You get up in the morning. You realise that you are late for work. You do your morning things in a rush. You finally get ready. You go to your car. And your car starts behaving rather strange.
Here are some common car troubles and their solutions, explained as simple as possible:
1. Your new battery is dead.
Cause - It's not your new battery. It is your alternator.
Solution - Replace the alternator, or sometimes you might only have to replace the connections.
2. Some new rattle inside the car.
Cause - You've hit a hump/pothole large enough to shake some parts loose.
Solution - Locate the sound source. Buy some sound deadening adhesive (If you are a miser, you can go for a chewing gum for small applications). Apply it to places yourself, only if you can put back the parts you pull out.
3. White exhaust smoke.
Cause - Coolant or Engine oil is leaking into the combustion chamber, due to a faulty gasket.
Solution - You can't fix it! Call the service guys, and ensure that you don't run the engine too much.
4. There is some odd fluid smell in your garage.
Cause - Probably some fluid leak somewhere. Check the floor under the car.
Solution - If there are stains on your garage floor, there is obviously a leakage. It is better to drive carefully to the local mechanicif the leak isn't too bad. Trying to fix things yourself, might prove to be a mistake in this case.
5. The steering wheel is vibrating.
Cause - Unbalanced wheel, probably due to some rough road action. In worst cases, it's a faulty steering rack.
Solution - Balance the wheel. Do wheel alignment too for your inner satisfaction.
6. Squeals from under the bonnet.
Cause - The serpentine belt (or fan belt as you may have heard), is slipping.
Solution - Buy a belt recommended for that engine; Can be replaced by loosening either the alternator or the tensioner.
7. Overheating of the engine.
Cause - Low coolant level, coolant leakage or a faulty thermostat (Device that controls the flow of coolant from the radiator to the engine)
Solution - Use a temporary sealant which can withstand high temperatures, to close leaks (while the engine is cold); buy some coolant and fill it in the car. If nothing works, call the mechanic.
8. Your car won't start, still.
Cause - Faulty spark plugs.
Solution - Unless the engine is placed too far for you to access, you can replace the old plugs, using deep socket wrenches.
9. Squeals while braking.
Cause - Brake pads are faded, or there is a lot of brake dust on the discs/drums.
Solution - Replacing the brake pads might sound easy, but it needs the right tooling.
10. AC not working.
Cause - Low refrigerant, or a leaking AC hose.
Solution - It's better to leave this to people who know what they are doing, since refrigerants are usually toxic.
So these are the things you might face in your not-so-worst scenarios. Some of them you can fix, and some of them you would think that you can fix, but you cannot. But in general, it is always better to call the local mechanic to do stuff you clearly do not have an idea about.