Despite what many say, diagnosing problems or potential problems of vehicles is not something only mechanics or expensive diagnostic equipment are capable of doing. This might surprise you, but all it takes is a well-trained ear. Ask any seasoned mechanic, preferably, one from the old school of thought on how should one go about doing this, and he will likely tell say that an automobile can be considered a living thing, thousands of parts working together to serve a common purpose, constantly talking to you.

It’s because of this, that, if you actually take the time to listen, you will be baffled as to how much information your vehicle is giving you at any point in time. Learning to listen and act accordingly, will in the long run at least, save you from having to deal with costly repair bills. Here are some tips that will help you get started.

#1- High pitched squeaking noise when you crank the engine during a cold start

It’s a common problem and is one that isn’t expensive to fix. A loose air-conditioning belt causes it. It’s a wear and tear issue, one which is bound to affect many vehicles. To remedy the problem, swap it out for a new one.

#2- Is the engine running a little rough?

Though most engines have a warning light that lets you know when there’s a fault. Sometimes however, they don’t work as they should, which is why it pays to be observant of the sounds emitted by your engine. One reason the engine note sounds a little rough is, insufficient engine oil or the use of engine oil that has passed its effective service life. Here is how to check if you have enough oil.

#3- Squeaking brakes

Ever stepped on the brake pedal only to be greeted by lacklustre brake force and a whole load of squeaking noises? That’s a clear indication that you’re using worn brake pads. Over time and constant use, your brake pads reduce in thickness. When they wear to a point where they loose their effectiveness, that’s when these noises come about. Bear in mind, audible light squeaking noises are nothing to be alarmed about as it’s a sign of the brakes doing their job.

#4 – Knocking noises when going over bumps

Facing this problem is inevitable especially if you are the type who does a lot of travelling. Holding certain suspension components in place are cylindrical rubber/silicon objects called “bushes”. Their job is to keep everything that are attached to them firmly in place despite the vigorous movements caused by road surfaces and engine vibrations. Over time they wear out and allow more movement between components. Get your mechanic to swap them out for new ones and you should be good to go. There are many of them, so finding the bad apple will take sometime.

#5 – The engine sounds like its doing its job but acceleration is still sluggish

There could be many reasons for this ranging from worn pistons to structural issues but if the engine sounds like it should, the problem could be with the clutch plate (only applicable for manual transmission cars). It’s a component of a gearbox that is bound to wear. Get it changed and you should get back 100% of that oomph you knew you had.


[Naveen Victor]

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