How's your car sense?

By: Lisa McDivitt Email
By: Lisa McDivitt Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - One way to save money in the long run on your car is to be really in tune to problems that could arise. But if you don't know much about cars, how can you spot the problems? AAA of Colorado says, use your five senses.

LOOKS LIKE TROUBLE
Look for puddles from fluids under your car. If it’s clear, you should be fine. But if it’s any of the following, you should have your vehicle looked at:
* A red, oily spot could indicate a transmission or power-steering fluid leak.
* Dark brown or black and oily means the engine is leaking oil. The leak could be caused by a bad seal or gasket.
* Yellowish green, pastel blue or fluorescent orange/red colors indicate an overheated engine or an antifreeze leak that could be caused by a bad hose, water pump or leaking radiator.

SMELLS LIKE TROUBLE
* The smell of burned toast or a light, sharp odor often signals an electrical short and burning insulation. To be safe, don't drive your car until the source of that stench is determined.
* The smell of rotten eggs or a continuous burning sulfur smell usually indicates a problem in the catalytic converter or other emission control devices.
* A thick, acrid odor usually means burning oil - so go back to looking for signs of a leak.
* If you smell gasoline vapors after a failed start, you may have flooded the engine. Wait a few minutes before trying to start your car again. If you constantly smell gas, you probably have a leak in the fuel system. AAA cautions that this is a potentially dangerous problem, and should be repaired immediately.

SOUNDS LIKE TROUBLE
If there are squeaks, squeals, rattles and rumbles, these could be clues to a larger issue in your car.
* A shrill, sharp noise usually related to engine speed may be due to a loose or worn power steering, fan or air conditioning belt.
* A click, or a slight, sharp noise that comes when you accelerate, could be a loose wheel cover, loose or bent fan blade or a stuck valve lifter or low engine oil.
* A screech - or a high-pitched piercing metallic sound, that occurs while the vehicle is in motion, is caused by brake wear... And means you should get some maintenance on your brakes.
* A heavy knock, or a rhythmic pounding sound, could be a worn crankshaft or connecting rod bearings or a loose transmission torque converter.

FEELS LIKE TROUBLE
* If your car is difficult to handle, or there's a change in handling with the steering, you should get that checked out.
* A rough ride, or vibration when you drive, likely signals there's something wrong with your vehicle.
* And if there is an all–around poor performance to your vehicle, that can be a key to a problem.


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