HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR CAR!!!
The more you know about your vehicle, the more likely you’ll be able to head off repair problems. You can detect many common vehicle problems by using your senses: eyeballing the area around your vehicle, listening for strange noises, sensing a difference in the way your vehicle handles, or even noticing unusual odors.
Looks like Trouble
Small stains or an occasional drop of fluid under your vehicle may not mean much. But wet spots deserve attention; check puddles immediately.
You can identify fluids by their color and consistency:
• Yellowish green, pastel blue or fluorescent orange colors indicate an overheated engine or an antifreeze leak caused by a bad hose, water pump or leaking radiator.
• A dark brown or black oily fluid means the engine is leaking oil. A bad seal or gasket could cause the leak.
• A red oily spot indicates a transmission or power-steering fluid leak.
• A puddle of clear water usually is no problem. It may be normal condensation from your vehicle’s air conditioner.
Smells like Trouble
Some problems are under your nose. You can detect them by their odor:
• The smell of burned toast — a light, sharp odor — often signals an electrical short and burning insulation. To be safe, try not to drive the vehicle until the problem is diagnosed.
• The smell of rotten eggs — a continuous burning-sulfur smell — usually indicates a problem in the catalytic converter or other emission control devices. Don’t delay diagnosis and repair.
• A thick acrid odor usually means burning oil. Look for the sign of a leak.
• The smell of gasoline vapors after a failed start may mean you have flooded the engine. Wait a few minutes before trying again. If the odor persists, chances are there’s a leak in the fuel system — a potentially dangerous problem that needs immediate attention.
• Burning resin or an acrid chemical odor may signal overheated brakes or clutch. Check the parking brake. Stop. Allow the brakes to cool after repeated hard braking on mountain roads.