Free Car Diagnostic

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Steering Feels Loose at High Speeds

Steering Feels Loose at High Speeds

If the steering wheel feels loose and sloppy especially at higher speed, it is an indication of a problem caused by one or more faulty front end components. However, this problem has also been known to be caused by overprinted front tires.

Now, using a tire pressure gauge, check the air pressure of each front tire and compare it to what it's supposed to be (refer to the vehicle's owner's manual if you are unsure of the correct pressure)...

How to Check Tire Air Pressure

The tire tread life will be reduced if the tire air pressure of your car is below the car manufacturer tire air pressure specified on your car owner’s manual.

Read more : How to Check Tire Air Pressure


If the tire pressure reading is significantly higher than normal, the problem is over-inflated tires that causing loose sloppy steering.

Tires that are over-inflated don't "hug" the road well. As a result, they have a tendency to sort of "bounce around" as the vehicle is being driven. Further, the faster the vehicle moves, the more the tires "bounce". This bouncing effect is transmitted to the steering linkage and, hence, results in loose and sloppy steering.

What to do? how to fix loose steering wheel?

Let some air out of each front tire. Refer to the vehicle's owner's manual for the correct air pressure. Doing this should improve the steering problem. However, if it doesn't, the cause probably lies with one or more loose/worn front end components.

If the tire is not higher than normal, then the problem is not over an inflated tire and it could be one or more loose or worn front end components.

Since "overinflated front tires" was ruled out, the only other possibility is something involving the vehicle's "front end". Now... you may be asking, "What exactly is the front end?" Well, very loosely, it's all those bars, rods, levers, and other gizmos underneath the front part of a vehicle. Specifically,

We are referring to such front end components as the tie rod ends, ball joints, and control arms. These parts all contribute to a vehicle's handling performance and are critical towards achieving "tight" steering. If any are loose or worn, the steering will be loose/sloppy.


What to do?

Have a mechanic inspect the front end of this vehicle and make any necessary repairs. Please take care of this problem very soon. Why? Because the loose/sloppy steering means the handling is poor and this spells "hazard". Try to find a garage that is approved by the AAA. Such garages tend to be reputable and, best of all, if you do have a dispute after the work is done, the AAA has a policy to investigate the situation and resolve it.

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Engine Pinging Sound When Driving on Flat Roads and Uphill

Engine Pinging Sound When Driving

While driving on flat roads there is a pinging sound coming from the engine, also pinging sound occurs while driving uphill. Usually, the reason for pinging sound is the use of low-grade gas, other reasons are faulty turbocharger knock sensor, the EGR valve is faulty or spark plug end cover is covered with carbon.

Engine Pinging Sound when Driving Possible Causes

The use of low-grade gas is causing pinging sound
Pinging sound usually causes an engine-related fault, however, there are several causes of pinging sound one of the cause is the use of low-grade gas. Low-grade gas is usually with 88 octanes or below. A gas with low octane burns too easily because it is too combustible and will self-ignite before it reaches the combustion chamber, this phenomenon is called “pre-ignition”. When pre-ignition occurs on the engine, you will hear a pining sound.

When filling your car with gasoline always use a higher octane rating gasoline, usually 92 octanes and above, octane rating is displayed on the front of the gas pump on every gas station.

Can You Put 91 Octane Gasoline In Any Car?
Not all cars can use 91 octane gasoline. Most of the cars produced for the market today use high octane gasoline. If you are not sure about what gasoline octane rating to use for your car, check out your car user manual it indicates what type of fuel to be used for your car.

Read more: Can You Put 91 Octane Gasoline In Any Car?

Faulty turbocharger knocks sensor if the car is equipped with a turbocharger.
Engine with turbocharger has a gadget that is called the knock sensor.

The purpose of this sensor is to determine if there is an occurrence of pinging sound and feedback to the engine computerized control unit which is responsible for adjusting some parameters to eliminate the pinging sound or knocking sound. Now, if the knock sensor is faulty then the engine will likely have pinging sound, it is also possible that the computerized control unit is at fault but this is very rare to happen and if this happens the engine will not run.

