Save money on car maintenance

Written By : Sun Fiji News. Acquiring a vehicle is a fairly easy task… the tough bit comes later. With the car at your disposal, long bus queues become obsolete.
04 Nov 2008 12:00

image Written By : Sun Fiji News. Acquiring a vehicle is a fairly easy task… the tough bit comes later. With the car at your disposal, long bus queues become obsolete. But with many cars, calamity can strike; the vehicle refuses to move, it grunts, groans, fumes, and stops. This can be because you forgot that it needs to be looked after, maintained, regular servicing.
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.
Here’s few while driving tips. At times, strange smells may emanate from inside your car. The possible causes may be:
l Musty odours 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.
l Smoky smells are of various kinds. Electrical smoky smells are the most dangerous and it is advisable to shut down, open the bonnet, 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 the cause.
l Fuel smells occurs either when the fuel tank venting gets choked or if there has been an overflow.
l 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.
l A typical sweatish smell emanates when varnish is being burnt which occurs when your dynamo or alternator is about to pack up and would, usually be accompanied by flickering lights.
l Burning rubber smells tend to come when you drive with your brakes on. Overheated tyres may also be the cause.
Strange smells are an early warning signal that needs to be heeded if much more time and money are to be saved later on.
Strange sounds 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 recognisable sounds are
l 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.
l A fan-belt squeal means that another one is needed.
l Rhythmic clicks from the wheel indicate faulty bearings at worst or just large pebbles stuck in the tread pattern at the best.
l 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.
l Backfiring while normal driving means serious problems and should be properly investigated. Promptly.
l 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 gives 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 injector. If there is unequal or wrong air pressure in tyres, 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!

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