CAR PROBLEMS: DIAGNOSING CAR TROUBLE

Certified Service Can Fix Your Car Problems by Diagnosing Your Car Trouble

Car trouble symptoms can indicate minor or major car problems with your vehicle. This glossary of terms should help you identify your vehicle's symptom and assist you when discussing your concerns with your Certified Service technician.


BRAKES

Brake fade

Stopping distance seems to increase, causing longer braking distance, similar to braking at high speeds.

Low brake pedal

Brake pedal must be pushed unusually far to engage brakes.

Brake pedal pulsation

Brake pedal fluctuates while brakes are applied.

Grabs

Vehicle has a tendency to move right or left when brakes are applied; brakes engage suddenly when applying steady pressure to brake pedal.


ENGINE

Cuts out

Temporary complete loss of power. Engine quits at irregular intervals. May occur repeatedly or intermittently, usually under heavy acceleration.

Detonation

Mild to severe pings, usually worse under acceleration. Sounds like popcorn popping.

Dieseling

Engine runs after ignition switch is turned off. Runs unevenly and may make knocking noises.

Hesitation

Momentary lack of response as accelerator is pressed. Can occur at any speed. Usually most severe when starting from complete stop. May cause engine to stall.

Miss

Pulsation or jerking that changes with engine speed. Exhaust has a steady spitting sound at idle or low speed. Not normally felt above 30 mph.

Rough idle

Engine runs unevenly at idle. Car may also shake.

Sluggish

Engine delivers limited power under load or at high speed. Won't accelerate as fast as normal. Loses speed going up hills. Vehicle has less speed than normal.

Spongy

Little or no increase in speed when accelerator is pushed down. Continuing to push pedal down will eventually give an increase in speed.

Stall

Engine stops running or dies out. May occur at idle or while driving.

Surge

Vehicle speeds up and slows down with no change on accelerator pedal. Can occur at any speed.


STEERING & HANDLING

Bottoming

Suspension moves to extreme end of travel and hits compression bumpers. Feels like a heavy thud.

Excessive play

Steering wheel must be turned unusually far before vehicle responds.

Hard steering

Vehicle difficult to steer, especially during parking situations or when first started.

Pulls

Vehicle moves to one side when steering wheel is released.

Shimmy

Rapid side-to-side motion of both front wheels felt in steering wheel.

Sway/pitching

Mushy or spongy ride; vehicle takes a long time to recover from bumps in the road.

Vibration

Vehicle shakes.

Wanders

Vehicle meanders, requiring frequent steering adjustments to maintain direction.


ODORS & STAINS

Antifreeze or coolant leak

Sweet odor, usually accompanied by steam from under the hood.

Axle leaks

Black stains with heavy, thick consistency.

Burning oil

Thick, heavy odor, sometimes accompanied by smoke from under the hood or from the exhaust.

Coolant streaks

Yellow, green, pink, or orange stains that are lighter and thinner than oil.

Crankcase, oil, power-steering
 fluid leaks

Brownish stains.

Electric short

Acrid odor, like burned toast.

Emission

Continuous, heavy sulfur odor-like rotten eggs.

Overheated brakes or clutch

Burning rubber odor.

Overheating

Hot, metallic odor usually accompanied by antifreeze/coolant odor.

Transmission oil leaks

Reddish stains.


Car Battery Replacement
Oil Change: 5-Quart Oil Change, Tire Rotation, and Vehicle Inspection for $39.95
Brake Service, Brake Repair and Brake Replacement