7 Most Common Car Problems: How They Can Lead to Major Issues

It is widely agreed upon that waking up to discover a car issue is one of the worst ways to start your day. It is also known that to help avoid these common car problems, it is important and highly recommended that you routinely take your vehicle to an auto shop for service and maintenance. However, most people will still experience an unexpected car issue in their lifetime, regardless of how well they take care of their vehicle. To help you avoid surprise vehicle issues, we will go over 8 common car problems. We hope that this list of some of the most common car problems will help reduce the potential for your car to break down, as well as help you avoid expensive car repair fees.

  1. Check Engine Light: One of the most common car issues people experience is the dreadful Check Engine Light. These lights are triggered and lit up when the vehicle’s engine control unit or ECU detects an error code triggered by a given sensor. Since there are over 200 possible warning codes, when this light comes on, we recommend having a professional mechanic complete a warning light inspection. Unless you have extensive vehicle mechanic experience, this is the best way to determine the source of the problem so you can make sure the correct repairs are made.
  2. Dead Battery: Although most modern car batteries should last around five years or 50,000 miles, battery issues are one of the most common car repair problems. A dead battery is usually caused by reduced amps, which naturally decrease as the battery gets older and loses its ability to maintain a strong charge. The following are other things that can lead to a dead battery.
      • Leaving headlights, interior lights, flashers, and/or the radio on when the car isn’t running
      • Using the air conditioner when the car is not running
      • Not starting a car for long periods of time
      • Lack of battery maintenance
      • Low air temperature, which causes batteries to freeze
      • A damaged alternator, battery temperature sensor, or other charging system components
  3. Flat Tire: Although it is common for a tire to deflate over time, most tires become flat after being punctured by an object such as a nail. Most punctures can be fixed with a tire repair kit or patch, but large punctures or slashes generally warrant a tire replacement. However, it’s also possible for simple wear and tear to be a main cause of a flat tire. To help extend the lifespan of your tires, be sure to keep them properly rotated. We recommend that you rotate your tires every 5,000 miles (or every time you get an engine oil change) to help prevent unnecessary tire wear and tear.
  4. Worn Brake Pads or Squeaky Brakes: If you ever hear a squeaking or high-pitched squealing sound coming from your brakes, it is likely that your brake pads are either dirty and need to be cleaned or worn down and need to be replaced. But don’t be alarmed, this is a pretty common car issue especially with older vehicles. The brake system is intended to wear out over time with use – some quicker than others depending on how often they are used. Given your vehicle’s brakes are vital to ensure you can safely stop, if you notice any symptoms of worn brake pads, like squealing, squeaking or a soft brake pedal, you should have it inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible for brake repairs if needed.
  5. Broken Starter Motor: The starter motor is the device responsible for cranking your engine to initiate power. When the starting motor fails, it’s usually because the electrical solenoid has been damaged, the starter motor is simply broken, or another electrical fault occurs. Although a starter can be replaced before it breaks, it’s difficult to predict when this will happen. For that reason, if you begin to experience any symptoms of a bad starter like it sounds different than normal or is taking several cranks to start, we recommend having a mechanic inspect your car starter to help determine the problem before assuming the starter needs to be replaced.
  6. Overheating: If you have been driving for a few years, it is pretty safe to say that you have seen someone pulled over on the side of the road with smoke coming from their engine – this is caused by overheating. Thankfully, nowadays, overheating doesn’t  occur as often as you may think. In most modern cars, the cooling systems are very complex, containing multiple sensors that monitor coolant temperature, flow and other components. However, two easy ways to further reduce the potential for overheating issues are staying on top of radiator flush services and maintenance, as well as making sure to change the water pump before it breaks.
  7. Shaky Steering Wheel: If you are experiencing a shaky steering wheel, there are several things that can be causing this issue. If it only happens right after starting your car and beginning to drive, you are likely looking damaged at wheel bearings or damaged suspension components. If it is happening when you reach higher speeds, it is likely a tire/wheel balance issue. Regardless, if you are experiencing a shaky steering wheel, we recommend having a professional mechanic inspect the vehicle to properly diagnose and repair the issue.

If you are experiencing one of the above common car problems, we feel your pain. Given we have a lot of experience fixing these common car issues, if you bring your vehicle in for service, we will be able to quickly diagnose the issue, repair the problem and get you back on the road safely in no time. Call to schedule an appointment today, we would be more than happy to help!