If you’re like most Americans, car care is something of a mystery to you. Many Americans don’t know the ins and outs of basic car care—and because around 68% of cars on the road have at least one thing wrong with them, that’s a particularly worrying fact.
Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to improve your car knowledge. Even if you don’t feel comfortable repairing a car that has extensive issues, knowing how to manage common car problems can help you feel more confident on the road. Here are a few key issues and simple car repairs you should know about.
1. Burnt-Out Headlight or Tail Light
This issue isn’t just cosmetic; it’s also dangerous. If you notice that your car has a burnt-out headlight or tail light, don’t rush to a mechanic for car repairs. You can replace it yourself in a few easy steps.
2. Flat Tire
Maintaining your tires is a great way to avoid getting a flat, but it’s impossible to avoid this issue completely. Instead, make sure you’ve read your owner’s manual for the specific details on how to change a tire on your make and model. Don’t forget to also keep a spare tire, car jack, and lug wrench in your trunk!
3. Blown Fuse
If an electrical component of your car—like your lights or your radio—suddenly stops working, you may have blown a fuse. You can bring your car to a mechanic, but your owner’s manual may also be able to help you perform a quick change. Look for a diagram that shows your fuse box, and follow the steps to test for a blown fuse and buy the correct replacement size.
4. Dead Battery
In most cases, your car battery will last you around three years, but your manufacturer should list a specific mileage in your car’s literature. However, poor usage—like leaving your lights on or allowing battery corrosion—can cause your battery to fail faster.
Keeping jumper cables in your car is an easy solution for this issue, though you’ll need to replace your battery at the first opportunity.
Overheating can be a sign of serious issues with your engine. Because your engine gives off a great deal of heat, overheating can strain its interior components and cause long-term damage.
There are a few solutions to this common car issue, though it will depend on the reason your car is overheating. Fixing a leaky radiator or addressing coolant leaks, for example, can keep your engine running cooler. However, finding the issue may require you to bring your car to an expert.
Get Familiar With These Common Car Problems
The more time you spend behind the wheel, the more likely you are to come face to face with one or more of these common car problems. Knowing how to fix them—or at least what to tell your mechanic—can help you feel more confident about your ride. With a little elbow grease, you might find yourself fixing minor car issues in no time at all!
Want more of the auto and motor tips you need? As you work to broaden your car knowledge, be sure to take a look at our other helpful guides.