Engine Pinging Sound When Driving

Bring the car to a reputable car shop and ask the mechanic to check the knock sensor, if the mechanic found that the knock sensor is faulty have it replaced.

The Exhaust Gas Re-circulation (EGR) Valve is Faulty


When your car is equipped with Exhaust Gas Re-circulation (EGR)

The main purpose of the EGR is to reduce the exhaust output coming from the engine so that air pollution that is coming out the exhaust will also reduce. It works by routing the exhaust gas back into the engine combustion chamber for second burning. The EGR have a component called the EGR valve, the purpose of this valve is to regulate the amount of exhaust gas going inside the combustion chambers, when the EGR valve is stuck on closed position or even partially closed then the exhaust gas that will enter inside the engine combustion chamber will not be enough this will cause the gas to ignite too soon or what is known as pre-ignition which creates pinging sound coming from the engine.

Bring the car to a reputable car shop and ask the mechanic to check on the EGR valve and have it tested. If the EGR valve is the problem then have it replaced.

EGR

Thin Air is causing the pinging sound
When the pinging sound occurs on high altitude only Thin air is causing the pinging sound, when the air is thin it causes the fuel combustion chamber to ignite early before the piston reaches the top of the combustion chamber, these phenomena is called pre-ignition and this is causing the pinging sound coming from the engine.


When you know that you are about to drive uphill on high altitude roads, fill your tank with high octane fuel so that the fuel will not burn too early but instead it will burn slowly and will eliminate pre-ignition. When pre-ignition is eliminated pinging sound is also eliminated.

Spark plug end is covered with carbon (black sooty substance)

Check then spark plug if there is a black sooty substance on its end if the substance is present then it means that there is a carbon deposit from engine combustion chambers. When the operating temperature of the engine reaches some of the carbon deposit will cause the air/fuel mixture to ignite before its pistons reach the top of the combustion chamber. This is called pre-ignition and pre-ignition causes pinging sound from the engine.

Spark Plug

Drive the car for two to three hours on the highway to burn some of the carbon deposit this will minimize the pinging sound. If you want to eliminate the pinging sound then the carbon deposit inside the combustion chamber must be removed, this procedure is called “chemical decarbonization”. This kind of procedure is expensive and should be done by a shop that specialized in this kind of procedure.

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Car Cranks but Wont Start

Car Cranks but Wont Start

The car cranks but won’t start. The possible reason why car cranks but won’t start are  out of gas, broken timing belt, clogged air filter, battery is weak or frozen battery electrolytes.

Out of Gas

When the car cranks faster than normal then it is possible that the car is out of gas, therefore during cranking observe if the car will crank faster than normal then check if the car has fuel. Just fill the car with enough fuel and crank again.

Broken Timing Belt

If the car has enough fuel then the possible problem is that the car timing belt is broken. The broken timing belt can cause the engine compression to become low and since the car has low compression it is the reason why the engine cranks but won’t start. Timing belt ensures the engine valve to close during the combustion of each engine cylinder when the belt is broken there will be no compression in each cylinder thus the car won’t start during cranking.

Car Cranks but Wont Start

Bring the car to a reputable car shop and ask the mechanic to check the timing belt to confirm if it is indeed broken, if the mechanic confirms the broken timing belt then have it replaced.

Clogged Air Filter
If the car cranks normally or is the same as when the car is about to start then the possible problem is a clogged air filter. The clogged air filter is the reason why the car cranks but won’t start because when the air filter is clogged there is not enough air going into the engine, the air filter becomes clogged because of too much dirt in the element, this dirt is preventing the air to go inside the combustion chamber. Since there is not enough air inside the cylinder then it will not start because air is one of the components necessary for combustion.

Now, start the car and observe if the engine cranks the same as when it is about to start. Open the hood and locate the air filter. Removed the air filter then clean it, usually to clean the air filter just spray a pressurized air on the element. Cleaning the air filter is just a temporary solution to the problem.

