The 411 on what your car is saying to you.
Much how we learned how to say “how are you” in Spanish as “Como Estas Usted?” back in high school, we also must learn how to understand our cars and listen to what it is asking of us. We have come up with some signs to look out for when your car “speaks up”.
1. Oil puddles in your parking space.
An oil puddle under your car can mean anything from “it’s very humid today” to “you cross-threaded the oil-drain plug and I’m bleeding to death, help!” When you notice an oil puddle under your car, take notice of the color and the location beneath the underbelly of your car. Slide your finger carefully in the oil puddle, rub the mixture between your fingers.
If it’s watery, it could be from the air conditioner condenser. But if it’s clear and oily, it might be steering wheel fluid. Check for leaks around the pump or power steering rack.
However, if it’s dark and slippery, and you’ve recently had an oil change, it could be a puddle of clean oil resulting from an issue the mechanic created with a damaged oil drain plug or by improper installment of the oil filter
.Reddish-brown fluid with a light oily texture is your automatic transmission telling you that a line running to the trans cooler could have been punctured or the transmission has a seal going bad. If the ATF fluid also has a burnt smell, that transmission probably needs an overhaul.
If you find an oily fluid on the inside sidewall of a tire, it’s probably leaked brake fluid. Leaked brake fluid is a dangerous game to play with, there’s a strong likelihood of air in the brake lines with almost zero braking power ability. Get this checked out immediately!
2. Your car is beatboxing.
Can a car beatbox? They sure can. If you start to hear a high-pitched whining or squealing coming from the engine bay, your car belt might be loose. Belts turn a myriad of devices including power steering, water pump, air conditioning compressor, and alternator. A broken belt will mean the end of your car. Take care of this immediately.
If you’re greeted with a high-pitch squeal when you tap the brake lightly while at speed, you’re brake pads may be worn out. The squeals come from a tab of metal built into the pad that becomes exposed as the material wears away. If the noise changes or goes away, head to the mechanic. If you’ve continued to ignore the squealing brakes and they suddenly go silent, the next noise you’ll hear from them is a powerful grinding. The last of the pad has grounded away and the metal backing plate is now clamping directly onto the brake disc. This could result in an even higher mechanic bill!
If you hear a grinding, clicking, or even a rumbling noise during a tight turn in the parking lot, it’s most likely a failing constant-velocity joint on a front-wheel-drive car. A CV joint allows the front wheels to both receive power and turn. The last thing you need is to ignore this as well.
If your car sounds like it’s quietly laughing at its fate as you drive down the road, a rhythmic chuffing like sound could be the desperate call for help to an exhaust leak. Sometimes pipes separate a bit or a rust hole develops, leading to exhaust gasses escaping ahead of the muffler. It’s important to address this if you prefer to keep the carbon monoxide behind your car rather than boiling up underneath your seat.
If your manual transmission makes a crunching noise between gears, that’s your synchronizers. The synchros get the gear speeds inside your transmission before the meshing goes down, allowing you to shift from first to second without thinking about what’s going on down there. When they wear out, the first place you notice it is usually on the 1-2 shift—if you have to be careful and take your time finding the next gear, that’s a sign that your synchronizers are on the way out.
if you’re driving out on the road in manual and are heading up over a hill and your car’s engine suddenly revs up but your speed stays the same, you might have an issue with the clutch. There may be barely any friction material left on the plates and it might be time for a new clutch. If your automatic does the same thing, you probably may need a transmission rebuild. Yikes!
3. Your tires are making a slapping noise.
Your tires are taking a beating out there on the road, and if you can hear the horrible sound of “slapping”, That my friend, is the sound of a tire tread separating from its carcass of a tire. Pullover safely and immediately, because this could lead to a tire exploding and you could lose control over the steering wheel and the results could be fatal.
We hope this helps you learn how to speak Car a little more fluently. Be safe out on the road, drive safely!
by Leashie V. – Content Creator at Half Full Marketing
Shop for your next car online @ Brevard Value Motors