a father assesses the problem with his broken down car as his wife sits roadside with the luggage calling the breakdown truck.takes the children off to school in the morning

Cars are stoic, loyal and uncomplaining. Every day people walk out their front door, climb into their car, start the engine and drive off to their destination without a second thought. There are, however, those rare times when we turn the key and…nothing happens. Maybe there’s a ticking noise. Maybe it does start but there’s a strange vibration coming through the wheel, or the air conditioner doesn’t get cold, or there’s strange lights flashing from the dashboard…

They may be machines, but even cars need a little tlc once in a while, or issues will arise. Let’s take a look at some common car problems.

#1: Overheating engine

It’s a classic image of summer holidays. Bumper to bumper traffic snaking its way down the freeway, and every now and again a car pulled over on the shoulder, bonnet up, smoke billowing. With advancements in technology, this image is becoming rarer, but even modern engines can still overheat.

It could be that your car only needs a top up of coolant. However, the reasons why may be more sinister, such as a leak or faulty hoses. It might, instead, be the radiator fan, specifically the motor or the thermostat. It could even be that the fan has slipped and isn’t rotating correctly. Either way, get it checked by a qualified mechanic.

#2: It just won’t start

Why does this only happen when you’re running late? There are several reasons why a car won’t start. What happens when you turn the key can give a clue. If nothing happens, no lights or sluggish attempts from the engine, it may be a dead battery or alternator or a problem with the battery terminal cable connections. If it sounds like it’s trying but can’t quite get there, it may be spark plugs or a faulty fuel supply.

If a jumpstart gets the car going, then it was in all likelihood a flat battery that’s nearing the end of its life. Get it checked as soon as you can.

#3: Air conditioner not working

It’s a sticky situation when the air conditioner refuses to work and the summer sun is beating on the roof of the car. Most likely you’ve run out of refrigerant. The solution may be as simple as adding more, but if there’s a leak in the system somewhere, then that obviously needs to be attended to first.

This is something that should be done by a qualified mechanic. The system needs to be evacuated of all moisture and oxygen before a carefully measured amount of refrigerant is introduced, along with some lubricating oil for the moving parts.

#4: The car is pulling to one side

If you feel a slight vibration through the steering wheel or the car feels like it’s pulling to one side, you’re most likely in need of a wheel alignment. Your wheels can become misaligned gradually over time due to everyday driving, or more dramatically by driving over potholes and rough surfaces.

Wheel alignment should be checked whenever a tyre is replaced or rotated. Otherwise, a 10,000km check is recommended. If you continue to drive on misaligned wheels, your tyres will wear quicker than necessary.

#5: Prevention is the best medicine

All of these common car problems are potentially avoidable. It simply takes regular check-ups with your trusted mechanic. We can pick up on potential issues before they rear their ugly heads at an inconvenient time.

Of course, if you do find yourself in a pickle, we’re always here to help you out. And if your faithful metal steed hasn’t had a service in some time but everything seems okay, well, you’ve been warned…

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