the hood. Absolutely bring your vehicle into the shop if a warning light comes on or if you have smoke coming out of either your exhaust pipe or hood.
Using your sense of smell is also helpful when diagnosing the problem with your car. If your car smells like burnt engine oil, that probably indicates you have an oil leak. If you smell gas and you’re not at a gas station, then there might be a leak in your gas tank or the gas line. A car isn’t supposed to smell bad while driving. If you smell anything out of the ordinary, then something is wrong. These smells often smell like mildew or rotten eggs.
You don’t have to be a professional mechanic to perform these basic tests. Just by using your common sense and natural senses you can isolate what part of your vehicle is having issues and better communicate what is wrong. If your vehicle fails any of these tests, then it is time to bring your car into Complete Automotive. Make your appointment today!