Man repairing the car

If it’s your first time driving a vehicle, it can be a challenge to trace problems back to their source and distinguish various car issues. Is that whirring sound an engine or an exhaust system problem? Is that strange smell coming from inside or outside your car? When you are a newbie, troubleshooting can leave you in a bind.

Let’s look at the minor signs of car problems, and try to see which major component to trace them back to. If you can’t figure out the problem, you might be driving a European car. Bring the car to a reliable service center in Salt Lake City, Utah or any near location for European auto repair and diagnostics.

There’s a strange sound from under the hood – engine issues

There are many possible reasons behind a scratching, whirring, or sputtering sound under the hood. However, the worst reason you should look out for is a possible engine malfunction.

If you hear a high-pitched squeal right before you turn off the engine, it’s time to replace or readjust your serpentine belt, alternator, or a worn pulley on a steering pump, water pump, or compressor. A worn rubber gasket could also be the culprit.

If it sputters in a patchy pattern, it could be a sign of engine misfiring. Check your spark plug cables, and either clean or replace them if they are burnt.

mechanic holding tools

The pedal and steering wheel feel funny – brake system issues

If it’s getting harder and harder to push down your pedals to decelerate your car, then it might be a bad sign for your brake system. Needing more pressure and time to stop means your brake pad is starting to wear since it’s taking more to clamp together.

Apart from braking difficulties, you may experience a strange pulsation or vibration from the pedal. This may signify rotor corrosion, in which your brake rotors warp due to constant metal-to-metal contact. Make sure to fix these brake issues as soon as possible to avoid further costs or worse, loss of brakes while driving.

Something is leaking beneath the car – fluid issues

If it’s normal water leaking out of your car, there shouldn’t be a problem. The water comes from your cooling system, exhaust, or windshield washing system.

But if it’s a different liquid leaking from your car, then the case should be treated more urgently. Remember the places you can check for leaks. Inspect your fuel lines for a possible gas leak. For oil leaks, check if your oil gasket is worn or damaged. See if your transmission filler tube has leaks. And perhaps the most important of all, look at your hydraulic lines if it’s a braking fluid leak, and have it repaired immediately.

There’s a funny smell inside the car – exhaust issues

Strange smells coming from inside the car can be due to a variety of issues, including a radiator leak, engine overheating, or mildew growing inside your AC’s evaporator. The most pertinent, however, is an exhaust system problem.

If it’s a burning smell of raw gasoline, it could be the exhaust system not directing the fumes out of the vehicle properly. This might be a problem with the heat shield of your exhaust manifold. Probably due to wear, heat escaping your manifold can cause damage to other parts. It can also be that any of your exhaust pipes or tubes are damaged, and the fumes can’t escape.

Being able to detect these signs is a worthwhile skill to gain as a driver. However, don’t hesitate to run these issues by a trusted mechanic, so you get a more accurate diagnosis, and you can fix the problem as soon as possible.

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