The permanent solution is to replace the air filter. Normally air filter is replaced every two years, therefore, verify if the air filter installed on your car is past the two years period.

Car Battery is Weak or Battery Terminal is Corroded
If the car cranks slower than normal then the possible problem is a weak battery or the battery terminal is corroded. When the battery is weak there is not enough power to crank the engine, however, if the terminal is corroded then the current that flows into the starter is not enough to start the engine because the corrosion interferes on the flow of current.
Check the car battery.

Car Turns Over but Won't Start

The car turns over but won't start. The car is cranking slowly however, it will not start. If the car is turning over slowly and will not start the possible reason is the battery.

Read more : Car Turns Over but Won't Start

Do the simple test to check if the battery is weak

1. Turn ON the headlights then turn the ignition key to start the engine while the headlights are ON.
2. During cranking observed if the brightness of the headlights changes, if the brightness changes when the engine is crank then there is a problem with the battery.

Now open the hood and locate the battery. Look thoroughly at the battery terminal for any corrosion present on the terminal. If the terminal is corroded then it is the reason why the car won’t start.

Clean the terminal with a wire brush. Apply a baking soda mix with water into the terminal before brushing with a wire brush. Also after the cleaning apply petroleum jelly on the battery terminal to prevent the terminal from corroding in the future.

However, if the terminal is not corroded then the battery is weak. Now, look at the fluid level of the battery, remove the fluid filler cap and check if the battery fluid covers the top of the battery plate, if not then add distilled water on the battery. The distilled water must cover the top of the battery plate then jump start the car to start the engine.

How to Jump Start a Car Battery

Jump starting a car is easy but should be done correctly so that accidents such as a battery explosion can be avoided.

Read more : How to Jump Start a Car Battery

However, if the battery has enough battery fluid then you have no other choice but to replace the battery with a new one.

Frozen Battery Electrolytes
If the car cranks but won’t start only when the temperature is very cold then the problem is a frozen battery electrolyte. At a very cold temperature, the electrolytes inside the battery may freeze or partially freeze, if this happens the battery will lose its power and it will not start the engine.

Let the battery get warm for a while before starting the car. Now if you are about to drives on a very cold region use a battery with a higher cold cranking rating.

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Air Barely Blows Out Even with Fan at Highest Setting


If air barely blows out even with fan at the highest setting, it indicates a problem with the blower or physical blockage of ducts.

Problem With Blower
Whenever air barely blows out the vents, the blower (a.k.a. "fan") is always a prime suspect. In particular, the blower motor may be failing or the blower wheel may be slipping from the blower motor shaft. Another possibility is that the blower will only operate at it's the lowest speed, regardless of which setting it's on. 

For example, even when the blower/fan is on its highest setting, it sounds like it's on its lowest setting. This is caused by a faulty dashboard blower/fan switch assembly (specifically, loose wires or bad resistors).

Physical Blockage Of Ducts
Obviously, if the ducts are blocked, airflow will be restricted. One possibility involves a heavy accumulation of leaves in the fresh-air intake port. However, this will only affect air output when the system is set to "fresh". The other possibility is that one or more of the air doors (inside the ducts) is stuck in a closed or nearly closed position, thus restricting airflow.

What to do?

First, check the fresh-air intake port for leaves/debris which may be blocking it. This port is located on the outside of the vehicle near the base of the windshield... you may have to open the hood to get full access to it. As was mentioned in the explanation for this diagnosis, blockage of this port will only affect the system when it's set to "fresh". However, if air barely blows out the vents even when the system is set to "recirculate", you've got a more serious situation than that of a simple leaves/debris buildup.


In this case, you'll need to take this vehicle to a mechanic who has some expertise in the area of auto A/C and heater systems. Unfortunately, the mechanic will (in most cases) need to tear apart the dashboard in order to get at the blower and the various ducts of the system. Good luck.

Car AC Not Cold Anymore

If the car AC is not blowing cold air anymore over time it is an indication of a slow refrigerant leak or a clogged condenser.
Read more: Car AC Not Cold Anymore

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