15 Most Common Car Problems and Solutions

Car problems are something that all car owners want to avoid. Unfortunately, this affects all car owners, whether they want it or not. Here is a more detailed list of the 15 most common car problems and solutions you may encounter when owning a car.

Dead Battery

- Perhaps the most common car problem is a dead battery.

This usually happens if you leave your headlights on when the car is not running, or in cold weather conditions. To repair a dead battery, you need jumper cables and another car's battery.

Warning or Check Engine Light

- A warning or check engine light is the most common problem for owners of American cars, trucks, and SUVs. These lights illuminate when the vehicle's ECU (engine control unit) detects an error code triggered by a sensor.

With more than 200 warning codes possible, having a professional mechanic complete a warning light inspection is the best way to determine the source and make appropriate repairs.

Poor Fuel Economy

- When the engine runs efficiently, it burns fuel at a rate that helps improve fuel economy. However, various parts of the fuel system, such as fuel filters, air filters, mass air flow sensors, and O2 sensors, will eventually become dirty or worn out. If this occurs before they are replaced, the engine will consume more fuel than usual.

Once again, being proactive in routine maintenance provides the solution.

Dead Car Battery

- Most car batteries should last about three years or 50,000 miles. A dead battery is usually due to a reduction in amperes (or electrical currents) that naturally decrease as the battery loses its ability to hold a charge. A damaged alternator, battery temperature sensor, or other charging system components can speed up this problem. It's best to replace your car battery every 50,000 miles or three years, even if it shows no signs of damage.

Flat Tires

- While most tires deflate after hitting an object or being punctured, simple wear and tear may be the primary source.

Extend the life of your tires by keeping them properly turned, as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Rotating your tires every 5,000 miles (or when your engine oil changes) is usually the best advice.

Automatic Transmission Problems

- If properly maintained, an automatic transmission can last more than 200,000 miles without problems. The modern automatic transmission is a hydraulic system composed of several seals, gaskets, and lines that can be damaged, clogged with debris, or leak. When this happens, a transmission will “slip” or not shift smoothly.

To avoid this common car problem, keep abreast of the recommended transmission service for your vehicle.

Faulty Wheel Bearings

- Faulty wheel bearings are a common problem in modern cars. You can hear the rolling of a wheel when driving at higher speeds.

Poorly Serviced Engines

- Poorly serviced engines consume more fuel. Mass air flow sensors, fuel filters, air filters and O2 sensors contribute to efficient fuel use. It is recommended to change all tires every 50,000 miles.

You can also rotate them every 10,000 miles in the worst case scenario.

Starter Motor Problems

- Starter motors are quite expensive and unfortunately something that sometimes needs to be replaced. However, a starter often lasts around 10 years depending on the car model and how often you start the car.

Alternator Problems

- Checking the alternator with a multimeter is easy; it should have around 13.5-14.5 volts at idle if working properly. Alternator problems can also place an additional strain on the battery which can lead to failure.

Brake Failure

- Signs of brake failure include not stopping (duh), taking longer to stop, noise when braking, trembling under the brakes and the appearance of smoke or an unpleasant odor emanating from the brakes. Brake failure can be caused by age, wear neglect overheating damaged discs and pads and loss of brake fluid.


- The dials on the dashboard aren't there as decoration so if you see the temperature gauge needle quickly heading north or the warning lights start flashing like a 70s dance floor your car is overheating.

If your car overheats stop safely wait for the engine to cool down before touching anything under the hood and wait for roadside assistance.

Starter Motor Problems

- Starter motors have two main components: The main motor that starts the motor and the solenoid that transmits electrical current from the battery. Symptoms of a starter motor problem include: The engine not tipping over; The engine whining without engaging; An unpleasant grinding noise; And smoke.

Steering Problems

- Like the battery steering problems tend to drop a lot of signs of problems on their way while a flashing red light indicates that a serious problem is happening or is about to occur an orange light means that the computerized management of the car's systems has detected an issue that needs attention.

Kimberly Philabaum
Kimberly Philabaum

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