Have you ever woken up one day and your car wouldn't start? Oh, that feeling. It feels like the sky is falling – even if you don't live in a big city. You jump to the conclusion that your battery died, but wait: DON'T go out to buy a new battery unless you want to waste loads of money! There are other things that could be going on with your car, so it's important that you do some troubleshooting before buying a new anything. Follow these steps before assuming your car battery is dead!
Your coolant might be leaking without you noticing
If your coolant is leaking, you may not actually notice it at first. That's especially the case if the leak is happening from a place like the radiator cap or a hose connection. As those slowly leak, it will seem like the coolant is just disappearing over time.
That's a big problem because coolant keeps your engine from overheating, which can cause major damage. If you haven't been keeping an eye on your coolant levels lately, make sure to check them and refill as needed at your next oil change.
Look for a small puddle of green, yellow or orange liquid under your car. If not, check the engine temperature gauge on your dash. If the needle is in the red zone, it's time to pull over and call a tow truck.
A slow coolant leak can cause serious damage to your engine. Even worse, if your radiator or heater core bursts while you're driving, you'll be left stranded with no way to keep the engine from overheating.
You can expect to pay $800 for a new radiator, plus about $150 in labour costs.
Hold on, did you give your car to someone?
Well, that's the first thing you need to recall if your car starts acting weird. Because there might be a chance that your friend got themselves in a troublesome situation and you now have a new problem to deal with. In those cases, another interesting angle that you need to think of is insurance. Some of your family members might be covered in your insurance policy, but maybe your friend isn't. So, you firstly need to understand who can drive with insurance and who can't, if you're thinking of making an insurance claim to cover your problems.
It could be related to a bad transmission
If you have a bad transmission, it will eventually go out completely and leave you stranded. If you're lucky and the transmission simply overheats, you might be able to fix the problem by opening up the hood and letting it cool off for a while.
Other signs of a bad transmission include grinding and shaking when the car is in neutral, or problems shifting gears.
The transmission is one of the most expensive parts of a car to repair. If your car is under warranty, these repairs can be free for you. However, if it's out of warranty, many people simply trade their cars in when they get to this point.
If your car has an automatic transmission, it has a clutch that automatically engages and disengages as necessary. A gearbox with no clutch would be difficult to drive, because there would be no way to disconnect the engine from the wheels while shifting between gears (or stopped at a stoplight).
Your car consumes too much gas and oil
If you own a classic car or say, an old car, then you’re probably used to the fact that it will consume more gas and oil than a modern vehicle. Modern cars are designed to be more fuel efficient, so they consume less gas and oil. You can check how much gas your vehicle is consuming by looking at its miles per gallon (MPG). If your MPG is lower than advertised, then you might need to get an oil change.
Changing the engine oil may be enough to solve the problem of high fuel consumption. However, if your car continues to consume too much gas and oil after the change, then it may have a different issue that requires professional attention.
The gas gauge is not reliable
This is a common one, and it's not just that it's inaccurate — a faulty gas gauge can give you some false information about whether or not your fuel tank is full, or if you have any gas at all. Sometimes the needle will shoot up to "full" when you start up the car and then quickly drop back down to empty. Sometimes the needle will be stuck on "empty" all the time. And sometimes (if you're lucky) it'll be stuck on "full."
The fix for this depends on what's causing the problem. It could be as simple as a defective sender unit in your fuel tank telling the gauge how much gas there is. Or it could be a loose wire between the sender unit and the gauge that's giving intermittent readings. Unfortunately, this also means that it might be a computer module in your car that's malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.
This isn't really dangerous, but it can cause you some anxiety when you're driving around wondering if you have any gas at all — and we've all been there.
There are many reasons why your car might not start. The first logical step to take is to check that the battery is working correctly. If you're worried about what could be going in your engine, this article will help guide you through the process of testing different components and being aware of all the potential scenarios that might be problematic for your car without them being so visible.