Acquiring a vehicle is a fairly easy task.
. . the tough bit comes later. You are already late, but never
mind. You'll be there, not exactly on time, but yeah, almost.
Then, calamity strikes . . . the vehicle refuses to move . .
. grunts, groans, fumes, and stops. Why, oh why . . . Maybe
because you forgot that it too needs to be looked after, maintained,
"regular servicing . . . ." Were those the words?
The best and most efficient method of knowing
about your car and keeping track of it is through the owner's
manual which provides complete information on how to go about
it. You can inspect your car every time you enter it, or on
a daily or weekly basis or at intervals specified in the manual.
And sometimes it helps to turn off the music and listen to the
sounds your car makes as you drive.
In this section, we deal with those facts that are not mentioned
in the manual and give a few while-driving tips.
At times, strange smells may emanate from inside your car. The
possible causes may be:
Strange smells are an early warning signal
that need to be heeded if much more time and money are to be saved
- Musty odors indicate the existence of some
trapped water, usually under the carpet. This will ruin the
carpet and also speed up corrosion. The proper solution would
be to remove the carpets and dry up both the carpet and the
floor. It could also indicate a mouse living in your car.
If you live in a rural area, set traps inside the car at night
in the fall when these rodents are seeking a home for the
- Smoky smells are of various kinds. Electrical
smoky smells are the most dangerous and it is advisable to
shut down, open the hood, disconnect the batteries and seek
professional help. Other smoky smells may occur when the sound
or heat proof lining inside the engine space burns. Trace
- Fuel smells occurs either when the fuel
tank venting gets choked or if there has been an overflow.
- Sometimes oil or exhaust smells from the
engine occur. This maybe caused either due to too much engine
oil, or if the engine oil has grown old and is burning, or
if it has been overheated.
- A typical sweaty smell emanates when varnish
is being burnt which occurs when your dynamo or alternator
is about to die and would usually be accompanied by flickering
- Burning rubber smells tend to come when
you drive with your brakes on. Overheated tires may also be
tend to be sidelined in the bustle and din of our roads, and by
the car stereo playing in the background. However, if the problem
persists, the car will make its condition known every time you
take a corner or ride over a bump. Some easily recognizable sounds
- Strange clicking while taking a turn from
the front wheels means that the front shaft is about to fall
apart. Get it fixed before it actually does.
- A fan-belt squeal means that another one
- Rhythmic clicks from the wheel indicate faulty
bearings at worst or just large pebbles stuck in the tread pattern
at the best.
- A change in engine tone usually indicates
engine overheating, especially if you have been driving at constant
speeds for a long time. Stopping or varying the engine speed
should be enough if there is no severe problem. Otherwise, let
the car cool down and then check radiator and water levels.
- Backfiring while normal driving means serious
problems and should be properly investigated. Promptly.
- Engine knocks means that it is time to get
into a lower gear. If it persists, however, it is time to get
your engine and engine oil checked.
At times, your car give personal signals
which can be deciphered by only the user. Strange 'hiccups' while
driving indicate faulty fuel which would in turn cause faulty
carb or fuel injection. If there is unequal or wrong air pressure
in tires, it is evident on braking. Unexplained shudders in braking
indicate problems in suspension or linkages.
Finally, you can avoid strange repair bills if you have been going
in for regular check ups!
Check out these other sections: Car
Parts That Need Regular Care and More