Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


How Do You Know If There Is An Engine Problem? - Vol.219

Engine trouble is just one of the many inevitable perk of owning a car that can be both expensive and inconvenient. Fortunately, most engines won't die without giving you some time of notice beforehand. If you can recognize the symptoms and address the problem before it's given too much time to continue, you can minimize the total damage and potentially reduce the cost it will take to repair or replace your vehicle altogether.

- Warning Lights
Every time you turn on your vehicle, you might have noticed all the lights flash on the dashboard with little pictures next to the name. These are warning lights installed on every vehicle to alert you when repairs or attention is needed; one of these lights is a check engine light.

Unfortunately, this is one of the most vague lights on the entire dashboard, and could be caused by any number of problems that is difficult to diagnose without consulting a mechanic. The best thing to do if this light comes on is to take your car in and have them run a check to try and determine what the cause might be.

- Jerking When You Drive
Jerking or shuttering of the vehicle when you try to accelerate or drive can be the cause of a troubled engine. Reasons might include blockage in the fuel lines that are preventing the engine from receiving the necessary amount of fuel to operate, or a sign that you need to replace the spark plugs.

The fuel lines can be unclogged using a light compressor attached to your fuel line to push out any small particles. You'll need to replace the fuel line if the problem persist or you are unable to acquire a suitable compressor.

- Noises Being Emitted
When you drive, listen closely for any unusual sounds or noises that might be coming from your engine block. If you hear rattling, popping, or tapping, it could be caused by broken belts, or premature combustion inside the pistons. To fix the problem of premature combustion, try increasing the octane number of gas that you are putting into your car. If that doesn't work, it may be a signal of something more serious to come such as overheating.

If you start to hear a grinding noise on the other hand, stop driving your car and take it in to be inspected. Allowing your pistons to grind together or any other part of the engine metal to strike against each other is a sure fire way to ruin your engine, resulting in a costly repairs.

- Smoke
Thick smoke coming out of the exhaust or hood of the car is a sign of overheating. Blue smoke from the tailpipe is a sign that there is a leak in the oil passageways, causing the oil to mix together with the gasoline and burn up in the engine. This will cause your engine to run dry with no lubrication and rapid damage. White smoke on the other hand means that antifreeze is coming into the gasoline line and burning off.

Hypothetically if you're on a budget, you could keep driving around as long as you continue to add these fluids to top off the rescinding levels, but the longer you drive, the more likely engine replacement will be in your future.

- Sudden Decrease in Gas Mileage
Finding yourself at the gas station more regularly than ever before without significant changes to your driving patterns signal inefficiency in engine. That might mean you are using the wrong, or low levels of oil, problematic fuel injectors, or a clogged air filter. Start by replacing the air filter and changing the oil, and if this doesn't remedy the situation, take your car in to be inspected.