I've been involved with car auto mechanics for many years, and I've lost track of the number of times friends have asked " what is wrong with my car?". Well automobile maintenance and automotive repairs are not that daunting. This article gives an overview of car troubleshooting, and a brief DIY car repair guide.
Help, where do I start?
Fixing cars falls into two distinct areas, identifying the problem and effecting a repair. Oddly, it is identification that is the difficult part. How to fix it, is something that anyone can master with enough time and a good vehicle repair manual. One of these manuals, either printed/ online, is a vital tool for the home mechanic. It will also show you how to service a car, thus improving reliability. Most problems with cars can be broken down into either mechanical or electrical. Generally speaking, mechanical faults tend to produce a noise of some description, whereas electrical issues don't.
What's the problem?
Most mechanical noises can be traced by the simple act of concentration. If it occurs when stationary you can generally rule out suspension and transmission. This narrows things down to the engine and its ancillaries. With the bonnet open you should be able to tell the approximate area of concern. Make a note of the engine parts around the noise and then refer to the manual or consult your online mechanics.
If the noise occurs when in motion, firstly:
Remove anything from the car and boot.
Open the windows and, with a passenger in the vehicle, go for a short test-drive and try to ascertain from where the noise is coming.
Knocking over bumps will tend to indicate suspension faults, grating is usually connected with braking or prop and drive shafts. Electrical faults are far more complex to diagnose, but don't let this put you off trying. Check that fuses are intact, and that relays are clicking in operation.
Ensure that all connections are secure, and that the battery is fully charged.
A basic multimeter is a godsend, and should come with instructions for use.
What to do next.
So, you've identified the area of concern, and think you know what the problem is, but how do you mend it? Following your car manual closely and with basic tools, you should be able to tackle most automobile repair tasks by yourself. Take your time, and double check everything, and you'll be surprised on what you can achieve. If you don't feel capable, then resort to one of the many car and auto repair shops for advice and assistance. Your confidence and knowledge gained will help to ensure that you don't get ripped off, so your time will still have been well spent.