Brakes make noise ¶ 

Brakes squeak when you use them.

Dirt trapped in between brake pads and rotor ¶ 

The noise could be caused by having dust or rocks trapped in between your rotor and brake pads. To try to get the noise to stop you could first spray the rotor and pads with water. If that doesn't fix it, you might have to pull the tire off and spray the pads with brake cleaner solution.

Wear indicator on brake pads rubs on rotor ¶ 

If spraying didn't eliminate the squeaking, then the problem is probably that the brake pads need to be replaced. When they wear down to a certain point a small metal tab rubs against the rotor and creates a squeaking sound.

Car shakes while driving ¶ 

While driving at average speeds, you can feel the steering wheel shake back and forth.

Uneven wear of tires ¶ 

If you drive too many miles without rotating your tires, they can begin to wear in an uneven pattern. This can cause the car to shake while driving. You can check this by looking at the tires to check for uneven balding. If one side of the tire has more tread than the other, the tires need to be rotated.

Unbalanced tires ¶ 

When you buy a new set of tires, they get balanced before they are put on your car. It is possible that one of the balancing weights has fallen off and the tire is out of balance. If you have already checked for uneven wear, then it is possible that the tires are out of balance. To check this you will have to take your car to the shop and have them balance your tires.

Worn out joints in front end ¶ 

If the tires are not the problem, then it is most likely your front end that is causing the shaking while driving. This can be a complicated problem and you should take your car to a mechanic.

Wiper blades are ineffective ¶ 

Wiper blades do not effectively clear your windshield.

Wiper blades move slowly ¶ 

If wiper blades are moving very slowly across your windshield and you cannot adjust their speed, then the wiper motor may be worn out and in need of replacing by a mechanic.

Wiper blades do not make good contact with windshield ¶ 

If you can see space in between the wiper blade and the windshield, then the arm of your wiper blades is most likely bent and needs to be replaced.

Wiper blades make contact, but not clearing windshield ¶ 

The wiper blades are smearing the water across the windshield but are not removing it. This indicates that the blades themselves are worn out and need to be replaced.

Engine does not run smoothly ¶ 

While driving, the engine sputters and has lack of power.

Dirty air filter ¶ 

An air filter that has not been checked and is full of dust can be the cause of a loss in power. Your motor needs a steady and clean supply of air to run well. If you can visibly see dirt and dust on the filter you can clean it with an air compressor or replace it.

Old/fouled spark plugs ¶ 

If the engine feels like it is missing (running poorly) then the problem could be old or dirty spark plugs. You can pull one of the spark plugs out and inspect it to see if it is fouled. If it is, then you should pull the rest of them out and replace them all.

Car overheats ¶ 

While driving you notice the temperature gauge is above normal.

Low radiator coolant level ¶ 

To check this you MUST LET THE ENGINE COOL. If you open the radiator cap while the engine is hot, boiling coolant will spray all over you, resulting in serious burns. Once the car is cool, you can remove the cap and check the level of the coolant. If it is low, add more coolant.

Thermostat is stuck closed ¶ 

If the coolant level is sufficient, then the next most likely problem is your thermostat. There is really no way to tell if the thermostat is bad without removing it from your engine. To remove the thermostat you can either consult your Owner's Manual or take your car to a shop.

Brake light does not work ¶ 

When you apply your brakes, the light does not come on.

Fuse is blown ¶ 

It is possible that the fuse that corresponds to the rear lights has burned out. You can check this by looking at the internal fuse box located in the dash under the steering wheel. If the fuse is blown, replace it, and the lights should work.

Bulb is blown ¶ 

If the fuse is fine, then the problem is most likely caused by a blown bulb. You will have to pull the rear light assembly off and check to see if the bulb is burned out. If it is burned out, replace it and the problem should be fixed.

How do you know when to check/replace fluids? ¶ 

The fluids need to be checked or replaced periodically, but how do you know when?

Brake fluid check ¶ 

Brake fluid is not used or lost very often, but it is good to check it periodically. It would be sufficient to check it once a month.

Power steering fluid check ¶ 

You can tell that your power steering fluid is low when you hear a whining noise coming from the engine compartment while turning the wheel. This is a good indication that you need to add fluid. If you don't hear any whining it is a good idea to check the power steering fluid once every couple of months.

Engine oil check ¶ 

Engine oil is very important. It is the fluid that should be checked most often, especially in older cars. You should check the oil level 2-3 times a month at the least. The more you check it the safer your engine will be. When you look at the oil on the dipstick it should be between the "SAFE" marks and it should be a light-brown color. If it is dark brown or black then it is probably about time to change your oil. Your oil should be changed every 3,000 miles.

Transmission fluid check ¶ 

This car does not have a dipstick to check the transmission fluid level. The fluid level can be checked by pulling a plug out of the side of the transmission. You need to drive the car around for at least 10 minutes to get the fluid hot before checking. When you pull the fluid level checking plug there should be a small amount of fluid that dribbles out of the hole. If none comes out, you should add some until it does run out the hole. The plug to add fluid can be black or red and is located on top of the transmission. It is recommended that the transmission fluid and filter be changed every 30,000 miles.

Radiator fluid check ¶ 

Reference "Low radiator coolant level" under the heading "Car is overheating," which was discussed above.

2 Comments

My daughter has a 3.1L 1998 chevy malibu while driving her car the other night, her battery light came on and then the car lost ALL power, lights, steering, everything just went dark & she pulled it over and parked it, the next morning she was able to pop clutch and drive it about 3 blocks home. Dont kniw wat to xheck 1st. Alternator? Battery? Both?

SINGLE MOM NEEDS HEEEEELP PLZ & THX.

honeyhendricks88 - Reply

A fuse keeps blowing & my car shuts off,what could this be? Please help!

Toccara - Reply

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