The Seven Most Common Signs Your Car Needs a Tune-Up
On most vehicles today, malfunctions may be camouflaged by computers who function is to keep the engine running as efficiently as possible as long as possible. When they no longer can compensate for mechanical discrepancies, they may just fail. Then the vehicle is disabled. Period diagnostic checks and maintenance can prevent this sometimes disastrous situation.
  1. Hard Starting - This is the most common form of car trouble. It's usually due t some unperformed maintenance. If the started cranks the engine, the electrical system probably is okay. The culprit could be a starting sensor (on fuel injected models) or the choke mechanism (on engines with carburetors). Frequently, starting failure can be traced to an electrical component or a computer controlled ignition system.
  2. Knocking - This noise generally is heard when the engine is under load, such as when accelerating or climbing a hill. While it often may be caused by a tankful of inferior gas, ignition know is frequently a sign that your engine need attention. It also can be caused by a build-up of carbon inside the engine.
  3. Stalling - This can be caused by incorrect idle speed adjustments, a malfunctioning sensor or switch, dirty fuel system parts, work spark plugs or other engine deficiencies.
  4. Power Loss - How long since the fuel filter was changed? A dirty filter is a common cause of power loss. As noted below, there can be many causes of this condition, most of which can be located with a diagnostic procedure.
  5. Poor Gas Mileage - By keeping check of gas mileage you can tell if your engine is losing efficiency. Increased gas consumption may be accompanied by other symptoms listed in this pamphlet. Poor gas mileage may also be due to: underinflated tires, engine running too cold, transmission malfunction, dragging brakes or misaligned wheels.
  6. Dieseling - This also is know as "after run." The engine keeps chugging and coughing for several seconds or more after the ignition is shut off. Causes can range from inferior gas to excessive idle speed. Carbon in the combustion chamber also may cause dieseling.
  7. Exhaust Odor - The smell of rotten eggs comes form the catalytic converter, part of your car's emissions control system. The odor can be due to an engine problem or it can be a sign your car's catalytic converter is malfunctioning.